Monday, August 17, 2009
One of the most important tasks in the expedition is shopping. Gathering all the necessary supplies could be a mixture of fun and stressful. We have to get all the essentials and eccentric all at once. There is no goofy around, budget is limited as well as space in our cars. Remember we had a big dog – Chilli, a amazing dog (I will introduce her later). Unlike other backpacking trip, however, this is a road trip with wheels, if it fit in the cars, it carries. Thank God! I have done a lot of backpacking trips, the calculation of the weight capacity really have to add another dimension of difficulties. Now, we can have more luxury thoughts for the fresh food and drinks (a.k.a. beers to be exactly), but in order to suit all the different personalities and dietary types in one big purchase, it is still a big challenge. Luckily, we are all carnivores and anything fit in the high calories category will do the trick. You probably already sense the food is the most important thing beside fishing in this trip, shamelessly, I have to admit, YES! We, as a modern people, are just helpless and vulnerable in the wilderness without constant (good) food supply. So, all the camping, and fishing schedule has to be arranged around food. I wish I can have evolved, at some point, hunt and fish for my own food in the woods. Like a mountain man.
Flashback, in the earlier age of my college time, I have attended a lot of expedition types of mountaineering trips. I am always being nominated as the field chef, well, cooking is another passion. Plus, who don’t want to get the first bite, officially?! The principles of food shopping are 1) light weight, 2) fast cook, but 3) have some delicacy in it. Light weight and fast cook are easy to match. You always can just pack a lot of instant noodles or dried veggies to the wilderness. But “some delicacy” is the key. We are not in the military training, MRE (meal ready to eat) types of food are not acceptable. “Delicacy” do has some “philosophy” in it, it is an art form. What I consider delicacy is to cook something like your home dishes, like your Mom would do in a modern kitchen, but we make it happen in an open fire place. One of the best tricks I have learned from the indigenous mountain people is to cook rice on the open pit fire. Different than noodles, rice are EXTREMELY hard to cook on the open fire… let me repeat it, extremely hard, especially in the higher mountain without sufficient air pressure. However, if you know how to control the heat and the timing. A good pot of steaming rice will earn you a honor… ha… no joke. A good bowl of rice is just that vital and important to Asian, just like a good burger or a juicy steak to the westerners. Fortune enough, I have lived in the US long enough that a well cooked burger sure will make me drool as well. In this trip, the burger cooked from the camp fire probably is the best of my life. Thank my team mates… (to be continued…)
a stressful moment in food shopping... : P