5 bad-but-good things about field work

No food that you can’t cook by adding boiling water or wrapping it in aluminum foil and sticking it in a campfire. On the one hand, you’d be surprised what turns out to be delicious wrapped in foil and cooked in a campfire—mushrooms, tomatoes, peaches, spinach—and you get to eat a lot of s’mores and Nutella.* And you gain a real, passionate appreciation for kitchen-cooked food; my field assistants and I can spend hours rhapsodizing about the food we wish we were eating. On the other hand, we make ourselves desperately hungry for pesto and pizza and Homeroom mac&cheese, and then have to eat dehydrated black bean soup. And the food appreciation never seems to last long enough for us to appreciate it when we actually have kitchens. Case in point: I’m at home now, capable of making all sorts of delicious things that I’ve craved while in the field, and I’m having a root beer float for breakfast.

*Unless you’re doing really serious, backpacking-type field work, in which case no fresh fruits or Nutella for you! Dehydrated soup all day, every day. That’s pretty rough.

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