|Charles O. Portfors, c. 1960|
Bannock is a quick flatbread baked in the round. When cut into wedges, the wedges are often called scones. You can read about bannock here.
Grandpa used to talk about making bannock over the campfire when he worked as a timber cruiser around the turn of the century. So, one day Mother took a notepad and pen and interviewed Grandpa as to his method of making bannock.
|Timber cruising years|
In a sack of flour, make an indentation with the palm of your hand. Put a little salt and baking powder into this indentation and stir lightly with index and third fingers. Add a little water and stir again until you can pick up the bannock. (Sometimes, if there is any, a little bacon grease can be added with the water.) Then pat it out into an iron skillet.
Have your campfire hot and hold the skillet over the fire until the bannock begins to brown on the underside. Now, lay a row of sticks across the top of the fire and hold the skillet at an angle beside the fire and close to the ground so that the top of the bannock will bake in the reflected heat.
By giving your arm a slight circular motion and a little twist of the wrist you can slide the bannock around in the skillet so the top will brown evenly.
|C.O. Portfors as a businessman.|
Mother’s note: “At the turn of the century, my dad, C.O. Portfors, was famous for his bannock throughout the Clearwater and St. Joe Forests.”
Once – and this is a story I heard Grandpa tell – he arrived late at a cabin where he would spend the night. It was dark, but he knew where the provisions were, so he made his bannock. It was the best he ever made, he said. In the morning he discovered the flour was contaminated with – well, with rodent droppings. Grandpa told this story at the supper table, much to Mother’s discomfiture. “This story is not table conversation!” she whispered to me, but Grandpa chuckled away at the memory.
I don't think Grandpa cooked much -- not like my dad -- but he prepared simple meals for himself after Grandma passed away. He said that when he and Grandma were married, she "couldn't boil water," and he taught her how to cook. KW