Beep, Beep, Beep

By Keith Fisher

While my family slept, I stood outside the trailer, basking in the glory of the new day. A layer of frost had formed during the night obscuring the view through the windshield of my truck. Over the field to the west, preparations were being made to handle the onslaught. A small car came through the Davis County Fairgrounds parking lot, and the driver honked the horn.

Well, it was more of a high pitched beep and the driver continued the beeping as the car went around the back of the buildings and parked on the lawn. That has to be Ranes, I thought. A man got out of the car with his boys. Yep, it was Ranes Carter.

I drove my truck over to unload my stuff into the taste of Dutch building. “Ranes,” I said. “You’re liable to get shot, honking that horn.”
“Just waking everybody up,” he said.
What a nice guy, I thought. He doesn’t want any one to miss any part of the convention.

The day had begun for many of us who attended the convention. The Dutch oven potluck dinner, the night before, had been delicious. With several pots of tempting morsels lined up, there was no excuse for anyone to be hungry.

I made orange hotdogs. I filled a 12-inch deep Dutch oven with hotdogs, cut in half. Then, I simmered them in two cans of cream soda for about 45 minutes. About an hour before serving, I poured the contents of a large bottle of Panda Express Orange Sauce, over the dogs. I let them simmer.

I’ve written about the convention before, so you know about the format. In building number one, There were demos and classes. Everything from Dutch oven 101, to making pizzas in a Dutch oven was talked about. Many cooks learned new things or were reminded of things they had forgotten.

Building two was for the vendors to display their camp cooking wares and gadgets. Many an innovative doohickey has been sold there over the years. Also, are the Dutch oven essentials, everything you would need to start cooking in your backyard.

Sharing that building, International Dutch Oven Society (IDOS), set up displays and sold recipe books and dispensed information. At noon, IDOS held an auction in this building. Ron Hill and Clyde Miller, Both former IDOS presidents, did a great job selling many useful items for camp cooking.

Moving South to building three, we found the Youth cook off. Teams ranging from 12 years to 17 years old competed for coveted prizes. I’ve been a judge of this cook off before, and I can say, the dishes those kids present would amaze you. This year, was no exception.

Sharing the building with the cook off, was Ram Cooking Supplies, a vendor, who provides quality utensils for cooking great dishes. They sold a steel mixing bowl big enough to bathe a large baby. They are always a welcome sight at the convention.

Also in building three is the Taste of Dutch. Every year, many cooks gather to provide samples for convention attendees. The type of cooking ranges from simple to elaborate. Cooks share secrets, samples, and encouragement.

Because of teaching, judging the cookoff, and laziness, It’s been several years since I cooked in Taste of Dutch. My wife and I used to be standards in the event. With all the talk, during the championships, about the good old days, I decided to volunteer. My wife, Wendy, had planned to take a few classes. I planned to cook three dishes, pack up, and enjoy the convention. I got roped into baking a pile of Rhodes Frozen Dough that had been donated by the company. Also, I baked Bruce’s two pots of pull-a-parts.

Wendy, stepped in, and never got to the classes, and by the time it was over, I’d cooked peanut butter cookie cake, potato smashers, peach dump cake, two pots of pull-a-parts, And a pile of Rhodes bread, orange rolls, and cinnamon rolls. All in all I cooked 13 pots of food, and Wendy did cleanup and served it to the spectators. Wendy also helped judge the cook off.

At the end of the day, IDOS held the annual meeting for members. I sat down for a while and had trouble straightening back up. Still, I had a great time.

It all started with the beep, beep, beeping, of Ranes Carter’s horn. He made up for it, though, by cooking breakfast for many of us. He made biscuits and gravy to die for. Don’t worry, I’m going to pester him until he gives me the recipe. Then, I’ll post it here.

In the meantime, here are a couple of simple recipes.

Potato Smashers

In a 14-inch Dutch oven, put a little water. Cube two medium onions, or one large onion. Cube approximately fifteen potatoes. Make enough to fill the oven (not quite to the top). Add water if needed and boil. Coals on the bottom only.

When soft, mash the potatoes with a little milk and two squares of butter. Mix in grated cheese and two packages of turkey bacon bits.

That’s it. Mix the cheese and bacon bits into mashed potatoes. Of course it tastes better in a Dutch oven.


Peanut Butter Cookie Cake.

I used a brownie mix according to directions. You could use a cake mix and use only ¼ cup water. 2/3 cup oil and two eggs. The idea is to make a thick batter. Thicker than a cake batter. With that mixed, spoon it into a 12-inch Dutch oven that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Level the batter and add two packages peanut butter chips. Spread them around and push them into the batter.

Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted, comes out clean. Turn out of oven onto a cake rack, and let cool. When cool, frost with white frosting, and cut into squares. I used to use a white cake mix and one package of chocolate chips. But this time I used chocolate cake so I used two packages of peanut butter chips.

The Dutch oven convention happens every spring. There is also one in the fall that travels from place to place. Stay tuned to http://www.idos.org/ for info. Sometimes vendors offer fantastically cheap deals. Every time, however, you can taste great food, and learn smart tips. Plan to be there next year.

I wrote about a contest last week and one man mentioned he’d read my blog. I thought I’d remember, so I didn’t write his name down. Okay I admit to my senior moment. Could you make a comment or send me an email so I can remember? I’m talking to the man I sat next to, at the DOG. We’ll get the drawing going after I hear from you.

Next time, well talk to a few people about Dutch oven cooking, and how they got started. Well also talk about professional cooking and how it differs from camp cooking. We'll also have the drawing.