On Laying a Good Cooking Fire

Every word of this applies to how an outdoor fire affects my mindset, but tying the likely-Muslim Arabian Nights to frying bacon probably wasn’t the strongest metaphor Daniel could have used.

No matter where the old camper may be, no matter how long a time may have elapsed since last he slept in the open, no matter how high or low a social or official position he may now occupy, it takes but one whiff of the smoke of an open fire, or one whiff of the aroma of frying bacon to send him back again to the lone trail. In imagination he will once more be hovering over his little camp-fire in the desert, under the shade of the gloomy pines, mid the snows of Alaska, in the slide rock of the Rockies or mid the pitch pines of the Alleghenies, as the case may be.

That faint hint in the air of burning firewood or the delicious odor of the bacon, for the moment, will not only wipe from his vision his desk, his papers, and his office furniture, but also all the artificialities of life. Even the clicking of the typewriter will turn into the sound of clicking hoofs, the streets will become canyons, and the noise of traffic the roar of the mountain torrent!

There is no use talking about it, there is no use arguing about it, there is witchcraft in the smell of the open fire, and all the mysteries and magic of the Arabian Nights dwell in the odor of frying bacon.

The Book of CAMP-LORE and WOOD CRAFT, D.C. Beard, 1910 (from the how to lay a good cooking fire chapter)


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