Tennessee Mountain Stories

Cooking Out

My Grandpa always thought that food cooked out of doors tasted better no matter what it was.  I tend to agree.  Well we’ve been enjoying the natural beauty of one of Tennessee’s State Parks this past week and that afforded the opportunity to again test Grandpa’s theory.

Breakfast is a special meal for us – well I can’t always get together a traditional meal before sending everyone off to work and school, but when I have the chance I usually take it (not always in morning hours either!) and my husband particularly wants a big country breakfast when we’re camping.  Biscuits, eggs and sausage gravy served with homemade jam and eaten with friends is a great way to start a day.

It reminds me of stories of men “baching-it” when work took them away from home.  One bunch were renting a room when the landlady raised the prices.  Refusing to pay her price, they moved out under a bluff to fend for themselves.  Now they had the express purpose of working a job they couldn’t get close to home so I doubt they spent a great deal of time cooking elaborate meals.  But at the same time I also doubt they had many boxes of Cheerios or protein bars so this is the only kind of food they could have made.  If you do it every day you get a lot faster at it.


I also think of the American pioneers who traveled hundreds of miles on foot or wagon to settle our nation.  Those families were cooking out of doors for large and growing families.  Women stooped over fires like mine after walking behind a wagon for 10 hours or when 7 or 8 months pregnant.  I had all the time in the world to both prepare and clean up after this campfire breakfast.  I didn’t have another day on the trail before me and frankly I can hardly imagine facing that.

I’ve said this many times and I anticipate repeating it yet again – I thank God for the conveniences we enjoy today.  I am also thankful to remember the ones who went before us and the hardships they endured.  I look forward to teaching my children how to make a meal over an open fire while reminding them that this was at times a common occurrence for our ancestors.