… on Nov. 25, or whenever you’re feeling thankful
MT & I have this recurring exchange. Me: “Thanks for marrying me.” MT: “Thanks for asking.” Me: “Only a dope wouldn’t ask. And mom didn’t raise any dopes.”
There’s another story behind the “dope” comment, but I leave that for MT to convey at her discretion and, no, it isn’t aimed at me (I’m pretty sure).
What’s that got to do with a test kitchen recipe? Regular readers know that while we technically met in the newsroom, we connected while working on a feature story about the 50th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail, walking it for five days to meet through-hikers — she doing the interviews, me doing the photos.
I proposed on the return leg of a walk from White Haven to Jim Thorpe and back (celebrating her 40th birthday), a walk that became an annual November tradition. And we started our honeymoon backpacking the 30-mile West Rim Trail above the Pine Creek Gorge in Tioga County, a hike we reprised for our 10th anniversary and again last week for our 20th.
I made this “Thanksgiving Feast” for her on our anniversary at camp after the first day of hiking last week. It comes from the cleverly named “freshoffthegrid.com” website. I came across in in my continuing quest to find cheap home-made substitutes for pre-packaged freeze-dried meals, and as far as we’re concerned it’s a winner.
While I wouldn’t expect most people to actually make this at home, don’t dismiss the idea, especially if you have kids. It seems a very child-friendly concoction to lure them into cooking fun. Just add water to the three separate mixes, mash them together and have a blast with stuffing, gravy and potatoes in one mold-able heap on each plate.
At camp — even one you drive to — it should work well both as a family project and as a meal. Obviously, if you’re not actually lugging the ingredients on foot (and have a cooler or refrigerator) you could use fresh cooked chicken rather than canned.
Backpacking Thanksgiving Feast (freshoffthegrid.com)
• ½ cup instant potatoes
• 1 tablespoon powdered milk
• 1 cup dried stuffing
• 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
• 1 ounce packet turkey gravy mix
• 7 ounce pouch (or can) pre-cooked chicken
In a sealable bag or container, measure out the instant potatoes and powdered milk. In a second sealable bag or container, measure out the dried stuffing and cranberries. Pack along with the gravy packet and chicken.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil. In one bowl, mix the potatoes and 1 cup boiling water. In a second bowl, mix the stuffing and ½ cup boiling water. Stir and let rehydrate for a few minutes. Add the gravy packet to the remaining ½ cup water and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add the chicken and cook over low heat until the chicken has warmed through.
Split the food between the two bowls, spooning the chicken and gravy over the top. Enjoy!
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish