Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Pinole In One - Trail Foods



After a few weeks where the temperature rose as high as 10c (50F) it’s now dropped down again and is snowing outside. I'n not working this week so my retreat into the classics continues, I’ve been re reading Kephart’s “Camping and Woodcraft’ where I came across this insight do any of you have any experience of it?

Kephart writes: 
Some years ago Mr. T. S. Van Dyke, author of The Still Hunter and other well-known works on fieldsports, published a very practical article on emergency rations in a weekly paper, from which, as it is now buried where few can consult it, I take the liberty of making the following quotation


'La comida del desierto, the food of the desert, or pinole, as it is generally called, knocks the hind sights off all American condensed food. It is the only form in which you can carry an actual weight and bulk of nutriment on which alone one can, if necessary, live continuously for weeks, and even months, without any disorder of stomach or bowels. . . . The principle of pinole is very simple. If you should eat a break- 
fast of corn-meal mush alone, and start out for a hard tramp, you will feel hungry in an hour or two, though at the table the de-wrinkling of your abdomen may have reached the hurting point. But if, instead of distending the meal so much with water and heat, you had simply mixed it in cold water and drunk it,
you could have taken down three times the quantity in one-tenth of the time. You would not feel the difference at your waistband, but you would feel it mightily in your legs, especially if you have a heavy rifle on your back. It works a little on the principle of dried apples, though it is quite an improvement. There is no danger of explosion; it swells to suit the demand, and not too suddenly.

Suppose, now, instead of raw corn-meal, we make it not only drinkable but positively good. This is easily done by parching to a very light brown before grinding, and grinding just fine enough to mix so as to be drinkable, but not pasty, as flour would be. Good wheat is as good as corn, and perhaps better, while the mixture is very good. Common rolled oats browned in a pan in the oven and run through a spice mill is as good and easy to make it out of as anything. A coffee mill may do if it will set fine enough. Ten per cent, of popped com ground in with it will improve the flavor so much that your children will get away with it all if you don't hide it. Wheat and corn are hard to grind, but the small Enterprise spice mill will do it.


You may also mix some ground chocolate with it for flavor, which, with popped corn, makes it very fine. . . . Indigestible? Your granny's nightcap! . . . You must remember that it is "werry fillin' for the price," and go slow with it until you have found your co-efficient. . . .

Now for the application. The Mexican rover of the desert will tie a small sack of pinole behind his saddle and start for a trip of several days. It is the lightest of food, and in the most portable shape, sandproof, bug and fly proof, and everything. Wherever he finds water he stirs a few ounces in a cup (I never weighed it, but four seem about enough at a time for an ordinary man), drinks it in five seconds, and is fed for five or six hours. If he has jerky, he chews that as he jogs along, but if he has not he will go through the longest trip and come out strong and well on pinole alone.'
Shooting and Fishing, Vol. XX, p. 248.

And because there are no new ideas in blogging Stealth Survival has beaten me to it by a month, posting a piece with all the relevant stats about the make-up of this super food. Not that I wish to encourage this sort of thing, but the No Meat Athlete has a bit more info, some useful pictures of the cooking process, showing how to make trail-cakes as well as the drinkable form.
EDIT - Also worth a look is The Ultralighters take on Pinole
Your pal
The Bushwacker

18 comments:

Josh said...

Great post! I love pinole, I am what some (my Nicaraguan mother-in-law) call a 'pinolero'.

All of the atoles are great, and when mixed with the chilies, you get some serious nutrition, too.

On a nice cold day, try some champurrado, and you'll be hooked.

Also, the dried pinole, when mixed with a tiny bit of lime and water, and then pressed flat, makes a great flatbread in which to roll your other foods... also known as a tortilla.

The fresher, the better, too!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Josh
Thanks

I'll let you all know as soon as i've figured out how to make some, all the different types of corn meal are available here but not by their spanish names.

SBW

Dave said...

That sounds great. Thanks for the info. I'm definitely going to have to try that this season.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Dave
Doesn't sound too bad eh?
SBW

CORK GRAHAM said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CORK GRAHAM said...

Hey, SBW --
This offering reminds me too much of my days of starving while along with the Salvadoran Special Forces units on 5-9 day operations during the 1980s. Our supplies were often only a canned refried beans and tamales. Only thing that made them palatable was a squeeze of fresh lime: much more prefer a fresh wild boar roasted Indonesian babi guling style! :)

BTW you mentioned your interest in the pellet gun column, here it is: California Cottontails with a .22 Cal Pellet Gun

Cheers,
Cork

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Hey Cork

I saw your piece about the Crossman, is the barrel shrouded or just very thick?

I really fancy hunting turkey with a .20, sounds very good.

I'll be off to put the Air Arms through it's paces in the next few days

SBW

CORK GRAHAM said...

Hey, SBW --
The barrel is shrouded. Heavy enough to keep on a target, I must say. I have it zeroed for 25 meters.

Can't wait until turkey season starts at the end of March...Until then, this video keeps me going: CA turkey hunting video on Youtube You need to skip past the gobblers coming until the later half of the video to see what the videographer's RWS Diana .22 cal. pellet rifle does....enjoy!

Looking forward to seeing some photos of your Air Arms in action!

Editing the hunting and cooking COTV episodes of the wild boar babi guling hunt now. Will be up on Friday, California time...

Cheers,
Cork
http://corksoutdoors.com/blog/

tenkara said...

This is some good stuff on pinole. I would like to point out that the type of ground corn is pretty important from a nutritional standpoint. I have been led to understand that Masa Harina is the specific type of ground corn that should be used. It has been slaked with lime (nixtamilized) which increases its protein levels dramatically. Corn that has not been thus processed is deficient in nutrients and can even lead to nutritive diseases such as pellagra.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Tenkara

Thanks. This is just the kind of information I hoped to be getting. Thanks for making the effort to comment
SBW

Hubert Hubert said...

I love the way that Mr. T.S. Van Dyke writes! When was Kephart’s book first published do you know?

HH

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

HH
nice new picture now you look more like how you sound on the phone! I'll miss the Setright style beard though.

Kephart? Have a look at this
http://www.wcu.edu/library/digitalcoll/kephart/

SBW

Ken and Joanne said...

tenkara had it exactly right. Masa harina is essentially "sanded corn." Harina--arena." However, the addition of lime is essential. The conquered Indios in Mexico lived on tortillas. With pinto beans to complement the enzymes they could go forever. Here in Arizona, what would we do without tortillas? White-, blue- or yellow-corn torillas, we're good to go. Ken

Josh said...

Coming from California, it never occurred to me to be specific as to what kind of corn flour to use. Yes, use masa. We have a nearby mill that makes great fresh masa, and we are lucky for it.

I'll add to Ken and Joanne's comment that a few different types of chilis (jalapenos being the most common, but arboles and anchos very important, too) will add just about every vitamin you could need.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Thanks so much for this Ken and Josh

Here in old blighty we have a thing called 'corn flour' which is a white very fine flour that acts as a thickening agent or is used to make chinese food like salt and pepper wings. Apart from that its corn on the cob or corn out of the freezer bag or tin which is called 'sweet corn' and is always the yellow kind. I've never seen white corn here. I can buy polenta or something that looks a lot like a finer ground polenta but the label is in Polish and the chick in the shop didn't know how to translate it.

There are a few mexican resturants in london, usually run by english people and very very few mexicans - there is a growing Brazilian community though - do you know the Portuguese names for any of the types of corn?

Cheers guys i can feel my world getting a little bigger
SBW

CORK GRAHAM said...

Hey, SBW --
I think that's what we call "corn starch" in the US...at least that's the corn powder variation used in recipes for thickening sauces, especially Chinese style cuisine.

BTW editing the pig roasting part 2 episode you might enjoy--Indonesian style babi guling. Should be up by tomorrow afternoon. Don't know if you had a chance to watch the part 1 wild boar hunting episode:
Cork's Outdoors TV

Cheers,
Cork

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Cork

I knew you'd have it too, corn starch is a much better description of it.

looking forward to part two

SBW

Matthew Brown said...

Great post, I was wondering what pinole was having recently finished reading Cormac McCarthy's 'Blood Meridian'.