Official Liaison College Blog

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cottage Life - Eating in the Wild

Being invited to my friend Cathie's cottage is always an adventure.  Her cottage is located on an island in the Muskoka region of Ontario.  Beautiful country - the great north - loads of green landscape dotted with rockery and sprinkled with clear lakes.  God's country.


But Cathie has chosen to cottage "off the grid".  Amenities are few and modern conveniences are absent.  Sounds idyllic.  Or not.

When a group of friends, all women ranging from 45 to 60 years of age, gather at the island for a weekend of R & R, sometimes the Relaxation portion is put aside for CHORES.  Living off the grid is not for the faint of heart - there's power to generate and store (no doubt solar power sounds great until you have a week of rainy days), switches to flip and generators to operate.  Making hot water, for example, is a 30 minute ordeal with a few switches and maneouvers.  Definitely not for city slickers who demand instant everything as time is of the essence.  Not on the island - it's island time.

One of the main considerations of any weekend away is the menu - and who's buying the food - who's schlepping the food from the car to the boat and up the stairs - and putting away - and cooking - and cleaning up.  A lot to consider. 

And consider this:  there are a million stairs from the dock to the cottage.  Steep.  And many of them.



you are the human Sherpa.

One of the friends volunteered to do the shopping.  Great!  Off she went with a list and a mission.  Not known by the rest that her main mission was to use the facilities at the local Tim Hortons.  Like I said:  it's rustic.

So what's for dinner when the time comes?  Convenience food makes the day:  a veggie tray; frozen pizzas -- we decide to graze.  The cooking area is limited and no one is well versed enough in cooking in a rustic outdoor kitchen:



BBQ'd toast is actually really good.  And Glenna brought her famous chili dip which I will definitely repeat - in my mind it's the perfect Sunday NFL pre-game snack:

take a package of cream cheese and spread into a baking dish
top with a can of chili (I plan to use my leftover chili which I will freeze in can size batches for this purpose)
and top that with shredded cheese (again perfect placement for leftover cheese ends and bits that get wasted normally)
bake until the shredded cheese melts and voila - instant yummy dip!

(I should mention that by the time Glenna served the dip she had tempted our palates with island cocktails made in her blender - extremely tasty and easy to drink)

A weekend away with friends doesn't have to be gourmet and full of exotic ingredients.  The most important ingredient is the people.  And they are great.