It wasn't exactly like Deliverance. "Facilities" were in walking distance and each campsite had an electrical plug and running cold water. Friends of mine who've been, you know, lost in the Appalachian wilderness or stuck on a raft in the Grand Canyon will likely sniff disdainfully at the prospect of such amenities, but in my world this was hard core. Until this week, "roughing it" meant shopping at Walmart. From my perspective, any time you are picking bugs and leaves out of your pancake batter in the morning, it's a big deal. And I went voluntarily. What's up with that?
I think I know. You learn a lot staring at a campfire that you had to make by yourself. There is something large that is looming on the horizon of my consciousness. It's base and fundamental and a little frightening: I'm having a mid-life crisis. That giant clock that is ticking down the minutes to my ultimate demise is reminding me that there's a whole lot of living I've been conveniently ignoring, and there's no time like the present to start ordering more off of life's menu. Fortunately, instead of trading in the minivan for a red convertible and tossing aside my dear devoted husband (no camper, he) for a young Norwegian named "Sven", I just decided to go camping. It may not be a destructive mid-life crisis, but it's a mid-life crisis just the same.
|Our accommodations. No turn-down service.|
Chicken Fajitas* (because something about camping screams "Tex-Mex").
1. Prepare the marinade in the comfort of your kitchen. No need to get crazy here.
2. Blend together the following in a food processor: 1 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion, 2-3 small jalapenos, seeded, 1 Tbs seasoned salt, 1 Tbs black pepper, 1 Tbs chili powder, 1 tsp each: basil, cumin, thyme and oregano, 5-6 cloves of garlic, 1-2 Tbs cilantro.
3. Pour it into a really good zip lock back because you don't want this stuff leaking. Add 8-10 chicken breasts. I used two bags.
4. Grill. Slice. Serve with all the fixings that your friends contributed: tortilla wraps, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, grilled peppers, and Spanish rice.
5. Take your fully loaded paper plate and park yourself in front of a campfire. Think long and hard about how camping, like life, is made so much better and richer when it is shared with good and generous people. I guarantee you--it will get you through any mid-life crisis.
* Courtesy of my friend Laurie, who got the recipe from her friend Julia, who probably got it from her sister-in-law Katie, who might have gotten it from her college room mate, Susan, who probably copied it right out of a published cookbook, but who, other than copyright attorneys, really keeps track of these things?