Monday, February 07, 2005

May Your Campfires Sizzle

I re-wrote the Blogger profile this afternoon as promised -- it's much better.

Just in case you can't get enough of me, here's a few thoughts that explain what 'Round the Chuckbox is all about.

I've always envisioned myself as a nineteenth century camp cook. I would've loved cooking for an El Dorado County ranch as they made their annual cattle drive to summer pasture in the Lake Tahoe basin. Everything about the job appeals to me: family atmosphere, the outdoors and good old country cooking.

I've got one problem: I was born 50 years too late. And I grew up in Fresno and Bakersfield.

Those who know me will tell you that I'm just a city boy who's loved the Sierra Nevada high country ever since my father carried me to Peter Grub Hut in 1954.

The closest I came to camp cooking was feeding Seabee construction warriors during a 20-year stint in the Naval Reserve.

That's me, CSCS Steven C. Karoly, USN, now retired. My assistant, CSC Bob Voigt, stands behind me. The food service officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 17 is to my right. The photo was snapped during Operation Bearing Duel at Fort Hunter Liggett, June 1994.

I haven't ridden a horse in over 30 years, and I've never driven a chuckwagon or fed a beef-centered diet to cowboys on the Western prairie. Nor have I piled flapjacks onto chipped enamel plates meant for hungry Sierra Nevada lumbermen.

That's what happens when I take my family camping in the Eldorado National Forest where I live out a week-long fantasy each summer. You'd think that I was prepared to feed a crowd of hungry hunters and fishermen.

I carry enough cookware to feed a baker's dozen or two. Just give me a white A-framed cook-tent, an assistant or two and outdoorsmen who appreciate good old camp cooking and I'm in my environment.

Steve's Café, located just south of the Visalia, California airport, on Hwy 99.

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