Survival Cooking

The frying pan sets over hot coals by straddling logs taken from the fire

As the head cook at our house I should teach my children to cook without a stove in case of an emergency.  Everyone should at least know how to boil water without modern technology, in case there is no other way to purify it.  I used to be clueless about starting fires, let alone cooking over them.  It is a basic life skill everyone used to have because there weren’t other options, and in many countries this is still the case.

I’ve learned it works best to start a fire early so there are hot coals available when I am ready to cook.  It doesn’t work to simply set a pot on top of a fire.  The pot will scorch and get ruined.  Rather, a hanging pot just out of reach of low flames and hot coals gets the quickest and easiest results.

Cut three sturdy branches approx. 6' long, fasten them together by wrapping cording about 8" from one end, and tie securely

 You can purchase fancy tripods for this purpose, or make your own.  On our recent family wilderness adventure we used what was available: large palm branches.  In northern climates three small sturdy saplings cut to the same length would work great, but in Florida those are hard to find.  The photos demonstrate how my hubby made our tripod, strong enough to hold a large heavy pot full of water or food.

Open the tripod and place over fire

Another method that is a little trickier is with hot coals moved to the side of the burning fire.  The coals must have ventilation to keep them hot.  Dig a trench for the coals and use the sides of the trench to hold up the pot.  Or use a three legged dutch oven to allow air to flow under the pot.  Or find a few small hot logs in the fire to place around the hot coals to set the pot on.  Using only hot coals often takes longer and is more work.  It helps to keep them as close to the fire as possible without scorching your pot, and to keep stoking the coals and adding new ones.

Give it a try now when it can be fun (not an emergency) and let me know how you do!

Surviving Peer Pressure

The pot hangs over the fire

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2 thoughts on “Survival Cooking

  1. Hi Rose Petal and Family! I have been working my way around your sight. It is wonderful! We are future preparers as well. One thing we did because it seemed that several times a year our power would go out while bread was rising to bake. Not knowing how long the power would be out caused us to think outside the box of convenience. We then built a brick bake oven. This was after baking bread one winter in an airtight Lopi stove we had taken out of our living room. It was great we actually used this for our bread almost the whole winter. This was the boost I needed to do more searching into bake ovens. I found that they are really quite easy to make. Some use bricks some just mud and straw or sticks. I found that you can build a single fire and cook with it for almost 24 hours. While the fire is heating the oven you can roast meat at the door for dinner. When the fire has died down you can roast vegies inside. Then when dinner is over put in a slow cooking soup/stew or casserole for tomorrows lunch. In the morning prepare bread or muffins to bake in the now just right oven that holds todays lunch. You can literally cook 3 meals and bake bread in one firing of your oven. This was the clincher for me. Not only was is it economical but impressively fun! We have made oven fired pizzas, baked potatoes and roasted bones for stock making besides bread. I am looking forward to roasting a couple of chickens on a rack set on bricks over the bed of coals in the oven. A fun sight that has a few free ebooks is Forno Bravo.com. They also sell ready to go pizza ovens and accessories. They offer a free E-newsletter for the asking which includes recipes a tips for success. Thanks for the inspiring web sight I will be back time and again! Cris

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    • Thanks for sharing your experience! You make it sound so easy, and have definitely sparked my interest in using a homemade bake oven. When we stayed in Kazakhstan for our daughter’s adoption, we ate a number of delicious meals which were prepared by Kazakhs using a bake oven.

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