A favorite Wisconsin vacation destination is “the Wisconsin North Woods”. From what I can figure out, “the North Woods of Wisconsin” simply refers to anywhere in the northern half of the state which is forested and has a lake in close proximity. Each summer folks load up their cars with kids, recreational gear, a few clothes, and boxes of food staples. They drive north for hours until they arrive at a small, rustic house which they affectionately call their “cottage” or “camp” or “cabin”. It is in this smaller version of home that they will pack a year’s worth of outdoor recreation into three months of long weekends. They’ll flitter like mosquitoes among swimming, boating, water-skiing, hiking, camping, sleeping, reading, card-playing, mini-golf, and horse-shoes. In their urgency to relax, there’s definitely no time to work in the kitchen.
However, the perennial call of the stomach remains. We still gotta’ eat, and eventually chips and roasted wienies lose their allure. Somebody better make some real food because all that outdoor, fresh air is revving up appetites. And because we’re in the North Woods, there is no neighborhood restaurant just down the street, – that was the point of driving all those hours. So who will be in the kitchen, – Mom? Dad? Grandma? teenage kids? Some families share the misery and cook every meal communally. In this case, the party moves inside to the kitchen, and, depending on the people, this could be a good thing, or not. Other families put kitchen duty on a rotational schedule, and meal prep is written on a chore list. This means that the person preparing the meal is not out on the lake, hiking in the woods, or sleeping in the hammock, but instead is alone in the kitchen. Sometimes that somebody in the kitchen is grumbling about it, but no one else is listening because they are all outside having fun. Perhaps that somebody begins to dream of a vacation in which the ravenously hungry family is left back home in the city. Perhaps that somebody left behind in the kitchen is you.
Well, in that case, I’ve written this post for you and better yet, Jerry Minnich has written a whole cookbook filled with North Woods cottage recipes that are fast, easy, and guaranteed to get you out of the kitchen and back on the lake. Click on “Continue reading … for more about Jerry’s ideas on easy cooking in a cottage, camp, or cabin, and for his delicious ham salad recipe which uses up left-over ham and can be made to feed a crowd.