Considering I leave this week for the Pacific Crest Trail, I thought it might be fun to, ya know, figure out what I’m going to be eating on the trip. Here’s the problem: I’m a lousy cook, even in the best of circumstances.
Case in point: I once was in charge of making macaroni and cheese for some high school boys at church. High school boys.
“Surely I can do this,” I thought. “High school boys will eat anything!”
Then, midway through his first bowl, one of them turned to me and asked, “Did you put sour cream in this?”
I had not, in fact, put sour cream in it. Yet despite his raving starvation just before lunch, he didn’t finish his bowl, and we threw away over half the batch of Mac and cheese.
Luckily, Campbell’s makes a wide variety of delicious soups that are almost idiot proof, so I’ll just eat those for the rest of my life.
Except for when I go on long backpacking trips that necessitate higher calories and also lighter foods. What to do?
The answer, of course, is simple:
1) Go to Winco and buy every container of food that looks like I might be able to prepare it on a backpacking stove, or, even better, without a stove;
2) Take the food home, thinking the while drive about what you really should have gotten;
3) Toss it all in a heap on the living room floor and stare at it for half an hour just in case it suddenly decides to prepare itself;
4) Grab random items from the floor and take them to the kitchen to test, while singing madly like the chef on The Little Mermaid;
5) Realize Mom is pulling into the driveway and run outside to ask her to brace herself for the mess inside.
I did all of these. She came in, saw kitchen littered with small pots, spilled couscous, and half-filled bags of trail mix and said, “Oh, this isn’t so bad.”
She then walked into the living room and said, “Oh, this is bad.”
Fortunately, after four kids and three grandkids, she’s developed a calm in the face of disaster. Just another reason she’s the best mom ever.
I ended up discovering that I have an affinity for couscous and not cooking anything, so my game plan at this point is to go stoveless for the first 200 miles, at which point I’ll be so grateful for hot food that I won’t even care if my Mac and Cheese tastes like sour cream.