All four of my brothers were Scouts, and I’ve enjoyed participating in outdoor cooking and recreation with the Scouting program for many years. One of the highlights of my association with the Boy Scouts came when I was asked to judge the outdoor cooking contest for the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Pennsylvania. I’ve been able to communicate my love for the outdoors to Scouts nationally by writing articles for Scouting.
As I continued to share my creative ideas, I also relished the unique cuisines of all 50 states and over 40 foreign countries. I even visited Hawaii to learn specifically about pit cooking. I stayed up all night to watch the Hawaiians dig the pit, build the fire and cook the pig for a traditional luau.
My outdoor curriculum thesis was rewritten as my first book, Roughing It Easy. After I appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, the book soared to the top of the New York Times best-seller list as nationwide audiences embraced my ideas. Over a million copies of Roughing It Easy were sold, thanks to the national publicity. After three years, my classroom audience moved to screen viewers via television.
During the next fifteen years, I appeared as a regular family member on NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s Home Show and Good Morning America. I literally came “out of the woods” to teach outdoor cooking to celebrities such as Tom Brokaw, Jane Pauley, Bryant Gumbel, Regis Philbin, Willard Scott, Joan Lunden and even President and Mrs. Reagan. Along with well-known TV personalities, I continued to share my ideas with outdoor enthusiasts and their viewing audiences across the country.
I still love to cook outdoors. The food is wonderful, and the outdoor air enhances the flavor, fun and fellowship. Cooking outdoors sets a stage to share the wonders of nature with family and friends. By preparing enjoyable meals outside, you will create memories that will long be remembered.
Besides encouraging a oneness with nature, outdoor cooking is a sensory experience. Rather than turning a dial to precisely 350ºF., you use all five senses to monitor the cooking. You may watch as corn boils in a pot or hot dogs brown on a grill. You may hear a steak sizzle. You might touch the top of a Dutch oven cake or bread to see if it “feels” done. Feel the steam rise with the palm of your hand. Your sense of smell will help you delight in the full-bodied aroma of food as it cooks.
Bon appétit outdoors!