In this week’s Martin & Sylvia: More Adventures! story "Arctic Explorers", Martin and Sylvia become Arctic explorers and have a real Arctic cookout in their backyard. They face a challenge, lighting a fire, but — like real Arctic explorers — they remain undaunted.
Depending on where you live in the world, it may feel like you’ve been transplanted to the Arctic right now, so why not follow Martin and Sylvia’s lead and host an Arctic cookout?
While eating outside may be a more typical summer activity, properly outfitted with cold weather coats, hats, and mittens, a winter cookout is a great way to get out of the house. And with the combination of a fire and early darkness, the food you prepare doesn’t need to be elaborate—even hot dogs and s’mores will feel like a grand adventure.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
How to Host an Arctic Cookout:
Pick a day that’s not too cold. Yes, I know, the idea is to have an “Arctic” cookout, but a case of frostbite is carrying the adventure too far. Look ahead at the weather forecast and try to pick an evening that’s going to at least be above freezing. If you live where it’s really-truly cold and that isn’t possible, have a place for littles to warm up if needed.
Most definitely plan to cook over a fire. A grill would work, but use a fire-pit if you have one. There’s nothing like huddling up with a few people you love and watching the flames flicker in the winter twilight. On that same note, make sure you have enough dry wood or charcoal before you get started. Unless you use wood to heat your home, your summer stores might be soggy with winter snow and rain.
Cook simply. While we like to experiment with grilling whole chickens and all sorts of fiddly foods in the summer, for a winter cookout it’s best to keep it simple and quick. We cooked bratwursts and a few skewers of vegetables. The cooking time was just about as long as my small son’s attention span, so they were perfect.
S’mores. No matter the season, no cookout is complete without them.
Remain undaunted in the face of difficulties, just like Martin and Sylvia. When we had our winter cookout, I forgot to check our woodpile before we got started. (See #2!) Good Girl Scout that I am, I was able to get the fire going with the soggy wood, but it never got hot enough to cook our bratwursts. Nonetheless, we got them charred enough to impart that flame-cooked flavor, and then we all enjoyed the fire while the brats finished cooking in the oven inside.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.