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