Iron Horse Cook-Off in Ely

A couple months ago, Gordon sent me a link to the Nevada Northern Railway’s first annual Iron Horse Cook-Off Challenge with a message that just said, “Can we enter? Can we? Can we?” Contestants would be judged on three meals: one cooked over an open fire, one on the stove in the caboose, and one on a shovel in the firebox of the engine.

We had never been in a cooking contest before, but we did make engine block quesadillas during a solar eclipse. You’d think those skills would translate pretty well to cooking on a shovel in an 800-degree steam locomotive. Plus, they offered points for dressing in period-appropriate railway attire, so we were guaranteed to get more than zero even if we burned all our food to inedibility. Continue reading

Eat Masters Food without Going to Augusta

I think Augusta National must be the Narnia of golf courses. First of all, Augusta  manages to make golf exciting at least once a year. Second, and more important to someone as terrible at golf as I am, their food is legendary. This is impressive because the sandwiches are made on white wonder bread and there is nothing on the menu that anyone with even rudimentary cooking skills couldn’t just make at home. But somehow, pair it all with the biggest golf tournament of the year and price the food like its 1969, and you’ve got magic. Continue reading

Blackout Cooking

To be fair, cooking during a power outage really isn’t that difficult. You can use any camp stove, a solar oven, your barbecue, or anything else that starts on fire (like a fire). But if you have a lantern and a pot, you can cook and light the house at the same time.

We used our lantern to cook Myzithra cheese spaghetti because all you need is enough heat to boil water. And it is made entirely out of ingredients that can last for a while outside of refrigeration. And we really like it.  Continue reading

Apple Cider Press

Visiting my grandmother in the fall always meant picking apples from her backyard orchard and drinking apple cider. Now that she’s gone and my parents live in the house, we knew there would be several trees full of apples that needed to be cidered.

I spent a lovely day picking apples with my parents while Gordon built an apple grinder and press. He used these plans from Matthias Wandel for the grinder and designed a small press using a scissor or bottle jack. Continue reading

How to Succeed at Dutch Oven Cooking Without Really Trying

Gordon and I both grew up with Dutch oven cooking. Many of my childhood memories include pine trees at a mountain campground, dirty knees, and the smell of chocolate cherry cobbler cooking in a Dutch oven. My mother-in-law cooks almost everything in cast iron. We’ve never been intimidated by Dutch ovens because we spent too much time around them as children. Continue reading