You know you’re bored when …

The Compass - - OPINION - Bur­ton K. Janes bur­

You know you’re bored when you read recipe books for plea­sure.

I en­joy eat­ing a hearty meal of Jiggs’ Din­ner. Hav­ing said this, I re­al­ize this del­i­cacy means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple.

In many places, it typ­i­cally con­sists of salt beef (or ri­blets), boiled pota­toes, car­rots, cab­bage, turnip, turnip greens (in sea­son), bread pud­ding, dress­ing, pease pud­ding, and a cooked tur­key, chicken or beef roast. Condi­ments in­clude mus­tard pick­les and bot­tled beets (prefer­ably home­made), cran­berry sauce and but­ter.

That, to me, is not Jiggs’ Din­ner, but merely a typ­i­cal Sun­day din­ner.

My Jiggs’ Din­ner is made up of salt beef, pota­toes, car­rots, cab­bage, turnip, parsnip, pease pud­ding, turnip greens and, some­times, brussels sprouts. That’s it. Noth­ing more, noth­ing less. Though a di­a­betic, I oc­ca­sion­ally “mang” to­gether this am­brosial de­light.

Re­cently my brother told me about one time in par­tic­u­lar when he cooked pease pud­ding with his Jiggs’ Din­ner. He used the tra­di­tional pud­ding bag and, for some strange rea­son, two pack­ages of split peas, when three quar­ters of a cup would have suf­ficed. Which is why it is not at all sur­pris­ing that, at some point, his boiler of veg­eta­bles ex­ploded with a “snap, crackle and pop” as the peas ex­panded be­yond the abil­ity of the bag to hold them. The pot cover was the only thing hold­ing back the pease pud­ding from re­paint­ing the kitchen ceil­ing a dull yel­low.

I thought my brother, who is my se­nior, would have known bet­ter.

My thoughts about Jiggs’ Din­ner and pease pud­ding per­co­lated while read­ing a de­light­ful lit­tle book, “Camp and Cottage Cook­book,” writ­ten by Tonya Hughes.

Ac­cord­ing to the pub­lisher’s blurb, “This book con­tains the es­sen­tial in­for­ma­tion you will need to pro­vide your fam­ily and friends with the fun, tasty and easy-to-make meals they know and love while en­joy­ing their home away from home.

“In ad­di­tion to many quick and easy recipes that cover all the food groups and ev­ery meal of your day, this handy camp­ground and cottage cook­ing guide in­cludes step-by-step in­struc­tions on how to make de­li­cious foods that are nu­tri­tion­ally sound; tips on how to pre­serve your meats; ad­vice on max­i­miz­ing your cooler space; and lists of the best tools to bring on your trip.”

My in­ter­est was piqued as soon as I came to the chap­ter en­ti­tled “Su­per Sim­mered Sup­pers,” which in­cludes “hot and hearty stews, chilies, cur­ries and soups (which) make for a fan­tas­tic com­plete meal, usu­ally in just one pot.” For ex­am­ple, there’s veg­e­tar­ian curry, stout stew with herb dumplings, rich and creamy sir­loin curry, and clam chow­der.

But the sec­tion which got my undi- vided at­ten­tion were Hughes’ two pages of re­flec­tions on Jiggs’ Din­ner with pease pud­ding. I was in culi­nary heaven.

“Okay,” she says, “so this will take much more than an hour to pre­pare, but I have to pay homage to my home­land. A ‘boil-up’ in the coun­try is a tra­di­tional New­found­land ex­pe­ri­ence. For me it was, and still is, a Labour Day tradition. The meal al­ways con­sists of Jiggs’ Din­ner with pease pud­ding, tea and an as­sort­ment of squares and cook­ies carted from home.”

One “spe­cial piece of equip­ment” — a pud­ding bag — “is needed for the pud­ding … It is es­sen­tially a tightly wo­ven cot­ton bag with a draw­string.”

Ac­tu­ally, the more cre­ative cook “can make one up in a pinch by plac­ing the peas in the mid­dle of a clean square white dish­cloth or tea towel, bundling it up loosely, and ty­ing it closed with a bit of string.”

Hughes in­ten­tion­ally chooses the word “loosely.” Her rea­son? “To en­sure the pud­ding doesn’t squeeze out through the fab­ric and there is suf­fi­cient room in the bun­dle to al­low for the ex­pan­sion of the peas as they cook.”

At this point, you may wish to reread my brother’s cau­tion­ary tale re­lated ear­lier in the present col­umn.

The au­thor then gives the ac­tual recipe, which in­cludes the fol­low­ing in­gre­di­ents: salt beef, dry split peas, car­rots, parsnips, pota­toes, turnip, turnip greens and cab­bage.

Now, there’s my ver­sion of Jiggs’ Din­ner.

For those read­ers who pre­fer a wider va­ri­ety of dishes, Hughes de­votes in­di­vid­ual chap­ters to break­fast, pasta as your friend, frying-pan dinners, dinners to im­press your neigh­bours, frying- pan breads, desserts and hot drinks. There are even chap­ters on the phi­los­o­phy of camp food, equip­ment and food safety.

The “Camp and Cottage Cook­book” is pub­lished by Flanker of St. John’s.

Bur­ton K. Janes lives in Bay Roberts. His col­umn ap­pears in The Com­pass ev­ery week.

He can be reached at­bur­

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