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Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

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3 hours ago, MelissaH said:

I love community cookbooks. In particular, it's amusing to see which ones list women as Mrs. Husband's Name, whether the women get their own names, and if time and place have anything to do with it. We don't currently have a topic about them, do we?

 

I don't think we do, yet.* I learned about the River Road series here, I think from Best American Regional Cookbooks, but it isn't quite the same thing. I picked up a Lutheran Church cookbook from a yard sale in Duluth a few years ago, expecting to find the names of friends, but never recognized anyone. It is amusing to see all the Mrs. Husband's Name recipes.

 

*Hint, hint...anyone?

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Remember these stuffed jalapeños? They have been nagging me for a few days.

 

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I don't know why the idea of whipping egg whites to a soft-peak consistency as part of the coating had me buffaloed. Maybe - probably - it was because I'd have to dig out my egg beater or else spend long minutes whipping by hand. I know people used to do that, even more recently than Julia Child. I didn't want to do it. Was that it? I don't know...but those darned stuffed peppers accused me every time I opened the refrigerator door.

 

I got out my wand mixer. (I admit: this is not physical exertion.) I whipped the egg whites that had been travelling in our freezer and recently thawed. I rolled the peppers in the egg whites, then in masa. I set them aside for frying.

 

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Before I continued, I started another project: fry bacon to a nice crispness so it can be used in a broccoli salad - and perhaps a German potato salad. I love having an outdoor stove for frying!

 

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The first batch of bacon was more than a bit too crisp. I was out of practice gauging the temperature. I got it right in the end, and Quality Control (on both our parts) hid most of the evidence.

 

By the time more than a half-pound of bacon had been fried, there was a generous amount of hot fat. I augmented it with peanut oil to fry the jalapeños.

 

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We ate.

 

Ah-HOOAH! It needed sour cream to tame it.

 

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I've read that jalapeños can be unpredictable in their heat levels. These were hot. That stuff that looks like wadded-up tissue paper, or perhaps dielectric grease, was sour cream. Sorry about the picture!

 

Dinner tonight was the last of the Thanksgiving prime rib (at which we've steadily picked away since then) chopped, warmed slowly in olive oil, then mixed with balsamic and tamer vinegars and tossed onto a green salad. 

 

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After the salad was ready except for the dressing, we sat outside and watched the sky. We saw a fireball change from pencil-thin meteor-white, to a broader blue base, to red before it vanished. A few seconds later we heard a double WHUMP from its disintegration. What a gift!

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6 hours ago, Smithy said:

We saw a fireball change from pencil-thin meteor-white, to a broader blue base, to red before it vanished. A few seconds later we heard a double WHUMP from its disintegration. What a gift!

 

There have been a couple exploding meteors reported in the last 2 days in the SW/SoCal region.  I wonder if you saw one of those.  You can read about them (and report your sighting if you like) here.  I've been lucky to see/hear/feel a couple of big disintegrations in the past.  It is truly an awe inspiring thing once you figure out what's going on.  

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12 hours ago, lemniscate said:

 

There have been a couple exploding meteors reported in the last 2 days in the SW/SoCal region.  I wonder if you saw one of those.  You can read about them (and report your sighting if you like) here.  I've been lucky to see/hear/feel a couple of big disintegrations in the past.  It is truly an awe inspiring thing once you figure out what's going on.  

LOL Why report a boring ol' meteor when you can monetize a YouTube channel about your awe-inspiring UFO sighting?

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22 hours ago, Smithy said:

Before I continued, I started another project: fry bacon to a nice crispness so it can be used in a broccoli salad - and perhaps a German potato salad. I love having an outdoor stove for frying!

 

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Love it!

 

When my DW retires and we begin trailer camping, we intend to cook outside. The biggest difference will be propane instead of white gas. We have plenty of gear, just need that next phase of our life to kick in. Cash flow plays into it being the next phase. I won't be able to post in the "Cooking while primitive camping" because I always pack a lot of gear.

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12 hours ago, Porthos said:

 

Love it!

 

When my DW retires and we begin trailer camping, we intend to cook outside. The biggest difference will be propane instead of white gas. We have plenty of gear, just need that next phase of our life to kick in. Cash flow plays into it being the next phase. I won't be able to post in the "Cooking while primitive camping" because I always pack a lot of gear.

 

My DH wanted to convert this camp stove to propane so we wouldn't be carrying white gas, but so far I've resisted. I think most camp stoves made these days are built for propane, but I'm a traditionalist when it comes to inherited gear. I have acceded to leaving the old Coleman white gas lantern at home in favor of a propane-burning Coleman lantern. It puts out at least as much light and is quieter. 

 

Cash flow can certainly be an issue, but I hope you're able soon to hit the road!

 

I've done the primitive camping thing, and it has its advantages. There are things one can see and do when traveling lightly that can't be done when there's a lot of gear (and a large trailer). Smaller vehicles can still carry a lot of gear and get places we can't. However, there is a limit to the amount of space and gear I'm willing to give up for months on end! I'll admire from afar the adventurers who backpack the Appalachian Trail all in one go, or ski across Antarctica. My ambition to ski the John Muir Trail died a quiet death after several long-weekend winter camping ski expeditions....

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Red Sky at Morning, Sailor Take Warning...

 

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Yesterday's dawn wasn't so much dire as it was beautiful, but we knew the wind was likely to come up - and that rain might even arrive. I went to town to do laundry and pick up a couple of items we'd missed during our last shopping expedition. I also wanted to see how the Yuma Queen International Market was faring, and whether they had barberries. I discovered and wrote with great enthusiasm about this place last year, when it had just opened. 

 

I dunno. Maybe it's just that it was mid-afternoon there, but the place seemed much less stocked than before and it was hours before closing time. They had rearranged things somewhat. I found our favorite Egyptian cheese, although we didn't need any. The clerk who knew what she was doing had never heard of barberries, and was none the wiser when I mentioned "zereshk" instead. I looked around and couldn't find any.

 

They still have a pretty good selection of spices - not only Middle Eastern but also Indian - and teas. I've never seen whole mace before yesterday. It's interesting that ground mace is much redder than the whole lace.

 

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The Clerk Who Knew What She Was Doing was rushing around trying to get out the door to her afternoon job, and the young man whom she left in charge was clearly new. I had ordered a gyro, and she relayed the order to him as she headed out, all apologies and rush.

 

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I had a LOT of time to peruse the shelves and refrigerator case while I waited...and waited...and waited for that sandwich. 

 

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Some other customers came in, looking to buy dolmas. I waited more while the young man searched fruitlessly and finally called the Clerk Who Knew What She Was Doing on her cell phone. The store had run out. No wonder he couldn't find them!

 

I perused the meat and bakery displays.

 

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I thought about also buying some baklava and kunafah, but by the time the young man was finished with my order I just wanted to pay and leave. I had asked for hummus also, and he'd scraped the last of the batch into a container for me while waiting for a balky grill. He was very apologetic about the delay ("grill not working properly," he said; I suspect it had been turned off) and gave me a small discount for my inconvenience.

 

The sorriest part of the whole experience is that the gyro wasn't very good. I liked the tzatziki sauce he supplied, but didn't finish the meat.

 

So...I dunno. Maybe the place will survive, but if yesterday's experience is typical I doubt that it will.

 

Dinner last night was deliberately uncomplicated, since I came home late in the afternoon. Much of the bacon went into a broccoli salad with barberries and toasted pepitas in place of raisins and walnuts. It was a gracious plenty of a meal!

 

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(Sorry the upper-left picture is so fuzzy. I liked the geometry of the salad before it was mixed, but apparently the camera didn't focus as well as I'd thought.)


Edited by Smithy Corrected blurry picture designation (log)
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@Smithy  dug out my copy of Seasoned with Sun.  My mom put a post it stating “this is very good” on the Maxon’s Green Chile Chowder.  Even though she was a great cook, I think she had the chowder at the restaurant.  So I have to try that, most likely next week.    After that, the Fresh Apple Nut Bread on page 82 looks good - mainly because I have a freezer full of chopped up Granny Smith apples.  The boyfriend’s apple trees produced a lot this year.

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1 minute ago, Jacksoup said:

@Smithy  dug out my copy of Seasoned with Sun.  My mom put a post it stating “this is very good” on the Maxon’s Green Chile Chowder.  Even though she was a great cook, I think she had the chowder at the restaurant.  So I have to try that, most likely next week.    After that, the Fresh Apple Nut Bread on page 82 looks good - mainly because I have a freezer full of chopped up Granny Smith apples.  The boyfriend’s apple trees produced a lot this year.

 

The Fresh Apple Nut Bread - is that a recipe you can share?

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

 

The Fresh Apple Nut Bread - is that a recipe you can share?

 

I'll PM it to you. 

 

@Jacksoup, please let us know if you make it. I find myself more interested in the Cranberry Nut Bread on the next page. I may try making it, with the substitution of dried cherries for cranberries because that's what I have on hand. Time to get going on holiday baking!

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1 hour ago, Jacksoup said:

@Smithy  dug out my copy of Seasoned with Sun.  My mom put a post it stating “this is very good” on the Maxon’s Green Chile Chowder.  Even though she was a great cook, I think she had the chowder at the restaurant.  So I have to try that, most likely next week.    After that, the Fresh Apple Nut Bread on page 82 looks good - mainly because I have a freezer full of chopped up Granny Smith apples.  The boyfriend’s apple trees produced a lot this year.

 

Maxon's Green Chile Chowder looks wonderful. Thank you! I've bookmarked that one. It's supposed to be coolish here next week, so I may be making it also. Also, I see on the next page a recipe for Tortilla Soup. You should have seen me, a few years ago, trying to work out what to do with a jar of (dried) Tortilla Soup mix! This would have been a helpful guide back then. :wink:

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17 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

I'll PM it to you. 

 

@Jacksoup, please let us know if you make it. I find myself more interested in the Cranberry Nut Bread on the next page. I may try making it, with the substitution of dried cherries for cranberries because that's what I have on hand. Time to get going on holiday baking!

I have a good recipe for cranberry nut bread if you want to give it a look.

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I often make cranberry nut bars, the recipe on the Ocean Spray cranberry package.  Really good and easy to do.

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@ElsieDthe book has a warning in the beginning about not reproducing anything without the permission of the publisher but I’m going to live dangerously.  Plus I’ve changed the wording of the recipe so I hope I’m ok.  

1cup corn oil

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1t vanilla

3 cups AP flour

1 t each of salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves

3 cups peeled, diced apples

1 cup chopped pecans

 

Mix oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla.

sift dry ingredients and blend with first mixture

add apples and pecans 

pour into a greased and floured loaf pan, place in a cold oven, turn to 350 and bake for an hour and ten minutes.

glaze is

4 T butter

.5 t vanilla 

1/2 cup brown sugar

 

after baking pierce loaf with toothpick and glaze while cake is still warm.  

 

 

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I noted a few days ago that my Tucson sourdough starter seems to be coming along. I decided to make a first batch of bread with it a couple of days ago, mixed the bread, gave it a chance for the first rise, then set it (covered) in the refrigerator for a longer proof. Yesterday I pulled it out to finish rising, get shaped, and bake.

 

No rise. No structure! I used exactly the test-loaf recipe I've used before. When it became clear that the dough wasn't going to rise, I opted to try flatbread instead. You see the progression below. There was so little gluten that I couldn't pick it up without tearing. It flopped onto the griddle any old way, sometimes getting wrinkles. I pressed it with a spatula to get it properly cooked, at least - that tamed the very sour taste and made the cooked product more palatable. The lower left photo showed the most browned of the bunch; the lower right shows the basket of finished flatbreads without that one.

 

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Absolutely no structure to it! I think even pancakes would have more cohesiveness. Maybe it's because pancakes have some elasticity whereas these didn't. The flavor wasn't bad, but as a wrap for our dogs it was a bust.

 

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What do you suppose went wrong? The only changes I made from previous loaves were a different starter and possibly a day longer in the refrigerator than before. 

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I am no help at all but I'm impressed at your efforts to make it work and get something edible out of it!

 

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I'm finding some perhaps-useful information in the old eGCI course on Sourdough bread, and the associated Q&A. This post and some of its predecessors indicate that the long fermentation probably broke down the gluten that had developed. I'm going to try some different starter proportions and fermentation times. Before then, however, I plan to try some of that Sonoran White Wheat blend and the Red Fife bread blend using commercial yeast. It's remarkable how sweet a plain "flour, water, salt yeast" type bread can seem when sourdough is the norm.

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That is what I like so much about the simple no-knead bread. I usually let it sit for well over 12 hours in a cool place (no fridge) and it sort of sours itself and then fridge rests for for a few days before baking. Don't mess with success ;)  I grew up on San Frabcisco style sourdough but I like what I produce perhaps even more because it is intuitive and natural versus agonized and studied over. Taste trumphs in the end. And I am more than odd - I like the inconsistancy...


Edited by heidih (log)
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No bread-baking yesterday, but I spent a lot of time reading about sourdough and how the starter's sourness breaks down the gluten. I have a couple of ideas to try, and I'll probably revive the Sourdough Bread Troubleshooting topics. I must say, it's a bit daunting when Part 1 is 24 pages and there's a Part 2!

 

Dinner last night was a combination of skillet inside, so I could see what I was doing, and campfire outside, where it didn't matter. I think we learned something with the campfire cookery, and I managed yet again to do something different but delicious with brussels sprouts. We've been entirely too protein- and fat-heavy lately, with not enough vegetables. I'm working to change the balance.

 

The brussels sprouts began as usual: start rendering some bacon; when it's partially cooked, add a bit of olive oil and the sprouts, cut side down. (I have @Franci to thank for that. I hope she's doing well in her new venture in Miami!) This time I added some chopped scallions when the sprouts were starting to brown and ready to turn. Here's Stage 1:

 

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Meanwhile, some frozen steaks were thawing. I'd been planning on chicken, and it was thawed, but we changed our minds. (There's a reason I'm telling you about the steak. You'll see!)

 

Stage 2 of the sprouts: Add a small container of chicken jello -- I find I use these small amounts far more often than the pint- and quart-sizes I also have in the freezer - and some quartered Campari tomatoes. Plop a lid on, then let everyone get to know each other in the pan, stirring occasionally as the jello melts. Once the sprouts are soft the liquid can be cooked down a bit to concentrate. The finished dish keeps easily on the stove until it's time to eat.

 

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Meanwhile, I was prying the steaks apart. "Don't worry," my darling had said at 4 p.m, "they'll be thawed by the time we want to cook at 8." I'd suspected he was overly optimistic about it; the sun sets here before 5:00, and there isn't much heat after that.

 

I got the steaks pried apart as they thawed, and seasoned them with a mix from Cooper's in Llano. I think it's mostly salt and pepper. I figured it would help dry the exterior of the steaks. When our campfire was right, the steaks went into our cooking basket and over the fire.

 

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I couldn't be arsed to find a thermometer for the steaks or pyrometer for the fire. We just went by look and feel. This is unusual for us, because my darling is strictly a rote cook when it comes to steaks: over a grill, 3 minutes on 1 side and 3 on the other. Mine is usually overcooked, so I usually insist on using a thermometer. Either way we've had trouble getting these particular ribeyes, which were sliced more thinly than we usually get, done to our satisfaction.

 

Well let me tell you, the steaks were the brilliant star of the show, and the sprouts were a good supporting role.

 

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The steaks were seared on the outside and pink on the inside; the frozen interiors had warmed enough to start cooking but hadn't become overcooked. We have more ribeye steaks that we brought from home. I'll be trying the cook-from-not-fully-thawed method again, and hope it wasn't just dumb luck.

 

 

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@Smithy....I have drawn a complete blank....what was the big yellow kitty's name?

 

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3 hours ago, kayb said:

@Smithy....I have drawn a complete blank....what was the big yellow kitty's name?

 

 

His name is Finn MacCool.

 

Over on the Sourdough Start front, I refreshed both starters yesterday before we went for a 2-3 hour sightseeing trip. The top photo in this collage is immediately after refreshing; the bottom photo is when we came back. I think they're both ready for prime time, but since I have no sourdough bread-baking plans for the next few days they went into the refrigerator after I took the second picture.

 

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Yesterday was fairly cool, by desert standards. By evening time the cooking fire was also a necessary fire for warmth for anyone sitting outside. My darling wanted me to stress just how cold it was -- 49F with a light breeze -- but I told him I doubted we'd get much sympathy from anyone. We've been reading about snow at home and tornadoes in Illinois. We have it easy!

 

I've been wanting to participate in the eG Curry Cook-Off, and I've been working to include more vegetables in our meals. I've also been wanting to play with a new kitchen toy I picked up just before we left home.

 

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At the same time, we want to take advantage of the campfire while we can. Toward that end, dinner was a hodgepodge of indoor and outdoor cooking, as it had been the night before. For the campfire it was supposed to be Cowgirl Chicken, based on a recipe in Cowgirl Cuisine, a fine cookbook-cum-memoir by Paula Disbrowe. I didn't pack that book with me, but thought I could get it more or less right from memory. It basically involves packing chicken thighs with a good spice rub - I think she includes honey, but I didn't last night - and then cooking it over the campfire in our basket. 

 

I also did a certain amount of bet-hedging by cooking potatoes over the fire in Papa's Pan. I'll explain why in a moment. Here was the scene outside:

 

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Inside the trailer I had made rice while the generator was going. I wasn't impressed with my first attempt at using a rice cooker. My best friends swear by theirs, and have had a certain amount of swearing in order to use their new Instant Pot to get the same results. My rice in the cooker was gummy. I wanted the rice for the curried cauliflower, but wasn't sure this would be worthwhile. I don't have pictures of the rice alone, but I'll cheerfully welcome tips on how to get the best use from a rice cooker. This was a $15 special from Walgreens. If I don't like it, I'll donate it. Last night's result wouldn't justify the storage space.

 

The final dish, for which the rice had been made, was a cauliflower curry from The Complete Curry Cookbook, by Charmaine and Reuben Solomon. As documented over here, I had questions once I got going. Bless the eG crowd, I had answers almost as soon as I asked! Here's the finished dish:

 

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The potatoes and chicken finished cooking.

 

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We ate...inside. If you look at the background you'll see he was still wearing his down vest! It takes him time to get over a chill these days.

 

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The chicken was cooked a bit too quickly, I thought: too firm on the outside, and almost not done enough at the bone. He thought it wasn't firm enough on the outside! (Disbrowe's recipe relies on a smoker, but we've had good luck with the campfire in the past. I think the coals were simply too hot yet, and a bit more patience would have paid off.) We thought the potatoes, those bet-hedgers, were the real star of the show, but the cauliflower was worth doing again with some tweaks. I thought it too salty. Beside, it needed the ginger root - which I couldn't find. I'm sure I packed it. I'll be interested to see where it finally turns up. 

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The food looks delicious, but who gets to clean the pans the potatoes were cooked in?

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I have personally only used Big Red I got at an auction. A friend uses a little "non-logic" jobbie so I have participated with that. Its all about the rice/water status and ratio. I've gotten to the point that 97% of the time it works out to my satisfction. I dropped it and now it has a little gap so I've adjusted for the extra venting. I don't measure anymore. I rinse in the container so some water remains and do the old "knuckle deep" on water but I have small hands so it works. What kind of rice were you using? Gummy is usually too much water. 

rice cooker.JPG

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25 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

The food looks delicious, but who gets to clean the pans the potatoes were cooked in?

 

I do. Fortunately, it isn't as bad as it looks. That pan has seen more than its share of campfires, and by now the carbon is baked on nearly as well as any hard-anodyzed coating. The same thing is true of our indoor-outdoor skillet that used to have a dull, silvery exterior. Here, I'll show you!

 

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Neither has the sort of even exterior finish that our hard-working Darto pan enthusiasts are getting, but these finishes are hard and don't smudge. I'm sure I could scrub them off if I wanted, but I only care that they don't smear.

 

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My grandmother, Nana, would be horrified to see the condition of the potato pan now. My grandfather, Papa, would be delighted. I think my father would side with Papa. You see, this pan was called their "omelet pan" (I never saw Nana use it to make omelets) when I was growing up, but it was Papa's main (only?) cookware during camping trips. Dad told me that once, upon their return from a fishing and camping trip, Nana helped unpack. She took this pan, scrubbed it until it looked shiny and new again, and presented it proudly to Papa, thinking she was being helpful. He was furious! :laugh:

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