With winter slowly giving way to spring in the West Central Mountains, many of us are planning our summertime recreational excursions into the surrounding forests. For those who enjoy camping, food – good food cooked over a campfire – is often a priority. Here is some inspiration for your future cooking adventures: a video from a June 1975 Johnny Carson show with Dian Thomas, author of Roughing It Easy. Her book shares cooking methods learned from her father, a forest ranger in Utah. Dian shows Johnny how to cook various creative camp meals with the most basic tools and ingredients, live, on stage. She handles Johnny’s comedic comments with aplomb, and it’s clear they’re both having a great time.

In 2014 Dian wrote on her blog, “When the segment ended he turned to me and said, ‘Great Job! I will go back and plug your book.’ With an opportunity like this, my book Roughing it Easy took off and climbed quickly to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, where it stayed all summer, only to be beat out by The Joy of Sex. I have said the only way that I can be number 1 again is to write a book called Sex in the Woods. These seventeen minutes changed my life forever.”

From Dian’s website (where you can order her books, including Roughing it Easy), a recipe to try:

Breakfast Cooked in a Paper Bag

To cook bacon and eggs for breakfast, cut a strip of bacon in half. Spread it in the bottom of a new lunch-sized paper sack. Break an egg and drop it on top of the bacon inside the sack. To make scrambled eggs, open and fold down the top of the bag. Crack the shell, hold it high over the bag, and release the egg. When it hits the bottom of the bag, it will be scrambled.

Beginning at the top, roll the sack down in one-inch folds until you reach the middle of the sack. Poke a stick through the rolled folds at the top of the sack and hold it over a bed of coals or set it on a piece of foil above a bed of hot coals. Grease will appear along the bottom of the bag as the food cooks. The bacon and egg will cook in approximately 10 minutes.

This is also easy to cook on a tin can stove. During the last two minutes before eggs are done, place two slices of white sandwich bread on either side of the can. If the can is very hot, the bread will stick to the can. Wait a few minutes and pop the toasted bread off with a spatula or a hot pad to prevent burns.


About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

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