Archive for the Trail Rations Category

Trail Rations #1

Posted in Trail Rations on February 26, 2010 by swordandsorcerybooks

Hi there!  Hazel Cindertoes here!  The management of the S&S Blog wanted me to talk to you all about cooking on the trail, hence the name of this series, “Trail Rations.”  Now I am sure that you all have been following Granny Redbeard’s Dainty Dwarven Delicacies closely over the weeks.  However, in the SHADOWS OF NIGHT books series, I rarely have all the pots, kettles and mountains of lard and bread crumbs that Granny Redbeard has at her disposal. 

No, often I have one small pot and must cook either trail rations or whatever Marcus and Ioan can catch or find and bring back to camp.  This takes some creativity to make food palatable.  Marcus’ idea of camp cooking is killing something, jamming it on a stick and sticking it in the fire.  This is simple, effective and brutal.  I prefer the hot rocks grilling method.  First you take as many flat rocks as you can gather and lay them close together to form your “griddle.”  Then you build a fire on top of the rocks, letting it burn for at least a half an hour.  I like to let it go for an hour if I can.  When the time is up, brush away the fire and embers off the rocks as best you can, and you cook directly on the hot rocks.  This frees my pot up for boiling water or roots and greens that I have to work with.  Sometimes I will add chunks of whatever meat is available to make a stew. 

Now, typical trail or iron rations that we buy in towns and villages tends to contain the same things; at least from human villages.  It always seemed to be a small piece of fatty salted meat of questionable origin and age, three rock-hard biscuits and sometimes a small packet of dried peas or beans.  Sometimes I will use a piece of meat in the stews to add salt and make the stew a little more palatable.  I also will toss a biscuit or two into the stew to let them soak up water, get soft and be a sort of dumpling.  I try and do the same if there are any dried vegetables in the packet. 

Now a word about fungus.  Sometimes Marcus and Ioan bring make mushrooms or other funguses, or fungi, or whatever.  Now, I know they both mean well and want us to eat, but I usually chuck the funguses away.  Frankly, I would not trust either of them to successfully identify a safe mushroom from a poisonous one, and the risk is just too great.  Roots, nuts and greens, I can sort out myself.  Mushrooms are just aren’t worth the trouble. 

It would not pass muster as food at the Sneezing Hedgehog Inn in Fishlington, but between the purchased rations and what the boys find, this is what keeps us alive and in fighting shape when we are out in the wilderness, and after a few meals like this, you can see why we all want to fight somebody.  Anyway, that’s my first trail rations.  Check in from time to time and I’ll have more cooking tips from the trail!