A LONELY Easter was our lot this year, by choice and compulsion. The younguns wanted us to come, and neighbors bade us, but Easter dawned wet and miserable, and a generous quagmire had rendered ingress and egress useless in our transportation lexicon. This was a whopper quagmire. Our driveway, between the state road and our splendid mansion o'erlooking the Atlantic, is not paved, so with winter's breakup each spring we have what is called a lully. "We were smart to stay home this time!" she opined, and I
A few days before this past Easter I had said, " `Member the Easter we went skiing at Sugarloaf?" "Never forget it," she made reply. "Best skiing we ever had!" Since neither of us has ever been on skis, an explanation follows: The children were home from college at Easter break, and each had brought friends until our house was loaded. A desire to go skiing was expressed, and off we went to Sugarloaf in a sunrise departure - station wagon and farm pickup, people, skis, picnic gear, and all.
We were at the slope early enough to get the first parking spaces below the go-up, and while all went up Mom and I opened our books to bide. A warm spring sun slanted with promise of a beautiful day, and probably a busy mountain.
This was so. Shortly all manner of folks came by on their way up, not yet attached to their runners, jolly and eager.
So time passed and at 10 o'clock I closed my book and went aft to open the station-wagon tailgate and prepare our Easter feast. Traditional ham and eggs, but in deference to the wild land situation, I planned on Camp Fried Potatoes.
Camp Fried Potatoes are rightly made on an open fire away from it all, and Sugarloaf Mountain is close enough. I had a Coleman gasoline stove, which I had loaded and pumped, and I laid on our Camp Fried Potatoes frypan, which has a diameter of 24 inches. This takes two burners.
Now pay attention, all, because I'm about to tell you how you, too, can have Camp Fried Potatoes and make the world rejoice on Easter. I can't tell you how much of everything to use, because I don't know how many you'll feed and how hungry they'll be, but try this:
One pound of sliced bacon, cut into small bits. Start on a slow flame, and keep covered - use a cover throughout. Don't let the bacon begin to crisp, but as soon as there is sufficient fat, dump in a slather of onions, chopped fine. Stir a bit, clap on cover, and return to book.
That Easter morning at Sugarloaf, she looked up from her story after a bit to say, "Beginning to smell some old goo-ood!" That's how you tell. So I returned to the tailgate and began with the potatoes. I like to start with raw potatoes, which need longer cooking, but cold baked or boiled potatoes are also tasty and take less time. Peel and slice enough, and dump 'em in with the bacon and onions, clap on the cover and return to book. That's it, except that Camp Fried Potatoes need to stew under that cover
a goodly time. They aren't really "fried" until the last few minutes when you remove the cover and brown 'em and flip 'em about. You time this so the potatoes are glabrous when the ham and eggs (with a slap of rutabaga) are in the same propitious condition. Hot buttermilk biscuits or a half-acre of johnny cakes will do no great harm. There is no need to call folks to eat - they'll be standing with plates ready long since.
Now lay this by and give it a try next Easter.
It's the smell of the Camp Fried Potatoes that summons the clan. That Easter noontide at Sugarloaf Mountain, the skiers began coming off the slopes for lunch, rosy-cheeked and exuberant, and as they approached our station wagon they straightened up to sniff - then each walked past in full grin, paces quickened with dining tables in mind. Our young ones came along too, and showed no appreciable reluctance to don what we Mainers know uncothly as the nose bag. And we heard later, from reliable sources, that
the restaurants and hotels of the area, from Farmington clear'n up to Lake Megantic in Quebec, ran out of food that day. Everybody on Sugarloaf Mountain came down famished, hunger teased by the whiff of onions that hung over the township well into August.
So I made us some Camp Fried Potatoes this past Easter; quagmired in lonely isolation, we made out just dandy.