Monday, December 24, 2007

Cold Breakfast

As I write this blog about cold weather cooking, I'm sure some will say, "What's the big deal? We cook in the cold all the time." To this California raised boy, it's cold anytime the mercury dips below 32. You'll need your long undies for blog no. 21 ...

The outside temperature was 27 degrees F. when I left the house Saturday. Although the forecast was for a pleasant day in the mid-40s, I knew I'd have to fight frozen water pipes at the engine house when I arrived at 7:30 a.m. I didn't want to repeat the frozen pipe/water jug mess I had at the engine house last winter. (I cooked potato leek soup that Saturday.)

When I packed the truck Friday evening, I set the five-gallon water jug in the cab. I also filled the large coffee boiler and insulated beverage dispenser with extra water. This gave me enough cooking and cleaning water for the breakfast. I figured a gallon per person would suffice (seven volunteers showed up).

And the jug in the cab didn't freeze, which meant I could work with liquid water. Last year, I had to thaw the water jug first, a recipe for delayed coffee and meal.

The picture shows my impromptu buffet line. The 10-inch camp oven holds the grilled sausage and the 5-inch oven contains hot syrup. The melted butter in the small aluminum pot solidified almost immediately when I set it on the cold iron.

The temperature was still in the low 30s when I served breakfast at 9:30 a.m. I served the French toast right out of the skillet.

The Camp Chef cast iron conditioner was still frozen solid at 10 a.m. To thaw, I tossed it inside the 9-quart coffee boiler for 10 minutes.

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