Thursday, January 5, 2012

# 166 - Salute to a Picnic Table

There is something scrumptious about eating camp food. Cooking out among the trees, fresh air and leaves crunching beneath my feet makes the food taste better.

Camp food has one main secret ingredient that makes it so delectable. I'm going to reveal's the OUTDOORS.

In the city, I have a nice kitchen with a large island and lots of cabinetry with ample counterspace. There's a big difference between cooking here in the city and cooking there in the open country.

In the country, my temporary cooking counterspace is an old picnic table that belonged to a friend's family since I was a small child. When my best-friend Kelly and I were little, we would go to her parents' land to camp out and her father poured a large concrete pad with an aluminum awning overhead to cover this incredible, huge hand-made picnic table and to create a nice outdoor "room" for us all to enjoy.

Upon arrival to our land, this is the mess that we confront. The big green bag has all of our nice comfy down-filled pillows that travel with us to the tent.

Years ago, Kelly's parents told Deputy Dave and I to go to their land and pick up the picnic table. They had not been there in years and wanted someone to at least be using the old picnic table. I had explained to Deputy Dave about the size of this picnic table, but once we arrived, I think his eyes nearly popped out of his head as he took in the massive construction of this table.

The table had been spared much deterioration because it was covered by the awning while the wood legs of the table stood high and dry on the concrete pad. Regardless, well over twenty years open to the elements had created wear and tear to the wood. That is inevitable, but the table still had a lot of life left in it and we decided to go ahead and take it to our land.

Time takes a toll on everything in this life, but I could not believe the picnic table still stood strong.

Deputy Dave loaded the heavy, bulky table into our truck, by himself...after we battled multiple wasp nests lodged in the awning over the table.

It was a fun day.

So, the old table has been sitting on our land for many years. It does not have the perfect footing for its foundation nor does it have a covering over it, therefore, it is literally falling apart more rapidly than it would have if it had sat on my friend's land. However, on our land, it is being used heavily and enjoyed thoroughly.

Lots of people visiting our land have enjoyed this table. Many kids belonging to our friends have enjoyed laughs and good food at this table. Our daughters and children from our own family have formed great memories while sitting at this table.

But, this past trip to our acreage, I stood at the table to make us hot tea and a delicious breakfast.

Even though I swept the top of the table, it is falling apart. It is showing its age due to Father Time. Now that I am taking time to do mental calculations, I am shocked to realize that this table is at least 35 years old.

We brought eggs from the house, laid by the chickens in our backyard. There's a mix of brown eggs from our Buff Orpington chickens and a few by our little Bantam, Miss Speckles.

For Deputy Dave and I, the eggs were cooked over-easy. However, I decided to cook Miss Speckles eggs for the dogs. They were burning a ton of energy on the land and eggs are a favorite treat of the dogs.

For Deputy Dave, I made two sandwiches with eggs, bacon, cheese and mayo. Normally, I'm not the best cook in the world, but a hungry man who has been expending more calories that he can consume seems to think that my cooking in this wilderness is Top-Chef quality.

All of us enjoyed a delicious breakfast. Since I forgot to pack any plates and I didn't want to eat a sandwich, I ate my breakfast in a plastic blue solo cup. It was pretty awesome. I crumbled my bacon on top of the egg that was sitting at the bottom of the cup, and I wondered why we didn't eat more of our food this way?

It's too bad that this little guy (in the picture below) arrived too late for a serving. Maybe he found a crumb.

Once this picnic table is literally on its last leg, I hope to give it a final, honorable send off. Maybe Deputy Dave can build another one similar to it so that I can always enjoy the beauty and the sturdiness of this particular design.

In the South, we enjoy our picnic tables. For me, this table served as a fantastic counterspace this past week, and I don't think I could find a more suitable temporary kitchen to serve up a delicious meal.

Old picnic table, I salute you!


Mike said...

I use the grill as much as I possibly can. Food does taste better the old fashioned way.

Did you add mayo to the egg/bacon/cheese parfait?

Anole lizards are abundant here. The whoa-man used to catch them and we'd keep them a few months, then turn 'em a-loose again.

Not sure I'd call an electric skillet 'outdoor' cooking. (just saying) ;)

Lana at said...

Mike --- No, I did not add mayo to my cup, shudder. And the skillet qualifies as "outdoor" cooking because I was standing outdoors while cooking. Kind of like using propane...on the edge, on the edge!!

But it does feel awesome to be cooking outside and not be stuck in a kitchen. For some reason, if that same lizard would've shown up inside my city kitchen, I probably would not have been as sweet and welcoming...oh yes...standing in the outdoors while cooking makes all the difference!


LindaG said...

Those little lizards are good bug control, or so hubby says.
Glad you guys had a great time!

Dreaming said...

That's an amazing life span for a picnic table! One of the first things we did on our property in NC was to cart up the pieces of a picnic table and erect it in our camping area! The last time we visited the property the table had collapsed - and it was only 12 years old!
Love the lizard!!