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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pie Irons and Shrimp on the Campfire

On August 5, 2013 my husband and I left our cozy little domicile on a wonderful road trip with a final destination just south of Tobermory, Ontario before returning home.  We crossed into Michigan mid-morning then made our way to Williamsburg, Michigan.  After a brief stop there, we arrived in Gaylord, Michigan where we spent the night.  The following morning we continued on our journey enjoying several stops highlighted by delicious food to the backdrop of amazingly gorgeous landscape scenery.  We settled in South Baymouth, Michigan for the night where we would catch the Chi-Cheechmaun ferry in the morning to take us across Lake Huron to Tobermory, Ontario.   We arrived in Tobermory just after 11 AM, stopped for lunch then headed to Cypress Lake campground in the Bruce Peninsula National Park.

We began camping when our youngest was just barely out of diapers.  Our first camping trip was to Cypress Lake, a rather rustic campground on Georgian Bay, in tents.  We bought a tent trailer the next spring then a large travel trailer the following year.  We camped every chance we got, always preferring rustic, natural  campgrounds to privately owned, commercialized ones.  We sold our trailer in 2005 so haven't done much camping, mainly hit or miss.  We certainly are well versed in camping during adverse weather conditions yet the weather forecast was cause for concern - rain, cold temperatures and more rain.   This trip was four days out in tents, going back to our camping roots!  This would be a special trip, the first one enjoyed camping with our grandkids.

Cypress Lake campground is very much in bear (black and grizzly), cougar, wolf, and coyote territory.  It is home to racoons, hares, skunks and Ontario's only poisonous snake, the Massasauga rattle snake.  The park has a 'bare' campsite program meaning no garbage or food on the campsite to attract wildlife.  All food and food-related items are to be stored in a hard-sided vehicle when not in use.  Tossing dishwasher into the brush is discouraged as it may contain food bits that can attract wildlife as well.  Paper food wrappings are burnt but there are recycling facilities for newspapers, cans, bottles and plastics.  There is no hydro except at the registration office, no showers, no hot water in the comfort stations (some have composting toilets), and cell phone service is sporadic at best.  It has some of the best hiking trails and amazing scenery ever seen!

We kept our food in plastic covered totes and coolers stored in the vehicles for this trip.  After dinner as part of the clean-up the camp stove, food and coolers were put into each of our vehicles.  Any food we wanted for around the campfire were brought out of the vehicle as needed.  Any food scraps were simply tossed into the fire. 

shrimp and pie irons on campfire
Regardless of what camping shelter we used, cooking over an open fire was always a must.  There were very, very few times that we didn't cook over an open fire.  We usually build a campfire shortly after rising.  Unless leaving the campsite, the fire is maintained at a low burn ready to cook pie irons, hotdogs or marshmallows over, ever ready to be stoked up for a bit of extra heat.  If we are leaving the campsite, the fire is doused which is proper camping etiquette.

Pictured is the campfire with pie irons (lower left) and shrimp cooking.  Pie irons are a camper's must have.  The name refers to either the tool (aka sandwich maker) itself or the food sandwiched between two slices of bread.  The filling for pie irons can be quite creative.  These were filled with home canned pizza sauce, homemade pesto, sliced rosemary ham and mozzarella cheese.  The pie iron aka sandwich maker can also be used to cook meat and so much more over an open fire.  If it fits in the pie iron, it's fair game!  Shrimp cooks nicely in a pie iron but for larger quantities, an open flat pan with handle works nicely.  Doesn't that shrimp look delicious?

Stay tuned for more tales of our recent road/camping trip....

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