The Geezer Cookbook

By Dwayne Pritchett -- "Medicine Man"

Hints & Tips


Use Kingsford charcoal, this is not a commercial, but the bargain brands seem not to last as long. If not Kingsford, try lump charcoal instead of briquettes. It lights easier and burns hotter. If a #12 oven is used, place 14 briquettes on top and 10 on the bottom. That puts the temp as close as you can get to 350 degrees. Try placing heavy duty aluminum foil on the ground between the oven and the charcoal. This will leave no trace of your fire and help reflect the heat to the oven. Next best is to carefully loosen the sod in a 14in circle down to a depth of 4in. Put the charcoal in the pit and then place the oven in the pit. Be sure to cover the pit after cooking to
leave no trace of your fire.


No doubt you have noticed that Geezers use a lot of olive oil in these recipes. We have found that it not only adds good flavor, but it is best for seasoning or reseasoning your ovens or any cast iron. After cleaning with hot water only, reheat the iron to almost smoking and then let cool. While still very warm to the touch, wipe down with Dan olive oil soaked cotton rag. After cooling, the iron should have an oily sheen to it. Don't throw the rag away after you are finished. Save it in a double zip-lock bag. The older and oilier the rag is the better it will season your iron.


When baking breads or sugary desserts, line the oven with heavy duty aluminum foil in a crisscross layer before pre-heating. It makes clean up easier and will spread and reflect the heat inside the oven. When baking or cooking foods in a large pot lid inside the oven, rumple five small strips of aluminum foil into balls of the same size. Place the foil in the bottom of the oven in a circle with the fifth in the center. Put the pot lid on top of the balls and push own gently to seat the pot lid. This allows a space of about 1in from the pot lid to the bottom of the oven. There is less burning and -more air movement in the oven.


Take a few minutes out from trying out all these recipes and read these camping tips gleaned from the collective brains of the GEEZERS

When camping in one spot for a few days, Dig a hole for your coolers. Line the hole with plastic or foil shiny side in. Place your cooler in the hole and cover with a blanket or extra sleeping bag. The ice you came with may go home with you. Before you leave, cover .the hole, replace the sod, and leave no trace. Face your tents to the east. The early morning sun quickly dries out dampness and drives out the chill. Besides, what better way to ,greet the morning than to watch the sunrise Cut both ends from tin cans and step on them to flatten before storing them in trash bags. Critters have been known to stick their noses in, get their heads stuck, and die. Better yet, open your cans at home, pour into double zip-lock bags and take these along instead.


When broiling bacon over an open grill, try cooking it on foil. It will prevent charring, which often happens when you cook bacon on a grill. Racks from an old oven make good lightweight grills. Spray with Teflon spray for easier cleaning. Don't use racks from old refrigerators. Some were made with cadmium plating, which when heated can give off toxic fumes or spill its way into your food. Cadmium is a 3heavy metal that is toxic when ingested or inhaled. To prevent pasta from boiling over, add one teaspoon of olive oil )to the cooking water before adding pasta. 4 ounces of cheese will yield 1 cup of grated or cubed cheese.

For a fun and extremely messy break in a long term camp, order a couple of chilled watermelons from the commissary. Spread out a large clean poly tarp. Have each patrol hold the melons above their heads and then on a signal drop them onto the tarp. Yes, we said BUST them and let them eat the melon with their fingers.

If you want to save room in your cooler and still have to keep eggs fresh, make a mixture of one pound of lime to one gallon of water in a plastic one gallon jug, put your eggs in the jug, and add the lime water. The eggs will keep without refrigeration for some time.

Tents and dining flies tend to get a might funky toward the middle of a long term camp. Get a large red apple and poke several small holes through the skin. Plug every hole with a whole clove and hang in the tent or dining fly. Stories have it that it will also cut down on the flying critters in the daytime.

When pitching tents or putting up dining flies, drive your stakes in at an angle toward the tent at about a 30 degree angle. There is less chance of the stake pulling out on its own in a wind and you will have less effort to pull them out when it is time to break camp.


If you're dehydrated, a hot drink may hit the spot faster than a cold one. Recent studies have shown that water gets into your bloodstream faster from drinking hot liquids. Try heating that Gatorade and watch what happens. Anterior nosebleeds can be stopped by pinching the nostrils together for 10-15 minutes. If that doesn't work, try moistening some cotton with Afrin nasal spray. Twist the cotton into a cone and insert into the offending nostril. Leave enough out to remove later. Reapply pressure for another 10 minutes. Tea in high concentrations, thanks to the tannins it contains, has a pain easing effect on sunburn. Take a teabag, soak it in cool or tepid water, then dab it on the area. Let it dry, then repeat.

Pulling is different than lifting. Pull a heavy load with your waist so that your legs do the manual labor and your back comes along for the ride. Pulling a heavy load is preferable to lifting one. Powdered ginger may be more effective than over the counter medications for motion sickness. Ginger is safe. You can take two 450mg capsules about 10 minutes before travel, and two more again if you feel queasy. One of the most important things to remember when lifting is to hug the object close to your body to spare your back. Use BLISS before you lift. Balance, Legs, Inhale, Slowly, Slowly.


If the plastic caps come off your pack frame, replace them with rubber tips used on walking canes and furniture legs. They cost less than those designed for your pack, are more efficient in protecting your frame ends from stress, and won't slip on ice or wet rocks. Old closed-cell foam sleeping pads can serve a number of purposes: Cut boot innersoles for extra padding and insulation; A small square underneath your trail stove insulates it from snow and cold; Make a seat pad that can be rolled up and stored in your pack; Insulate your water bottle by wrapping it with a piece - then glue the edges together with contact cement - cut out a circle for the bottom and glue it on. Duct tape is a good blister preventer if you are caught without moleskin.

To rig up a quick clothesline, double your nylon cord and twist it repeatedly. Slide the clothing in between twists and the items will hold even in the strongest wind. Plastic bags will keep your feet warmer and dryer in cold rain and wet snow. Put the bags on between your liner sock and thicker outer sock. Use bread bags or thin produce bags from the supermarket. Put your water bottle in a damp wool sock and hang it from your (pack to keep the water cooler in summer. If you find you don't have enough insulation to keep warm in cold weather when sleeping, make a vapor barrier from a trash bag. Stuff 8the bag all the way down in you sleeping bag & crawl in.


Find a corrugated cardboard box about 2in larger around than a cookie sheet. Make sure it has an intact bottom and top "ears". Cut the bottom out all the way around and secure together with duct tape. Line the box inside and out with heavy duty aluminum foil and secure seams with duct tape. Cut foil at the corners to free "ears". This is for venting. Line the lid with foil and secure seams with duct tape. Get four wire coat hangers and snip the hook off below the twist and straighten. Punch holes in the box about 6in from the top, then push hanger wires thorough to make a rack. Start a charcoal fire with 6-8 briquettes in an old metal pie pan. Place a piece of foil on the ground shiny side up. Put the pie pan on the foil and place the oven over the pie pan. Put your food to be baked on the rack and cover with the lid. If you have a meat thermometer, stick it into the box just below the rack. 6-8 briquettes should bring temp to 325-350. Add or take out to adjust temp. This should be done before starting to bake.


Tightly roll four newspaper sheets together, tie with string at 2in intervals, then cut off each segment between the strings. Melt paraffin (sold in 1 lb boxes as canning wax). Dip each segment into 6pot and cool. Makes "fire bugs", a cinch fire starter.

If you can't stand the taste of powdered milk, try adding two .tablespoons of non-dairy creamer to each quart. When packing zip-lock bags for individual pack meals, color code each bag with a Magic Marker, then record each color to each meal on .a 3x5 card and put it in your map compartment.


Never, never allow cast iron to sit in water or allow water to stand in it. It will rust despite a good seasoning. Never use soap on cast iron. The soap will get into the pores of the iron and won't come out very easy, but will return to taint your next meal. Don't place an empty cast iron pan or oven over a hot fire. It will crack or warp. Don't get in a hurry to heat cast iron, you'll end up with burnt food or a damaged utensil. Never put cold liquid into a very hot cast iron pan or oven. They will crack on the spot


Charcoal placement for a Dutch oven:

ROASTING - The heat should come from the top and bottom equally. Use a 1 to 1 ratio.

BAKING - Done with more heat from the top than the bottom. Use a 1 to 3 ratio with more on the lid.

FRYING, BOILING, ETC. - All heat should come from the bottom. Use
coals on the bottom only.

STEWING, SIMMERING - Almost all heat should be on the bottom. Use a "4 to 1 ratio with more underneath.

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