Where Art Meets Survival; Burning Man Provisions

September 5, 2014 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

Embrace sculpture burn

Embrace sculpture burn

That’s right. Miss Partner and I made the trek from the central coast of California to the dusty desert outside Reno, Nevada; Black Rock City, population roughly 70K for one week out of the year, a Mad Maxian landscape complete with Thunderdome, teaming with art cars and art installations. The festival induces a metamorphosis of normal looking people into sparkly, animal printed, post-apocolyptic, sometimes naked, sometimes shirtcocking (I just learned about this), furry, tutu’d beings called Burners, who enjoy an idealistic culture guided by the ten principles of Burning Man for a week.

A ticket costing about 400 USD gets you the following amenities:

A scrap of land on a dry alkaline lake bed
Medical facility (hope you don’t need to visit, but if you must, it is pretty cool!)
2 radio stations
Center Camp, including a post office, bike parking, and a stage

It also provides the following entertainment:

Burning of the Man
Burning of the Temple
All the other participants and whatever they can afford to bring with them

Center Camp

Center Camp

Miss Partner is excited by the challenge of survival in the extremely harsh environment; very dry, sometimes very hot, sometimes very cold, sometimes raining, sometimes 70 mph winds. Mostly this terrifies me. I really dislike the wind. I especially loathe it in dusty environments after spending eight years monitoring breeding endangered species on a central coast dune complex. Just place yourself there; chilly wind coming off the ocean, making your eyes water and chilling any exposed skin, sand scraping any exposed skin and falling into necklines and ear holes and your lunch, the smell of the sea air marred by exhaust, and the calls of birds drowned by the whine and roar of ATVs, UTVs and all other manner of crazy vehicles. At Burning Man, it is sans ocean. The sand is replaced with a fine alkaline dust and the noise becomes diesel engines on art cars and the heartbeat like bass of the house music stage, playing 24-7 in the near distance. We were lucky last year with the weather. This year, it was windier, and we skipped the rain earlier in the week. You’ll be happy to know, MP’s silver dome withstood the 20 mph winds like a champ and did not fall apart like some did. Yeah, girl!

Home sweet dome.

Home sweet dome.

In anticipation of anything that could go wrong, we filled Penelope (Miss Partner’s Mini) with solar panel, air bed, sleeping bags, clothing, food, camp stove and camp cooking utensils, and hooked her up to a 7-foot trailer with pieces for the geodesic dome MP built, the janky dome cover I made (I really did mean to redo it for this year), ladder, step stool, marine battery, swamp cooler, water, ice, etc. It’s like a backpacking trip without the hiking. Pack it in and pack everything out, except for what you leave behind at the porto-johns.

While Miss Partner updated the trailer sides, prepared the new solar panel and inverter system, I prepared the provisions. As there is a no-spill-nothing-on-the-playa policy, the regular camping cleaning procedures are difficult to apply. Water used for washing dishes is limited by the amount of water you have left after you calculate 1.5 gallons per person per day and the amount you can evaporate in a day, because otherwise you have to bring it all home. While we will probably have space, 24 gallons is a lot of water and will take up a lot of space. When Miss Partner first told me this, I replied, “Screw it. I’m not going,” but I did; it wasn’t so bad.

All meals were prepared to be frozen, pre-cut, with no need for pre-heating. It worked out pretty well. Dishes were eaten right of their containers, with a light dusting of playa (because you can’t escape the dust), and the containers were set aside for the dishwasher when we returned home. This year, Miss Partner wanted to do a little more cooking, because it looked like the nights would be much cooler, but they weren’t really. I think she just wanted coffee, because the first year we only had chocolate covered espresso beans; I thought making coffee was too messy.

So, now, the moment you’ve be waiting for; the menu.


Mini Apple Pies!

I have been obsessed with pie forever. A muffin tin is an excellent vehicle for mini pies of all kinds. So far it has given us;

Mini Gruyere Black Trumpet Mushroom Strata
Mini Apple Pies
Mini Gorgonzola Picante (thank you, Fromagerie Sophie) Chantarelle Polenta
–at this point I ran out of butter, and for some of you it may get a little weird–
Chocolate (Apple Sauce) Muffins
Avocado Coconut Muffins
Apple Spice Muffins

The casserole dish has given us the following; pre-cut and packaged in tupperware:

Piquillo pepper, etc. Strata

Piquillo pepper, etc. Strata

Piquillo Pepper Squash Blossom Goat Cheese Strata
White Bean and Hazelnut Blondies (gluten free!)

So (clapping crumbs off hands), that ought to take care of some breakfasts, lunches and desserts. Now the hot meals.

Miss Partner had the forethought a few years ago to purchase a pressure canner. It’s pretty awesome when we run out of freezer space for my made-with-love black beans. Now it shall be used to can the following for our burn;

French Onion Soup
Beef Stew

Other Items:

frozen sausage, bacon, homemade scones, hot chocolate mix, coconut water, beer, wine, mead, cider, MP’s bacon bourbon chocolate chip oat cookies, several varieties of apples, coffee, grilled cheese sandwiches with roasted eggplant

Well, we and our two friends brought more food than we needed. We could probably bring half the amount of food and booze next time. There were a ton of food themed camps and pop-up bars everywhere. We drank so much water, we couldn’t drink much alcohol and barely got drunk the entire Wednesday through Sunday (We like to get there early and leave late to avoid the incredible lines to get on and off the playa). I achieved my goal to eat and gift all the muffins I made, so I have earned the playa name Dusty Muffins (I’m just glad it has nothing to do with fainting). Yes, I realize there is some innuendo there, but hey, that’s part of Burning Man. I gave out muffins to our fantastic Cleu Camp neighbors, people enjoying coffee on the coals of the Man the morning after he burned, random people caught at art installations during a white out on the playa, etc.

So. A different plan next time. Less food and booze. More costumes.


Entry filed under: Baking, Canning. Tags: , , .

Ode to Garrett McCord Frankenstein waffles

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