Camp Breakfast



Sometimes when camping, especially if there’s an early morning hike involved, we’ll settle for a quick working breakfast: a slice of cold Spanish tortilla, a hunk of cheese, or just a handful of Ionah’s granola and a cup of tea and hit the trail. But, there are times when camping has nothing on the books other than to rise, pee, perform ablutions (minimal) chop wood, make fire and cook breakfast over said fire’s coals.

We had brought wood gifts for the fire from the 7,000 foot high desert home of our good friends Frank and Ruth Ann, in Carbondale, Colorado, of seasoned juniper and piñon pine.

Juniper and piñon had been sustaining and warming the Arapaho and Cheyenne people who lived in this part of the world for centuries until the unwelcome arrival of the Europeans and the subsequent land-grab. Continue reading “Camp Breakfast”



Purple potato tortilla. July 4th. La Garita wilderness, Colorado…
cut the potatoes into small chips…

By the time you read this the July 4th holiday will be over. But the smell around here from fireworks, lighter fluid and charred flesh from wannabe grillers still fogs the air. Independence from under the English thumb will have been celebrated with beer, burgers, hot dogs and fireworks galore. When the sun goes down on the great day, our neighborhood becomes a war zone — an exaggeration, no doubt, in light of what some people in the world are going through — but the blasts are sudden and furious. Some are louder than gunfire, the reverb drives our dog to the safe places behind the couch, under the table and in the closet.

fry them in a cup of olive oil…

Couple of years back, a house half a mile from here had its roof burned off from a direct hit from a misguided rocket. Supposedly, It’s illegal to set off a firework in Denver, but you can buy them in Adams county — which is just down the road — the small ones anyway, like ground spinners, Catherine wheels, sparklers and glow worms. But that’s just small potatoes. Continue reading “Tortilla”

A Sunday Morning Omelet

It’s Sunday morning and I’m languishing in the carefree comfort zone of my bed. Ionah’s up and has bread in the oven and is en route to an impossibly early nine o clock yoga class. There’s a situation, she says; a favor to ask; a SNAFU: apparently I have thirty minutes and then — I have to get up. I gotta take the bread out of the oven. She pours me a cup of life affirming Assam tea, hands me the New York Times and leaves the flask. She sets the timer, places it by the bed, wishes me a loving goodbye and is out the door in a flash with her mat strung across her shoulder.

This could have ruined a lesser man’s day, but my cheery disposition got the better of me and as I looked at my options, I made a cold-hearted decision: I wrote off the review, the style section and the book review, and settled on the magazine for Sam Sifton’s one page take on a Jim Harrison recipe for a Caribbean stew — heavy on pork ribs, sausage and chicken thighs. I see myself hovering over an open fire cooking this concoction on the banks of the trout filled Gunnison river, perhaps within a few weeks — an over night trip, a mere five-hour drive from here. Continue reading “A Sunday Morning Omelet”

Gentleman’s Relish

Breathe your inner dragon.

A couple of weeks ago, I was roused from my bed by a recipe for anchovy butter penned by Sam Sifton of the New York Times. It brought back memories of a breakfast I once had in London in a depressing hotel in Earls Court. I was in transit— on my way to look for a job in Spain. It’s amazing how the memory of a meal, a bleak one at that, can linger dormant under the skin for years and then flare up with the stroke of a journalist’s pen.

The dining room had the remains of former splendor. It had been divided and subtracted more than once and was reduced to a cramped, damp room with four or five tables. It had a stained ceiling, peeling cornices and a bricked up fireplace. An electric fire buzzed in the corner. Nobody spoke. The pale server was decked out in black and white from shoe to hat. Continue reading “Gentleman’s Relish”