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Posts Tagged ‘Trader Joe’s World Market’

Day Two of Four Days of Outdoor Fodder Continued . . .

 

A few summers ago, my hub’s brother and wife invited us on a 57-mile backpacking trip in King’s Canyon, California.  We were going to do the Ray Lakes Loop which consisted of nearly seven days of . . . hell.  I decided that is how they tried to initiate me into the family.  They wanted to see if I had what it takes to make it in this family by taking me out into the wilderness and exposing every nerve and emotion I may have and if I was truly the girl scout and outdoor girl I claimed to be.  Most of the time I rose to occasion and even surprised myself.  Yes, there were some not so shining moments, but seriously, digging a hole for your poo, is never a shining moment and I coined that whole business, “the archaeological dig”.   There was another not so fortunate situation for me that is still discussed today by all that were present, mostly the hubs.

In preparation of this trip my sister-in-law and I worked on the menu of meals. I was responsible for two dinners and she was responsible for three, we were on our own for breakfast and lunch.   They were in their second or third year  of backpacking and I had been backpacking most of my teen and adult life.  I remember thinking after the fourth phone call on just the subject of  meals during backpacking, “this is not my first rodeo, so I got this in the bag.” 

Me, being a minimalist by the influence of a father that taught survival training to USAF Academy Cadets, I thought my extra effort of tossing a small bottles of wine, champagne, gourmet cheese, salami and some social crackers I found at World Market Cost Plus would just blow them away.   I even found some pre-made polenta and chipped beef that you could throw into a skillet on the camp stove add a little parmesan and wallah, a bit of the mediterranean at 10,000 feet!  I was cocky as a peacock as I was cramming all these different ingredients I found at Trader Joe’s and World Market Cost Plus into my bear box. 

The first night was their turn for dinner.  We got a mid-afternoon start so I had no idea how they rolled in the food department, since we never stopped for lunch.  After setting up camp I went to help prepare dinner.  It was like she was Mary Friggin’ Poppins when she pulled out her bear box.  All these ingredients came out of no where and all I could hear was Alton Brown, from Iron Chef America, narrating what I was seeing happening before my eyes.  She was making chicken curry over rice and not from one of the dreadful freeze-dried packages of Mountain House that backpacker’s use!   She is going to spank me in the meal department – I am very competitive by nature, so my head was spinning.  I calmed down a bit with the thought I am not a big fan of curry nor is the hubs, so she may not have this in the bag. 

Oh no! It was unbelievably good! The best curry I ever had to this day and then she followed it up with an instant pudding dessert that was delectable and a perfect finish to a great meal!   That night while trying to get to sleep, I shared with the hubs my concern that I have just been schooled in the Iron Chef Outdoors aspect of this trip and  hope my polenta dish will save face.  My hubs knowing his brother, clued me in that his brother researches things for months, tests them out and does everything with amazing perfection.  He does not know the word failure and his wife normally follows suite.  

I could not sleep that night, I was dreading my meal.  I did not research a thing, I made up my whole menu in the dry good aisle of Trader Joe’s.  I finally had a plan!  I will open a bottle of wine and serve that first, alcohol mixed with altitude will be my edge!  A girl has got to do what a girl has got to do.  It was not like I could run down to the next tree bend and find a market, I was committed. 

The next day I was energized by my plan and by lunch I was back to the role of cocky again until . . . we stopped for lunch.  They pull out their bear box and again it was like Mary Friggin’ Poppins.  There was bagels, peanut butter, packages of tuna with mayo and relish,  good salami and provolone cheese (she vacuumed sealed herself) , this amazing trail mix it when on and on.  I open my bear box and it was now smushed warm Laughing Cow cheese, broken crackers and a pouch of tuna with bread that was so dense and hard it was like eating a brick of cardboard.  I could see my hubs looking at the lunch he was eating and then at their spread of envy.  I think I saw a tear running down his face.  I was beside myself, I was getting skunked in the foodie department in a bad way. 

That night my chipped beef over polenta was terrible! Can I say, “Got too much salt?”  I think everyone swelled up like the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.  The only things that helped each person get that meal down was the vino and the fact we were starving.  As we were going to bed, my hubs said, “Oh, thank God it is their turn for dinner tomorrow!”  I rolled over and fell asleep swollen and defeated.  

The next morning I swallowed my pride and looked forward to their meals.  Oh were they good! They were the only good things we got to eat.  On the car ride home from the trip, my hubs told me that next time we do this with them, I need to take what I learned from my defeat and beat the pants off of them.  Trust me, the rematch of Iron Chef Outdoors will have a much better outcome!  I will reign!

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