There's a great deal going on in the offline life, all kinds of things, and some of it, believe it or not, is actually positive for us personally, in many ways, including paying work, despite the political billionaires' and religious whackos' derangement of objective, ideology, utterance, attitude and action having taken over seemingly the whole world, except -- maybe -- for France?
Therefore, perhaps it is particularly rude of us to keep laughing at the French as we make our way through Capetian France 987 - 1328? This is the read-aloud-before-bed book that succeeded Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (el V's favorite century!) which was all about the plundering, corsairing, privateering and pirating of Spain's ports, ships and fleets by all of Europe's powers in mostly the 16th century, through about 1628.
Both of these books have been terrific reads, before bed, hough in a different ways. It was particularly pleasant to have them when I went down with a very nasty virus two weeks ago, and couldn't read for myself. One of the symptoms was eyes that watered constantly, making vision iffy at best -- not to mention the lack of concentration. What I did mostly during that period was lie in the dark, listening to book streamed from Overlook.
. . . . As far as the Capetians are concerned -- what is up with us and the French and laughter? As soon as el V and I began reading my history of the Capets with each other, as opposed to me reading the book by myself, we got the giggles. Evidently even when they weren't French, but Goths (Merovingians) and Franks (Carolingians), which is when this laughter began earlier in the year, they were sufficiently French to be amusing and good company?
The Capetian monarchy is not only post-Carolingia, but post Vikings and the Dark Ages. We begin to see what political historians have called feudalism as an administrative organizational structure becoming the predominate system, along with the proliferation of castle-building -- which reached its peak in France in the 11th century.
I'm getting a sense that with the Norse now integrated into Francia at every level of society (though probably not in the peasantry?), so much of what they severely disrupted in the kingdoms after Charlemagne was no longer around to hold things together, in many ways all systems from trade and taxes to governance and land holdings had greatly stabilized. In other words we have now entered what historians used to regard as the Middle Ages and have emerged out of what historians used to call the Dark Ages.
By the way, the Norman kingdoms were very well organized and administered, the best of them all. As far as we've gotten, the Normans are about poised to take over kingdoms in Sicily and southern Italy -- not to mention England.
This is so interesting! But, I wonder, if anywhere else in this vast, densely populated city, in June, 2017, anyone else is considering these matters? I have the feeling that only here, in this apartment, in this building, is this happening. One indication is that these books from the graduate school library haven't been taken out in years and years. And their publication all date from the 1970's, at the latest.
. . . . What have I listened to? The most entertaining was James Buchanan: The Worst President Ever (2016) by sports journalist >!< Robert Strauss. It's a fairly light-hearted treatment of the guy who did nothing to keep the Union together (though he did a lot to allow it to fall apart, They Say). There are lengthy digressions into the author's own childhood and the father with whom as a boy he shared an obsession for US presidential trivia. There are further lengthy digressions into playing basketball at his gym and elsewhere in Philadelphia, where he was born and continues to live, and more yet about his wife and daughter. His historical method, as far as it goes, is to compare and contrast Buchanan's biography and presidency with that of the other 44 (as of his writing) presidents, to make the case that Buchanan was The Worst Ever. However, Buchanan's got a real run for his title going these days. One wonders if the author would have been so off-handed about the mess JB helped make if he were putting the book together today. OTOH, in the stuperous state of my whole sick system, that was about as much cogitation as I could manage.
I listened to two novels via Overlook. The first was Daphne DuMaurier's Frenchman's Creek (1941). She was so good at what she did. And one must get to the very end to see just how good at it she was. Through much of the book one of the lesser character's wife is pregnant. He's deeply concerned about his wife and the coming delivery, hoping for the best, fearing for the worst, which was the outcome far too often in the 17th century of King Charles II, which is the time the book takes place. That this becomes a major plot point won't even be clear until the very end! I was so impressed.
The second novel was Ann Cleeves's second title in her Shetland Islands series, White Nights. I've read all the others but it took this long for the replacements to show up at the NYPL after the others were worn out. In my opinion this one is far superior to the others.
I am also listening to three other fascinating, books, The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad (2013) by Lesley Hazleton (NPR review here) The Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee: The War They Fought, the Peace They Forged (2015) by William Davis
|A UK Guardian review of the book here.|
-- and the brilliant The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land (2010) by Thomas Asbridge. This latter is big -- 784 pages -- because he tells the politics of the crusades from both Christian and Islam's contexts of the times. I've been listening to it for weeks, as one can only check out an audio stream book for a maximum of 3 weeks, and I usually only listen to them while working out. It's a popular title and then I have to wait until whoever else had it on hold expires it to get it back again. (The Overlook system that has highjacked all the public library systems is truly awful and stupid in every way.) I've now reached the fifth crusade.
It's really been books this month, far more than television / movies, due to my eyes being so bad from being sick.
This week on Maker Update: how to give a fish a hammer, Intel gives up, Raspbian gets an update, Printrbot tries for infinite Z, a love letter to gaffer tape, and a better way to trim a zip-tie. This week’s featured Cool Tool is Gaffer Power Gaffer Tape.
I’ve got gaffer tape from Gaffer Power. I’ve got two flavors here, they’re both available on Amazon Prime, and by picking them up using the link in the description you help to support these videos and the Cool Tools blog.
Gaffer tape is a cloth-backed tape, similar to duct tape, but more expensive and harder to find. It gets its name from movie set lighting electricians known as gaffers. These people spend their days on location taping down cables to prevent them from getting tugged or tripped on. But the next day, equally important, they need to be able to peel away the tape without leaving behind a sticky mess on the set, or on their cables.
The magic thing about gaffer tape is that it comes away clean. So it’s almost like painters tape, but with the strength of duct tape. And if you’ve ever peeled up old duct tape, you know what a gross mess it leaves behind.
What I also love about this tape is that you can easily tear it by hand, and the cloth backing keeps your tears square. You also get straight tears lengthwise, which can be useful for making small labels.
And that’s the other great thing about gaffer tape — the matte cloth backing is easy to write on and non-reflective. So if you pick up a bright color like white, yellow, or pink, labels really stand out.
Now, per yard, this tape is about 4x as expensive as duct tape. This 30-yard, 2-inch wide roll sells for $17. This 3-inch roll sells for around $23. The wider roll is better at tapeing down bundles of cables, but is also great for tearing 3-inch vertical strips that are often just enough for what you need.
For what it’s worth. I ordered the 2-inch roll first and it came with a 25% coupon from Gaffer Power I could redeem on Amazon for the 3-inch roll. So, I basically got these for the same price.
-- Donald Bell
Gaffer Power Gaffer Tape ($17)
Available from Amazon
[added: link nuked due to pay issues and reaction to questions about pay]
Lindy Mechefske posts
Thrilled to be working with Ruth Wood on an anthology of transgender stories. We are interested in stories from anyone under the transgender umbrella as well as stories from the people close to them. We are looking for stories from people anywhere in the world so please share this widely. Submission details below.
PLEASE SHARE WIDELY! ( Read more... )
I only managed one attempt at the June challenge this year: a modified version of Theme II.(a): Lines.
The full version of this challenge involves starting at a railway terminal and walking outwards from the terminus, following one of the railway lines as closely as possible. I’ve been doing this in stages from West Croydon Station to London Bridge Station, and this month I did a new stage.
I was originally going to walk from Tulse Hill to East Dulwich, but my lungs were playing up so I stopped at North Dulwich; i.e. I only walked one stop. Here’s a map showing my route so far (plus the bit I intended to but didn’t walk, which will be done next time), and here’s a photoset including all stages so far.
I photographed quite a lot of railway bridge identifiers on this one, since secretlondon and I are collecting them, and railway line walks are a very good source. My favourite photo is the one below, showing the premises of a “Fibrous Plaster Specialists”.
Someone came out just after I took it and asked me why I was taking photos. They seemed a bit offended by my use of the phrase “old sign”, oops. They were very keen to make it clear that the business is still going!
I have been using the Morakniv Companion off and on for several years, mostly doing volunteer trail-clearing work. It is a remarkable tool. Rather than doing my usual good-bad lists, I will discuss the various sections of the knife, then summarize.
The Companion is Morakniv’s general purpose/entry level knife. It is a fixed-blade knife, meaning the blade doesn’t fold into the handle. All fixed-blade knives must be sheathed to make them safe to store and carry, and the Companion comes with a molded plastic sheath. (More on that later.) A good fixed-blade knife is incomparably better than a folding knife in nearly every way that relates to function, and this is a good fixed-blade knife.
The blade is just over 4″ long, which is long for a pocket knife but short for an outdoorsy knife. It has a clip- or drop-point profile (I have seen it called both) in which some of the back of the blade is ground away near the tip. This has the effect of dropping the tip down closer to the midline of the knife, probably to make it more handy for drilling holes should the need arise. (Some claim the blade is based on a traditional Finnish knife, the “pukko,” but I can’t confirm that.)
Two steels are available: stainless steel (Sandvik 12C27) and carbon steel (which will of course rust if you don’t keep the blade clean and oiled. I personally prefer the stainless steel.) Sandvik 12C27 is considered a fine but unremarkable knife steel, certainly suited for this kind of knife. It is tempered a bit soft (R57-58), which is also appropriate for a utility knife. The blade is quite tough; there are videos of a blade being bent double without breaking, and then being straightened, and then being used to cut things without a problem.
The blade is somewhat thin, being 0.1 in. (2.5 mm) thick. That is thicker than most folding blades, but thinner than some survival knives. The Companion is also available in a Heavy Duty version with a 0.125 in. (3.5 mm) blade.
The grind is more or less a “scandi” or “v” grind, meaning there is only one bevel angle. (I say more or less because mine had a bit of secondary bevel where it had been honed.) To contrast, your usual chef’s knife has at last two and usually three grind angles. Scandi grinds have the advantage of not requiring much skill or apparatus to resharpen. If you are out on the taiga and need to resharpen a seriously dulled blade, you just place a stone flat against the bevel and rub. The grind also makes for a robust blade, since no other steel is removed from the blade other than at the bevels. For things like whittling, creating feather sticks, etc., that grind is supposedly unparalleled. The disadvantage is that the blade can wedge and bind in stiff materials like cardboard or hard vegetables like squash. It will not act like your 8″ chef’s knife (which has a “full flat grind”). That grind also means sharpening is relatively slow, since you have to remove steel the entire width of the bevel. (A serrated Companion is available.)
The blade is polished, but not quite to a mirror finish. The blade is pretty bright, but I can see hints of the earlier grinding steps, when coarser stones were used. But the finish is much nicer than it has to be, especially for the price.
The back of the knife is a pretty assertive 90 degrees, good for scraping a fire-starter rod (I tried it.)
The construction is not “full-tang,” where the blade steel continues the full width and length of the handle, and the handle is just two plates or “scales” attached to the tang. It has a “stick” or “rat-tail” tang, where the blade becomes a rod that extends most of the way into the handle. On the good side, that means the knife is cheap, light, and balances well. On the bad, that means the knife is not as durable as a railroad spike or crowbar. (More on that later.)
Out of the box, the knife was scary sharp.
If you are used to folding knives, the Companion’s handle will be a revelation. It feels palm-filling and secure no matter how you hold it, with no hot spots. You can work with it all day and not get blisters.
There is a subtle finger guard near the blade, and a similar swelling at the end of the handle. They make the knife less likely to slip in your hand, but they aren’t big enough to get in the way in certain holds. Overall, the handle is shaped perfectly.
The material is just plastic overmolded with tackier rubbery material except at the handle ends. It does not become slippery when wet (though I haven’t tried it when the handle was greasy.)
The handle caps (and sheath) are available in a variety of colors. The light blue or orange options are harder to lose and less scary looking than black or dark green.
The sheath is a single piece of tough, rigid plastic. The knife snaps in, so no securing strap is necessary (though Morakniv does sell more elaborate sheaths.) It has a sturdy belt hook and a drainhole. It will likely last forever.
Interestingly, the blade covers about half of the handle as well as the entire blade. That makes it very secure and protective; the knife really will not fall out. But it also makes it a little slower to grab and draw out. A worthwhile tradeoff, in my view.
It costs FOURTEEN DOLLARS. I have seen them for as little as $12. And there is no other place to say that the knife, taken as a whole, from the sweep of the edge, to the mirror-like polish, to the contouring of the handle, is beautiful. It didn’t have to be, but it is.
So now, the good and the bad.
the Companion is…
– Durable (certainly more so than any folding knife)
– Fitted with a superior handle (superior to any folding knife, and most fixed-blade knives)
– Light, well-balanced and easy to handle
– Nicely made and finished
– Available in a variety of options re color, steel, serration, thickness, etc.
– Cheap as all get-out. An amazing bargain.
the Companion is…
– A tad scary to look at, though it is smaller than many kitchen knives. You might get a reaction from people if you show it to them.
– Probably illegal to carry on your person in most cities. They are meant for the campsite or worksite. There is a shorter knife, the Eldris, which for some reason is more expensive.
– A bit harder to sharpen, because of the scandi grind. Apparently some people who enjoy that kind of thing will grind a deep secondary taper into the blade, so it has almost a wedge profile, like a kitchen knife. That will make the knife easier to sharpen and a better slicer, but less robust. A few Morakniv models come prethinned toward the tip of the blade, which supposedly makes them better for animal skinning and breakdown.
– Not the most heavy-duty knife out there. It is certainly strong enough for most bushcraft, including batoning (where the knife is used as a small splitting wedge.) But you cannot hammer it into a concrete wall with a sledge. You cannot pry open doors with it. It is just a cheap, simple knife. If you want a heavier duty knife, you can check out Morakniv’s Garberg or Bushcraft models.
– Some people complain that the sheath and handle show wear relatively quickly. I would respond that both handle and sheath are comfortable, effective, and cheap, so who cares? If you want a G10 handle, buy a different knife (and pay 3, 5, or 10 times as much.) Same goes if you want a heavier blade. So for the cost of a screwdriver, you can get a very functional, well-designed, effective, almost beautiful knife with a few shortcomings. The only change I might really want would be to make it a full flat grind, like a lot of Spyderco knives. That would make the blade less durable and robust, and it would mean more machining, so more cost. But at even double the cost, it would be a good buy. And even as is, it is a no-brainer for camping, woodcraft, even gardening and some bushcraft. If you don’t have a fixed-blade outdoor knife, this is the one to get. You will be amazed at how much more comfortable and capable it is than any folding knife.
-- Karl Chwe
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife ($14)
International Amazon link
Available from Amazon
[This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2003 – MF]
My Saunders aluminum clipboard portfolio is the best personal organization investment I’ve ever made. It looks great, and for anyone who regularly carries a messenger bag or briefcase, this little thing is a godsend. It’s the size of a legal pad, and just as thin, but it provides a fantastic place to store and protect the various pieces of paper I want to keep close at hand. (At the moment, mine contains an itinerary for a flight I’m taking in two weeks, a construction contract I need to sign, a guest list for my wedding, and a manuscript I’ll edit tonight.) It even has a place to store a pen beneath the clipboard clip.
I’ve been using my portfolio nonstop for four years, and it’s virtually indestructible. (Saunders makes the aluminum clipboards used by police and building contractors.) The outside of mine has acquired plenty of scratches and battle scars, but the inside still looks like new, and my papers stay undamaged and uncrumpled, even after months of shuttling from my house, to my messenger bag, to my office, to my car, to anywhere else I might wander. And for just ~$18, it’s a bargain! Saunders makes a variety of other aluminum form holders, including the cop-friendly “Cruiser Mates.”
I've not done much about it: cakes in the office yesterday & I may get a takeaway tonight rather than cook. I am vaguely thinking of doing Something on the weekend that includes 1st October (my arbitrarily-declared Happy Being Alive Day) but I haven't worked out what Something will be yet. In the meantime, a good friend is holding a party on Saturday so I'm going to enjoy being part of their celebration instead of organising my own right now.
Find Calm: Practice Rest and Regulation
New book response at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!
- "An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples" by Veronica Kallos-Lilly and Jennifer Fitzgerald
Video on co-regulation
Bonnie Badenoch, psychotherapist and professor of interpersonal neurobiology, warmly explains co-regulation and polyvagal theory in her video How to Feel Safe in Your Relationship. Thanks to Donna Norfolk for the link.
Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.
If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
 After watching Vincente Minnelli's The Band Wagon (1953), I actually feel better. I love when that works. The "Girl Hunt Ballet" is even funnier if you have spent the last year and change immersed in pulp fiction and still bounced off Mickey Spillane.
Can't remember the last time I saw a movie, in a theater or out of it. This one was sparsely attended, and therefore fragrance-free enough for me, yay.
This movie is worth seeing. It is much more up close and personal than the summary implies. The Native Americans are saying, "Look at me! Look at us! We are PEOPLE. These atrocities happened to me, to my family. See us!" The white guy is saying "privilegeprivilegeprivilege oh wait maybe I'll see you a little bit."
I'm so glad the Native American folks got to tell their stories and show their lives and landscapes. I hate that the story centers on the white guy's narrative. He's the one who changes as the Native Americans instruct him.
The cinematography and secondary part acting are bare-bones. For me, that emphasized that these are real people, this really happened, this is the landscape where it happened.
( Summary )
Name: Mer/waketosleep (my old LJ was stripedpetunia)
Age: 29 (for three years now)
Tumblr/Goodreads/IG/etc: IG is alarmingllamas and a great place to see pointless photos of my cat; I'm active on twitter as @alarmallama and my AO3 handle is waketosleep.
Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I'm a cis bi woman going into my second year of law school, because my last career decision was very regrettable, and I was diagnosed with ADHD a year and a half ago so that's been an exciting combination. I've been writing in fandom for ~15 years but between the ADHD and the law school and how much of your life can be swallowed up by trying to pay bills, I don't write as often as I used to. My other interests include TV shows, knitting and crochet, the CFL (I'm a Stamps fan), Canadian politics, cola bottle gummy candy, linguistics (that's the bachelor's degree--syntax and SLA what uppp) and video games, but of course that list is far from exhaustive because my interest is easily captured by new and shiny things. I'm on tenterhooks waiting to see who the new Chief Justice of the SCC will be (I'm hoping Justice Abella). That's what law school does to you; don't go to law school.
Top 5 Fandoms:
When it comes to creative contributions such as fic, in no specific order:
- Star Wars
- Star Trek AOS -- I'm not super engaged with this fandom anymore but I think it's the one I'm most associated with, fic-wise
- Mass Effect
I am enthusiastic and will talk your face off about a lot of other TV/games/books/etc, but my actual online fandom engagement is more limited to the above things and whatever else I've written fic for in the last 3-4 years.
I mostly post about: I've been on DW since it launched and spurred one of the first major LJ emigrations but haven't posted much since Tumblr killed journaling and my circle turned to crickets. I'd like to try and get back into it. Expect AO3 shares of new fic I write and random posts about whatever media I'm watching, with less frequent, slightly more personal posts about things like life updates/craft projects/complaining about law school and law students and the law. Some of those I lock, depending on their content. I'm also open to discussing my adventures with ADHD.
My last three posts were about: *checks* ...A Star Wars fic, a Six of Crows fic and a roundup of good things that happened to me in 2016.
How often do you post? How about commenting? I've never been a daily poster but I'm going to try to up the ante from twice a year. I'll set a goal for weekly. I respond to comments on my posts and I like to comment on your posts when I have something to say. Comment-thread conversations are one of the things I miss most about journaling.
Freelancer! From the distant future the Factions bring you our Mutant Chronicles Bundle featuring the 2015 Third Edition of Mutant Chronicles, the dieselpunk techno-fantasy RPG of future darkness from Modiphius Entertainment. With its fast-playing, cinematic "2d20" system designed by Jay Little (Star Wars: Edge of the Empire), Mutant Chronicles 3E is a thrill ride across a Solar System beset by megacorporate intrigue and the invasion of a terrible alien force.
"Unfinished Business with the Group Captain"
- Graphic Depictions Of Violence
- Major Character Death
Lena "Venom" Oxton made Winston a promise, one Winston did not like. But Lena Oxton keeps her promises.
This is part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders Overwatch AU continuity, and the linked novella should be read first, both for spoiler avoidance and for context.( In the north of England - November 2074 )
To my great bafflement, it has taken this long for Golden Hill to be released in the US – a multi-award winning highly readable romp through colonial New York, you’d think it’d be obvious, but there you go.
Anyway, here is the main character, Mr. Smith – I roughed these out last year when I read the book, but have only just made them as pretty as I’d like.
Do give Golden Hill a shot if you like
- interesting characters
- meticulous research
- very satisfying historical fix-it fic
Mr Smith is superficially similar to Moist von Lipwig, which made it a little difficult for me to get a grip on the book at first, because I couldn't see into his head as clearly as Moist's (whose internal world is what really sells the book, IMO), but boy oh boy that was totally worth it for the sake of saving the reveal for the end – the sort of reveal that makes the re-read at least as satisfying as the first.
I don't know about you, but I find most of my recreational reading these days ends up being very serious news and commentary about how much of a mess we're in. It's nice to get a break like this and lose yourself in another time and place, without being devoid of meaning.
Supplemental material – including a rather comprehensive catalogue of 18th-century slang – can be found on the book’s Tumblr.
"Turmeric magnificently illustrates the benefit of the great culinary traditions, in comparison to the consumption of isolated substances. When researcher in Taiwan tried treating cancerous tumors with turmeric delivered in capsules, they discovered that it was very poorly absorbed by the digestive system. In fact, when it is not mixed with pepper or ginger -- as it always has been in curry -- turmeric does not pass the intestinal barrier. Pepper increases the body's absorption of Turmeric by 2,000 percent. Indian wisdom has thus been far ahead of modern science in the discovery of natural affinities between foods.
"When I was researching information on my own cancer, I was astonished to find out that even brain tumors such as glioblastomas were more sensitive to chemotherapy when curcumin was prescribed at the same time.
"According to the Aggarwal team in Houston, turmeric's extraordinary effect seems to be due in large part to its capacity to interfere directly with the black knight of cancer we identified in chapter 4, NF-Kappa B, which protects cancer cells against the body's defense mechanisms. The entire pharmaceutical industry is looking for new, nontoxic molecules capable of fighting this mechanism of cancer promotion. It is now known that curcumin is a powerful NF-kappa B antagonist, while over two thousand years of daily use in indian cooking has proved that it is totally innocuous. Turmeric can also be eaten with soy products that replace animal proteins and provide the genistein mentioned above, which detoxifies and helps check angiogenesis. Add a cup of gree tea and imagine the powerful cocktail that, with no side effects, keeps in check three of the principal mechanisms of cancer growth."
- Servan-schreiber, D., Anticancer: A New Way of Life. Viking (2009).
- Carter, A., " "Curry Compound Fights Cncer in the Clinic," Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2008). p. djn141.
- Cheng, A.L., C. H. Hsu, J. K. Lin, et al., "Phase I Clinical Trial of Curcumin, a Chemoprotective Agent, in Patients with High-Risk or Pre-Malignant Lesions," Ancitcancer Research 21, no. 4B (2001): 2895-900
- Shoba, G., D. Joy, T. Joseph, et al., "Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers," Planta Medica 64, no. 4 (1998): 353-56.
- Gao, X., D. Deeb, H. Jiang, et. al., "Curcumin Differentially Sensitizes Malignant Glioma Cells to TRAIL/Apo2L-Mediated Apoptis Through Activation of Prospases and Release of Cytochrome c from Mitichondria," Journal of Experimental Therapeutics & Oncology 5, no. 1 (2005): 39-48.
[This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2003 – MF]
It is hard to image how the traditional kitchen peeler could be substantially improved. Remarkably, the OXO Peeler accomplishes this. Easier to use, vastly more comfortable for long stretches, sharper, and more productive. The OXO Peeler continues to win awards in test kitchens. A superior tool; worth the few extra dollars.
OXO Good Grip Swivel Peeler ($9)
International Amazon link
Available from Amazon
A neighbor introduced me to pie irons a couple years ago, and I was hooked. Now I don’t go camping without them. Pie irons, or hobo pie makers as some call them, are hinged cast iron or aluminum boxes about the size of a sandwich, with a long handle so you can hold it over a campfire.
Before pie irons my family was limited to hot dogs, sausages and other food you could roast on a stick over the fire because I don’t like to deal with washing many pots and pans while camping. Now, we eat gourmet meals that are a snap to put together. You put a filling inside dough — biscuit dough, pizza dough, puff pastry, etc. — and the pie iron crimps the edges while it cooks over the fire, resulting in a delicious, crispy thing that can be eaten with your hands.
We’ve made calzones, apple turnovers, biscuit, and gravy pockets, ham and cheese pockets, and more. The last time we went camping, all of our meals were made in the pie iron. It’s also a quick way to cook vegetables such as zucchini or fry up some sausages. Nothing makes a better grilled cheese. There are a lot of recipes online, but I usually just wing it. When you’re done cooking, cleanup is easy. I usually just wipe it out with a paper towel with a little cooking oil on it, and it’s ready to go for the next time. I bought 2 of the double pie irons for our family of four, and it’s working out fine. If you don’t anticipate having a grate to rest the pie iron on, however, you might opt to go with a smaller pie iron, because the double gets heavy if you have to hold it over the fire. The double also has ridges inside (like a grill), so get the single if you don’t want that.
-- Abbie Stillie
Rome Industries Pie Iron Sandwich Cooker ($17)
International Amazon link
Available from Amazon