This month, it feels like my social media feeds are full of politics and dieting. It’s January! I sometimes chuckle over the arguments about cave-man diets, paleo, and primal food. Are we cooking this “primal food” in a microwave? Regardless of what you’re eating, nothing is more primal than putting food on a stick and cooking it over a fire. That is primal food. Who could say it better than Alice Waters?
“To grill over an open fire is to cook at the most primal level. There is a universal magic in fire that transforms food as it grills. For me and many other cooks, grilling is our favorite way to cook. Grilling is nothing like cooking on stovetop or in a gas or electric oven: there’s an unpredictability to it, a wild side, an immediacy that sets it apart… Cooks who love to grill have an instinctive attraction to the fire, where it’s warm and sociable and where we can smell the food cooking; we have a built-in need to poke at coals and take in the perfume of smoke and the visual sizzle of the action on the grill” (The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution).
Primal Food Magic
Cooking with fire is part of our human heritage. People gather around fire, poke at it, stir the coals, add wood. Whether you roast an all-American hotdog or a veggie kabob, wood-fired food tastes better. You decide the degree of sizzle, blister, browning. You govern how you like it. Taking stick in hand, skewering food, and holding it over a flame means you see, smell, and hear what you’re cooking. Your senses are activated, and that’s a big part of why the food roasted on a stick tastes so good.
My Kind of Fast Food
Cooking your own food over a wood fire is easy. In fact, wood-fired-food-on-a-stick is the ultimate fast food. It’s instant gratification old-world style. That’s why I keep roasting sticks close by my oven. Having a party? Put out a platter with pieces of sausage, veggies, or bread. Guests can grab a stick and cook their own appetizers. What’s for dinner? Most kids find veggies, fruit, and whatever protein you have in the frig much more exciting when they get to skewer it and roast it in a fire.
Primal Food Tools
Good roasting sticks are long enough to give folks the fun of roasting without being burned. Initially we made our own roasting sticks, but it’s simpler for me to buy ones like the Brinkmann Roasting Stick or the Camp Chef Roasting Forks.
Fool-proof Primal Food
Keep it simple. Food on a stick should be fun.
- Put a brick in front of your fire for a place to rest your stick.
- Keep pieces small.
- Preseason food with salt and olive oil.
- Use separate skewers for meat and veggies.
- Consider cooking time (group foods that cook at the same speed).
- Don’t over-crowd.
Gateway to Wood-fired Flavor
We’re passionate about cooking with wood. Skewered food over a fire is the easiest path to experiencing the magic of this kind of cooking. Gather around a fire with friends and start enjoying fantastic food you’ve prepared yourself.