Posts tagged #Bradford Angier

Tips from the Archive #007

Bradford Aniger - How To Stay Alive In The Woods, 1956

Bradford Aniger - How To Stay Alive In The Woods, 1956

A tip from Bradford Angier, one of the godfathers of outdoor writing. This  is from "How to Stay Alive in the Woods" first written in 1956, it is common knowledge how to use a watch to find north, but if we reverse the principle it is also possible to set your watch by using a compass.

Tip 007 – Setting Your Watch Using A Compass.

If we are in the United States or Canada and want to set a watch, let us ascertain by compass which way is due south. Then using the shadow to help us keep the hour hand of the watch pointed at the sun, let us turn the hour hand until south lies midway along the shorter arc between it and the numeral twelve. The watch will then be set within a few minutes of the correct local standard time.
— Bradford Aniger - How To Stay Alive In The Woods, 1956


Cooking Bannock

Cooking Bannock

Living in a city (a small one none the less) I rarely get chance to have a fire and it just didn't feel right making my first bannock without one. Fortunately I was invited to New Hampshire to make maple syrup. This was the perfect excuse to try out my frying pan bread skills.

Bannock is an easy to make, no nonsense bread. Although it has Scottish roots it was also a favorite among native Americans as well as hikers, woodsmen and outdoors types. I came across a great number of recipes online and in various publications, they all have a similar base with other flourishes. The most detailed documentation was in Bradford Angier's "Home in Your Pack."

Angier's basic recipe and his method are as follows.

One cup flour
One teaspoon baking powder
One fourth teaspoon salt

Mix these dry ingredient if starting from scratch, taking all the time you need to do this thoroughly. Have the hands floured and everything ready to go before you add liquid. Make sure your frying pan is warm and greased.

Working quickly from now on, stir in enough water to make a firm dough. Shape this, with as little handling as possible, into a cake about an inch thick.

Lay the bannock in the warm frying pan. Hold it over the heat until the bottom crust forms, rotating the pan a little so the loaf will shift and not become stuck.

Once the dough has hardened enough to hold together, you can turn the bannock. This, if you’ve practiced a bit and have the confidence to flip strongly enough, can easily be accomplished with a slight swing of the arm and a snap of the wrist. Or you can use one of the plate from your cooking outfit, sliding the bannock onto this and reversing the frypan over the plate and turning both together.

When is the bannock done? After you’ve been cooking for them a while, you will be able to tap on one and gauge this by the hollowness of the sound. Meanwhile test by shoving in a clean straw or sliver. If any dough adheres, the loaf needs more heat. Cooking can be accomplished in about 15 minutes.
— Bradford Angier - Home in Your Pack, 1965

I made a double batch and also added: fresh blueberries, 3 tablespoons of butter and an extra pinch of baking powder. These are all Angier's recommendations for a tastier loaf.

Bannock Ready To Eat

Bannock Ready To Eat

I cooked exactly as advised and the results were fantastic. Crusty and toasted on the outside, fluffy in the middle with small blueberry explosions. Awesome with a little butter and some maple syrup. Looking forward to experimenting with different flavors. Cheese and olive spring to mind.

Posted on February 28, 2012 and filed under Recipe.

Treeless Maple Syrup - The Results

Treeless Maple Syrup Testing

Treeless Maple Syrup Testing

So the verdict is in. A few weeks ago I went about creating "Treeless Maple Syrup" - this was a recipe of Bradford Angier's that I found in “Taming the Wilds.”  As advised I left it to mature and this morning the frying pan went on and the secret pancake mix was made up.

The syrup had taken a strange turn, the sugar all sank and solidified leaving a strange coloured liquid on top. I gave it a good mix and it became thick and caramel like. Once on the pancakes it was actually surprisingly good. A little gritty and extremely sweet, without any hint of potato. My fellow diners both found it "passable, with a weird texture" I was very happy the results. It doesn't really shine a light on maple syrup but a servicable replacement if you cant get hold of the real stuff.

Maple syrup season is nearly upon us and we have been invited to a syrup cook-out in New Hampshire, so my maple syrup adventure continues.

Posted on December 5, 2011 and filed under Recipe.

Tea Chronicles Pt. 2 - Bradford Angier

Bradford Angier - Home In Your Pack, 1965

Bradford Angier - Home In Your Pack, 1965

Although not a self confessed tea lover Bradford Angier did sing its praises highly and took enjoyment in the ritual. In "Home in your pack," published 1965,  he descibes his tea needs simply.

Tea is something I’ve long preferred to carry in the usual form, if only for the pleasant rite of tossing a handful of palm-measured leaves into the bubbling kettle.
— Bradford Angier - Home In Your Pack, 1965

Angier also goes into some detail about the place tea holds for many a northern woodsman.

The northern woodsman, particularly the Canadian, must sip his steaming cup of tea at noon, even if he has nothing to eat. This is almost a religion up under the Aurora Borealis, it’s called “b’iling the kittle.” Only a temporary fire is needed, a mere handful of dry wood that will flare briefly and as quick fall to ashes, a few specks of which invariably seem to swirl up to float unheeded in the dark brew. Get the water bubbling. Drop in a roughly measured tea spoon of tea for every cup of water and set immediately from the heat in a safe place. Five minutes steeping is sufficient.
— Bradford Angier - Home In Your Pack, 1965

I think that Angier paints a vivid picture of the ritual and while today a fire might not always be appropriate and tea bags may be favoured the tradition lives on.  Angier was a great and prolific writer, all of his books are worth a look if you can find them.

Posted on November 20, 2011 and filed under Tea.

Treeless Maple Syrup

Treeless Maple Syrup from Taming the Wilds

Treeless Maple Syrup from Taming the Wilds

After pack weight, trail food would have to be one of the most talked about hiking subjects. I am fascinated by the creative recipes written in older hiking books. The most interesting come from a time before commercial hiking food, when hikers managed with some fresh produce and dry staples, adding to their larder by hunting and gathering. Most recipes are fairly predictable rabbit stew, fish, beans and breads.

There is one recipe, however, that stuck in my head more than any other. Treeless Maple Syrup from Bradford Angier's 1967 publication "Taming the Wilds."

Finished Syrup

Finished Syrup

This recipe is for those living outside the North East who do not have access to maple trees.

6 medium potatoes 2 cups water 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup white sugar

Peel the potatoes. Boil uncovered with 2 cups of water until one cup of fluid remains. Remove the potatoes and use any way you want. Stirring the liquid until the boiling point has been once again reached, slowly add the sugar. Once this has entirely dissolved set the pan off the heat to cool slowly.
— Bradford Angier - Taming the Wilds, 1967

It can then be bottled.

Being a newcomer to New England, and not having had the chance to make my own maple syrup yet, I thought I would give it a try. I'd love to report it was incredible but as per Angier's instructions I am leaving it to mature. An initial tasting was accurate to Angier's prediction, realising my "worst fears" flavour wise. He advised placing it in a dark place for several days the results of which he promises will be surprising. I shall report back once ready.

UPDATE: Results are in.

Posted on November 13, 2011 and filed under Books, Recipe.