Seems like just yesterday we were in Winthrop running the Sunflower. We like it so much that we recently went back with friends. We don’t travel with friends often. We like our friends too much to inflict ourselves on them. Here are a few things we learned from the experience:
1. If the guy renting you the paddle boat says it’s too windy to go out far on Patterson Lake, you should listen. He’s the expert. You’re a city slicker who’s about to discover how darned hard it is to paddle boat into strong currents. In the midday sun. With two whiny eleven-year-olds in the back, who, it turns out, were wise beyond their years when they told you not to go out so far.
And if said boat rental guy motors out to see if you’re okay, don’t let your pride get in the way of accepting a tow back to shore. Injured muscles or injured pride. You decide.
2. Girls will be girls. They will buy fake mustaches from the camp general store and romp through the campground like a hirsute band of biker babettes.
3. Food cooked on an open fire is overrated. If you were camp cook for a wagon train of pioneers, they’d all starve:
I’d have eaten coon before I’d eat that. Or the hot dogs we found littered in an open field.
But more on country gravy, and how to actually make it work, in another post.
4. Take a game the grownups can enjoy while the kids play after dinner. We brought Bananagrams. But don’t quit playing if Nacho Man claims he’s won. He makes up words.
Sadly, he doesn’t always realize they’re made up words.
5. And finally, pack a meal for the long drive. Try something different:
I’ve eaten Spam lots of different ways, thanks to my dad, but never with rice and yaki nori. A good friend taught me how to make this. Although we didn’t see it when we were in Maui, my friend says it’s big in Hawaii for its flavor and portability. Apparently you can buy it at convenience stores. I think it’s amazing the foods you can buy in convenience stores there. Like samosas in London.
This is fast, easy, and different than peanut butter slapped onto bread. You need 3 cups of cooked short grain rice. I mixed 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl, then gently mixed it into my cooked rice with a rice paddle.
Crack open a can of Spam. I have Spam Lite–yes, it’s an oxymoron. Find a way to release the Spam from its container. It’s suctioned in there pretty tight. Slice it into 8 equal slices and fry each side in about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium heat for a few minutes. Remove from the pan.
Mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl and pour it into the pan. Return the Spam to the pan and flip each side in the mixture. Remove from heat.
Open a package of roasted seaweed, or yaki nori. You won’t use all of it for this recipe, but the rest can be sealed in a Ziploc bag and kept in the pantry.
Lay the yaki nori on a clean cutting board. If you have a Spam musubi rice mold, which my friend happened to pick up for me at our local Uwajimaya grocery store, use it as a guide for cutting the yaki nori to width. This mold is the exact size for a piece of sliced Spam. Who’d have thought that Spam would generate a set of specialty kitchen tools?
Place the mold in the middle of the sliced yaki nori.
1 can of Spam or Spam Lite
3 cups cooked short grain white rice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
vegetable oil for frying
1. Prepare the rice. Mix 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl and gently mix into the cooked rice with a rice paddle.
2. Slice the Spam into 8 equal pieces. Fry in about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium heat for a few minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from pan.
3. Mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce with 1 tablespoon sugar. Add to pan and return Spam slices, turning to coat both sides evenly. Remove from heat.
4. Trim yaki nori to match the size of Spam musubi mold. Place mold in the center of the trimmed yaki nori.
5. Add enough rice to half fill the mold. Use a rice paddle to carefully tuck it into each corner of the mold.
6. Add 1 slice of Spam.
7. Cover with rice.
8. Press the lid of the mold on the rice to compress the rice a bit. Then, carefully lift the mold while holding the lid into place.
9. Tuck the bottom, then top, of the yaki nori over the rice and Spam. Flip over so the seam is on the bottom.
10. Eat immediately, or wrap individually in plastic and refrigerate. These taste best if eaten within a day.