How To Cook With A Skewer Over An Open Fire.

How to guide to cooking on a skewer, over an open flame, such as with kabobs.

If your family is anything like mine and you're avid campers, you've made at least one weekend outing during which you forgot to bring something essential. For us, the weekend we forgot the carton of pots and pans became the birth of a time-honored family tradition...what we like to call stick cooking. And you'd be surprised at the variety of dishes you can make without camp cookware.

Miles into the wilderness, and even more miles from any type of store which might supply us with pots and pans, we took stock of what we did have. Swiss-type army knives, paper plates, plastic zipper bags and cups, a set of long metal skewers, and food enough for the weekend.

The first night was fine. We'd planned on roasting hot-dogs over the open fire pit, anyway. So that's what we did. But breakfast would be a problem. We'd planned on cooking pancakes and bacon on a griddle over the fire. The griddle, however, was sitting in a carton in our garage at home, so here's what we did--and what you could do if ever faced with such a dilemma.



"Lace" the raw bacon onto several of the skewers and roast it like our hot-dogs of the previous night over the fire. The grease will burn and flare if you get it too close to the flame, so be sure to keep the skewer at least six or eight inches above the fire. Also, once they start to cook and shrink, the bacon slices have a tendency to slide off the skewer. You can solve that problem by making a stopper at the end of the stick with a chunk of leftover hot-dog.

Next measure some biscuit-baking mix (the kind you use to make pancakes, shortbread and

biscuits with) into a zipper bag. Moisten it with an egg and enough milk to make a sticky dough, zip the bag, and squeeze the mixture to blend it. Rub a little bit of oil onto a skewer. Then take about two tablespoons of mixture, roll it into a pencil shape and coil it around the skewer like a barber pole. "Toast" these skewered pancakes over the fire pit until they are golden brown and cooked through. Slide them off the skewer, melt some butter onto them and dip them into syrup or cinnamon sugar mix.

Dinner was going to be a problem. We'd planned on having spaghetti and meatballs. The spaghetti was out, but meatball sandwiches sounded good. I stirred up my favorite meatball recipe and added two extra eggs to make the mixture stickier. If you form fairly small meatballs, they will slide onto your skewers and stay there until they're cooked. If you want to get creative and let the kids have some fun, you can make meatball tubes by wrapping the meat around the skewer in four-inch length shapes and stoppering them, like the breakfast bacon, with hot-dog chunks. When the meatballs or tubes are finished cooking, spoon a little spaghetti sauce onto them and hold them over the fire for several more seconds to heat it. Slap them between slices of bread, and you've got a hot meal that's simple to eat.

Sunday's steak dinner was no problem at all. Instead of steak on the grill, we cubed the meat and marinated it in a zipper bag with a bottle of Italian salad dressing. Skewered along with chunks of ucchini, onions and corn on the cob--and roasted slowly over the flames so that the vegetables cooked as well as the meat--we feasted until we were the proverbial happy campers.

You can even skewer dessert-kabobs. Chunks of apples and peaches slightly roasted over the flame until tender, then sprinkled with brown sugar and butter are a delicious ending to your kabob meal. Reminiscent of cobbler or crisp, fruit-kabobs may turn out to be a family favorite

like they are in our house.

Stick cooking has become synonymous with creative adventure in our household. Your family can turn disaster into fun, too, with a little imagination and a set of camp skewers.

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