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Cooking With Fire

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Campers fire up their grills at Summit County Metro Parks today<\!s>.<\!s>.<\!s>. even if the temperature dips below freezing. At the weekly Ice Breakers winter-cooking class, experts give culinary tips on whipping up entrées, soups, and stews outdoors over an open fire.

The first rule, says park naturalist Mary Beth Filon, is to cook everything in packets of tin foil so the food retains its flavor, color, and tenderness. “I’ve done it with ground beef, vegetables, and spices,” she says. “You have to have really hot coals and grill it for a long time. It basically ends up being a meatloaf with lots of veggies, and it is so good.”

Some of the park’s outdoor-rec reps will share their favorite recipes this afternoon. On the menu: Texas chili, macaroni and cheese, and homemade cornbread. More adventurous cooks may want to try trickier dishes like corned beef and cabbage, lobster chowder, and Cajun seafood gumbo. “A lot of trial and error has come with it, but they’ve perfected the recipes on their own backpacking trips,” says Filon. “The goal is to give the public the tools to do this from start to finish on their own.”

Before the class breaks up, participants will learn how to monitor hot ovens and grills, so they can minimize accidents while out in the woods. Then everybody samples the campfire-cooked eats. “You’ll be able to try them as you’re watching and learning,” says Filon. “There will definitely be some good eating.”
Sun., Jan. 21, 2 p.m.

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