A Brief Literary Digression

One of the things I’ve noticed after 50 years of hanging around with hunters is that a lot of them cook. Some of them raise it to an art form, and some of them could gag a maggot. I myself am not a cook and regard cookbooks with as much interest at I once regarded algebra, which was not a hell of a lot.

So I was amazed to find a cookbook so interesting that I actually read the thing for pleasure. It’s written by Scott Cookman (!), who has written for Field & Stream, and is a hell of a writer. (He and I once had a major argument about the height and weight of Neanderthal men.)

Anyway, the title is The Great American Camping Cookbook, and it’s filled with simple, practical recipes of all sorts that involve only fresh food. Mr. Cookman has a horror of anything canned, freeze-dried, processed, or packaged, and makes a convincing case that you can do much better in all respects by going natural.

He has also done considerable research into how people used to eat, starting with the first settlement at Jamestown. The English colonists, it turns out, ate terrible stuff. The Native Americans they encountered ate better than they did, and better than we do now. There are food-packing lists from Thoreau, and Nessmuk, and Ernest Hemingway and L.L. Bean. All sorts of neat stuff.

There are 100 recipes, 268 pages, and the price is $17.95. The publisher is Broadway Books, which is a division of Random House, Inc.