Thursday, August 25, 2005

My Outdoor Kitchen Table

For several days this week, my kitchen table was a picnic table at a campsite in a beautiful local campground. Although my hubby continued to go to work each day, I had the days to myself in the midst of a quiet natural setting. What a blessing! I took lots of walks and did a lot of reading and studying for my Sunday School class preparation. Also had an opportunity to work on a cross-stitch project -- nearly completed! -- and to spend some precious times with good friends who are camping at a nearby site. Each evening we enjoyed time around a campfire with dear friends.

We love camping -- “real” camping in a tent, that is! My camping kitchen looks a lot different from my real kitchen, but it’s so functional. After covering the picnic table with a colorful vinyl tablecloth -- a flannel-back Wal*Mart special -- we set up the Coleman stove on one end of the table and a Coleman lantern in the center.

At the other end we put what we call the “camping cabinet”. It’s a small chest of drawers some friends were getting rid of many years ago. They had used it for camping themselves for years. It has a plywood top covered with Contact paper -- a very useful place to keep cooking utensils (stored in a clean empty maple syrup tin) and a citronella candle. The drawers hold a multitude of things from a clothesline and clothespins to matches in an Altoids tin to bungee cords to dishwashing liquid. Last year we bought a large plastic tote to replace the cardboard boxes we formerly used for larger kitchen items. In here we store everything from cooking utensils to paper plates and plasticware, clean dish towels and hot mats. The tote works really well to protect these items from chipmunks and squirrels.

If we are camping for an extended period of time, we will set up a screen tent and place the picnic table and other kitchen “furnishings” inside. This time, since we were only camping for a few days, we just put up a tarp over the kitchen. We use water frozen in gallon milk jugs as the ice supply in our cooler. Works beautifully! If the weather is really hot, we have been known to bring our kids’ old “college fridge” and plug that in if we have a water/electric site. Otherwise, it’s our good old cooler. Our Coleman stove has a removable Teflon griddle which we love. We bought this stove/griddle many years ago at a consignment shop for $15. It has served us well!

I enjoy cooking in my camp kitchen. And I especially love walking through the campground in the morning and smelling all the wonderful aromas as campers cook their breakfasts. Bacon & eggs, anyone?

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