Aluminum Foil is Good!
by Linda A. Wingfield
(Corona, South Dakota, USA)
When I was growing up, our family often ate outdoors. Sometimes it was necessary. Other times it was "just because." One thing was constant. We loved it!
We lived two miles outside of Old Valdez. A few times the winters were hard enough and the snow so heavy, that we had to rent a small apartment in town for a couple of months, if there was one available above Gilson's Mercantile. That way, we kids could still attend school, and Mom and Dad could go to work.
By the time breakup rolled around, we were always ready to get back to our home. Because the ground was usually still pretty muddy and slippery when we decided to get things rounded up to move back for the summer, that we would spend a couple of weekends just cleaning up debris from the winter, and making sure everything was ready once again, for habitation.
That meant that Mom had to take along enough food for a long hard work day, for six people, all of whom seemed to always have voracious appetites. The following "recipes" are two of our favorites to share at the end of a cleanup day, as we gathered around the special outdoor fireplace my dad had built back when we first got our homesite (about 1952). Mom made these up before we left, and they were kept in a tub with ice (in ice chests, in later years).
These days, you'll want to roll out the "barbie," and have a BBQ!
FOIL-WRAPPED ONION BURGERS (for Six)
1 box (2 envelopes) Powdered Onion Soup Mix (any brand--we always used Lipton)
3-4 pounds Ground Beef (or 2 pounds Ground Beef and 1-2 pounds Breakfast Sausage)
12 squares Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
Make 12 meat patties. Lay out six squares of the foil. Center a patty on each square. Sprinkle the powdered onion soup mix equally on each patty. Lay the other six squares of foil on top. Roll the edges UPWARD, all the way around each burger (square or round...it doesn't matter).
When the fire is burned down to good hot coals, lay all of the packets on the grill upside down, and cook for a few minutes only. Then carefully turn the packets over and cook until the juices are sizzling and the aroma makes it impossible to wait any longer.
NOTE: If you cook corn on the cob the same way, it works great, also...yes...go ahead and use the onion soup (or chicken or beef soup powder, if you prefer). Unlike the burgers, which only get turned once, you will want to turn the corn several times--about 1/4-turn each time.
STEW IN A PACKET (for Six)
Enough Stew Meat to feed Six, cut into fairly small chunks
Carrots and Potatoes, cut into fairly small chunks
Other Fresh Garden Veggies, cut into fairly small chunks
(add whatever you like--optional)
Two Envelopes of Some sort of Powdered Soup Mix
12 RECTANGULAR pieces of Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil (about 12" long)
Lay out six of the foil rectangles. Pile everything else on the foil, evenly distributed. Meat goes on the bottom, then the veggies, then the powdered soup mix.
Lay the other six foil rectangles on top of the stew fixings. Roll the edges together UPWARD.
When the coals are ready, place the foil packets on the grill. These do NOT get turned. Be sure they are far enough away from the fire so they don't scorch the meat on the bottom. They need to cook about 1/2-hour, so the fire should be tended and stirred, and the grill raised or lowered as necessary.
When done, eat! Enjoy!
ANOTHER NOTE: Both of these recipes can be cooked in your oven, but be sure you have a good drip pan under the packets, because they will sizzle out at least some of the juices, no matter how well you seal the packets.