One of my favorite things to do for clients on trip is cook for them.
I create the menu. I grocery shop. I organize and pack the food barrels by meal and by day. And I’m the one who cooks while my co-guide sets up the tarp or starts the fire. We all have our talents.
Unlike many guides, I love cooking over MSR’s Whisperlite stoves. We carry them for ease of cooking in case of a fire ban or a particularly picked-over campsite in terms of firewood. They can be temperamental. Any rain or dew in their line renders them useless. They only run at one speed – blisteringly hot. Their name is a complete misnomer. I can’t hear the conversation going on five feet away over the stove’s roar. And there’s the lack of romance and ambiance that cooking over a fire brings to the camping experience.
Nevertheless I learned how to cook on them and I understand their quirks. I appreciate the fumes of white fuel pummeling my nose as I prime the stove. I never mind the smell of gas as I fill up my car. Long ago I happily breathed in deep lungfuls of darkroom chemicals while processing my rolls of film. Bonkers? Maybe. As I light the match and the fuel catches fire the smell boils off as the excess gas boils off and heats the element of the stove.
When the burner of my little wireframe stove glows orange and the flame burns blue I put on my pot to sauté garlic and ginger in sunflower oil. I’m cooking up Moroccan stew tonight – the perfect meal for a crisp, fall equinox evening in Killarney.
I add more spices and aromatics: cinnamon, ground ginger, basil, and saffron coat the garlic and fresh ginger. Women bring their conversations closer to my kitchen as the smell wafts out and beckons to them…
I’m writing a career change memoir and I’d love your feedback as I post small ~300 word blurbs. What do you want to know more about? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Comment below or e-mail me.