Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pie Irons, Skewers and Spiders

Smores Maker and Popcorn Popper

          Above are pictures of today's subjects.   On the left is pictured a round popcorn popper and a grilling basket.  First row, right is a collection of long handled skewers.  Second row on it's own is a cast iron pot with welded legs called a spider.  Last photo center is a photo from a lovely site with cooking charts and recipes that here depicts round and rectangular pie irons.

     Pie irons are available through online sources like www.pieiron.com , amazon.com and even Walmart.  They are good to have just for fun and great to have when you really need them.  The pie iron can make a grill cheese sandwich or a pizza pocket right over the cook fire.
     Maybe your end of the world plans don't have room for a popcorn popper, but, mine do.  After corn is popped it can be eaten as is or made into a mash or even a johnny cake.  The hulls are exploded and fall away.  There will be some hulls in the mash mix fut, you will need roughage.  Baskets are good to have to grill things that like to fall apart like fish or to roast whole ears of corn. 

     Skewers are also good to have on hand for cooking sausages, hot dogs, marshmallows and even toast.   A good way to get your kids started in a lifelong love of outdoors and surviving is by enjoying the time we have around a campfire making their own hot dogs and enjoying the company.  When they find out you can butter two pieces of bread and fill them with canned pie filling fruit and make their own grilled pie pockets or fill their grilled bread with the makings of a pizza, they may never want food cooked indoors again!

     The spider shown is a colonial style pot that lets you fry without using a barbecue grate balanced on rocks.  It is sturdy, steady and safe to use over an open flame.  You just heat it up over the fire, remove it from the flames, add butter, meats and seasoning and return it to the fire to cook.  It is a simple but ingenious invention and I love not having to use the grate method.  There is very little as dangerous as trying to balance a frying pan on the burner of a single screw-on propane stove.  I don't care how watchful or careful you are, the idea of balancing a pot on one of those while kids are running around is nuts!

     Pie irons are easily found at thrift stores and yard sales.  Also, keep an eye open for baskets there.  Skewers are cheap and easily found at discount stores like Dollar General or Big Lots and seasonally at Walmart or your local sporting goods store.  

     Spiders are harder to come by and can be bought at specialty shops online for near one hundred dollars each.  But, don't panic! there are ways to put feet on your cast iron without replacing it!!!
     To 'put feet' on you pots and pans you can erect a set of feet by screwing three or four 'L' brackets together as in this photo from www.stealthsurvivor.blogspot.com   This is Brilliant!!

     Safety is always first.  Long handles are imperative!  Staying OUT of the fire is not just common sense, it is long term life saving.  The life span of humans is greatly reduced when breathing smoke from fire.  Don't stand over the fire and ingest smoke or flames.  Cook from the side and stir or turn foods from the end of a long handle.  Use some of these clever inventions to enjoy  your open flame cooking. 


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