Disaster at the North Pole

NORTH POLE, Top of the World, Dec, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) – Reliable sources say Christmas may have to be canceled, Santa’s been pumping Iron.

A source at the North Pole said today, “It’s a disaster. Santa has changed.” Others were quoted as saying, “How can we have Christmas? The big guy went buff.”

Of course not everyone is complaining. Santa’s reindeer are taking it easy. “Pulling the sleigh is like pulling a feather, now that Santa slimmed down,” Donner said. “I didn’t want to say anything before, but the past couple of years has taken the prance out of my step,” Prancer said. “But now, I've been skipping through the sky.”

We asked Bernard, the chief elf, what happened? “Well, he’s been delivering too many heavy Dutch ovens. He gets too much execise lugging them around, and four cookies and a glass of milk. just isn't emough to replenish his portly stature. Sometimes he doesn't even get that much." When asked what they would do now, Bernard said, “I don’t know. We’re going to have an emergency meeting of the Elf's union local 911 to bounce ideas around.”

He suggested that all those good boys and girls who got Dutch ovens last Christmas take them out of the box this year, and cook something for Santa." "It’s the least they can do," Bernard said. "Give back a little of what they received.”

We asked Doctor Mortimer, Santa’s personal physician, about Santa’s condition and he told us, "Santa's on a strict diet of 5 meals a day, along with forced resting. He's watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island to get his jolly chuckle back."

So there you have it. The elves are sure that Santa will be back, but you can help out. You can cook a 4-pot meal on Christmas Eve, and give it the the Jolly Old Elf. (Especially if you want a Cast iron gift this year.

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The Outdoor Symphony

By Keith Fisher

Now that the holiday is over, It’s time to get into your backyard and do some serious cooking. The weather has been great where I live, and for those in Warmer climates, I can hear the call of the camp cook. Can you hear it? It sounds like the clang of a cast iron lid placed on the pot.

Cold weather can make things harder, but it’s not impossible to cook marvelous meals in your backyard or campground. In fact, I’d like to invite you to check out these pictures. They were taken at a Dutch oven cook off called Klondike.

In 2002 I organized this cook off as a challenge for Dutch oven cooks. That first year, it was 9 degrees when we started cooking. By afternoon, it had warmed up to a tropical 20 degrees. We had cold extremities, but the food was world class.

The cooks found it hard to keep butter from freezing. One team wiped a table top with a wet wash cloth and left the rag on the table. When they came back moments later, the cloth had frozen to the table. Another year, I saw ice being scraped from a marble bread board.

In 2003 someone else directed and me and my wife won. This cook off continued in front of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Provo, Utah for six years. Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to direct the cook off last year, but this year, well stay tuned.

The pictures will show that great looking, great tasting food can be prepared in adverse conditions. I’m sure you will be invited to dozens of Christmas parties this year. Just think of the praise you’ll get if you show up to the potluck with a Dutch oven full of good food, cooked in your backyard. It will be all the better if you had to shovel snow to make room for your Dutch oven table.

I think it’s contest time again. Come back next time and get the details about how you can win a Lodge chuck wagon dinner bell. The outdoor symphony continues . . .

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