As a kid, during school days leading up to Thanksgiving Day, my teachers provided much insight to what life was like when the pilgrims showed up in their new land. And of course, we kiddos responded to our teachers' teaching by creating artwork of hand outline tracings on paper that transformed into colorful drawings of turkeys.
Much of the Thanksgiving Day festivities, then and now, revolve around food and preparing it. Campers partake in preparing food throughout the year in primitive ways and consider it recreation. Those pilgrims used open flame and glowing coals as the only source of cooking heat — a need, not a novelty.
Camping and the Holidays may not have any one thing more in common than food preparation and feasting. A wood fire flickering underneath a slow turning bird is an entertaining and results in a tasty meal of thanks.
An improved method of primitive cooking is using cast iron cooking vessels. The Dutch oven continues to gain attention for its impressive cooking abilities. A turkey roasted in a Dutch oven at the campground, or at home in the backyard fire pit, may result in a favored means of preparing the holiday's main course for years to come.
Roasting a turkey in a Dutch oven doesn't take all day — an 8-pound turkey can be roasted in about three hours. In a Dutch oven at least 14-inches deep, or with enough space for hot air to circulate between the bird and the oven's sides will do the trick. A rack will be needed to keep the turkey off the bottom of the Dutch oven. Maintaining a steady heat of around 300 degrees will provide the best results.
A second but smaller Dutch oven can handle a decent serving of steamed vegetables to accompany the turkey on the table. Or wrap a few potato slices in a quarter-inch thick slice of ham, then wrap those with foil and place in hot coals, flipping every ten minutes for up to an hour for a quicker solution to a tasty holiday meal.
With a little practice, using a Dutch oven or other pilgrim era cooking tool, baking treats such as cookies for icing later can easily be done. Cakes are also an easy task done in a Dutch oven which are always welcome at any holiday celebration. Prepackaged holiday cake icing in small containers are a must for the holiday camping packing list. Not only for topping of the cake and cookies, but also for enhancing a holiday S'more's appearance and taste to complete the first round of Holiday feasting.
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