it All Started
An author's dream becomes reality
©Outdoor Adventure Canada
I knew from the time I was
a young girl that I would one day write a book. I never
expected that it would be two books on cooking for wilderness
trips, nor could I have fathomed that it would change
My books started as the mere
spark of an idea on a wilderness canoe trip with a lady
named Christine. She had written a few books on cooking
for backpackers and the two of us discussed food quite
a bit on that trip. More than once, she said that I should
write a cookbook. After we returned home, she kept encouraging
me to approach a publisher. So, I wrote the coursework
for a wilderness cooking class, and started teaching that
online, hoping that she would give up on the idea of my
writing a cookbook. She didn't. Some time passed and I
decided that maybe I should write a book after all and
I wrote the proposal to submit to publishers. That's as
far as I got. Why? Simply, I chickened out. My desire
to write was overshadowed by an inane fear of rejection.
Admittedly, getting to the
point of being published wasn't exactly my decision but
one that fell into place by a small series of events.
Fate? Maybe. I would never have had the courage to submit
that proposal had it not been for a lady named Roslyn.
I was chatting about dehydrating trail food in an online
hiking discussion forum that I had just joined. Roslyn
emailed me directly to ask if I had thought about writing
a cookbook and said that she figured I had to be well
versed in the subject because of my little cooking course
and the fact that I seemed to really know my way around
a food dehydrator. Roslyn was the Publishing Manager at
Wilderness Press and I told her I wasn't interested.
Yes, you read that right.
I turned down a very well respected publisher who had
just offered to make my dream of being a writer a realitywithout
the risk of rejection. And I said no. Don't ask what I
was thinking because I'm not exactly sure. I had closed
the door an opportunity that had come knocking. I regretted
it in that smack-on-the-forehead kind of way. I came to
my senses and a few months later I submitted my proposal
to Roslyn. Two years later, in early 2008, A Fork in
the Trail became a reality and hit the bookstore shelves.
The book wasn't out a month
when I asked Roslyn if I could submit a second proposal,
this one for a vegan and vegetarian sequel to the first
book. She told me that we would have to wait to see how
the first book did and only then we could talk about a
second book. Seriously? I had to wait? But I wanted to
write. I was going through some sort of post-writing funk
that left me feeling a little lost. So, I started to work
on some recipes, just in case. I had a passion for this
that was seeming a little hard to quench.
A Fork in the Trail was
doing well since its release earlier in the year and on
the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I got the word that
Press would be interested in publishing the second title
with me. How fitting that I was standing in Algonquin
Provincial Park, next to a campfire, when the email came
across my new BlackBerry. I was so excited... much like
a youngster on Christmas Eve.
After some discussion, Roslyn
and I decided that it shouldn't just be vegan and vegetarian
but that the needs of the gluten-free backpackers and
paddlers should be addressed. It would be a first in a
backcountry cookbook. It would be a challenge and one
that I took head on.
Another Fork in the Trail
took much longer to complete than I had anticipated, not
because of the complexity of the subject matter, but because
my life got in the way. Life certainly has a way of doing
that when you least expect it, but with hard work and
determination, I made it through.
Now here we are here in 2011
and my second book was just released in the Spring. Both
of my books are published by Wilderness Press (Keen Communication)
in the USA and by Touchwood Editions (Heritage House)
I don't know if it was a matter
of luck or destiny, or merely Roslyn's faith in my abilities,
that brought me here, but writing has changed my life.
It has given me a confidence I never knew I had, it has
given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people,
to learn about their adventures, and in turn I've been
able to share my passion for great wilderness meals. For
more information please visit the website for A
Fork in the Trail.
Speaking of sharing
here are a few recipes that will appear in Another
Fork in the Trail this spring.
Carrot Cake Quinoa Flakes
© 2010 Laurie Ann March
Dehydration Time: 5-7 hours
Makes 2 servings
This hot cereal recipe
has the comforting flavor of carrot cake and the gentle
flavor of green tea combined with the protein-packed nutrition
of quinoa flakes. If you like, you can substitute oats
for the quinoa, however, if you lead a gluten-free lifestyle
ensure that the oats are packaged in a gluten-free facility.
I usually rehydrate the carrots and raisins while I have
my first cup of tea.
3 tablespoons carrots, dehydrated
2 teaspoons gunpowder green tea, ground measurement
2/3 cup quinoa flakes
2 to 3 tablespoons powdered soy milk
2 tablespoons sultana raisins
2 teaspoons maple or brown sugar to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon shredded sweetened coconut (optional)
1 1/2 to 2 cups water
Grate a carrot on the fine side of a box grater and dry
on lined dehydrator trays for 5 to 7 hours or until dry
and leathery. Grind the green tea to a fine powder in
a spice grinder. Place the quinoa flakes in a medium ziplock
freezer bag with the green tea and soy milk powder. Put
the raisins and dried carrots in a ziplock freezer bag
and place that bag in with the quinoa flakes. Mix the
spices and sugar together and wrap in a small piece of
plastic wrap. Then do the same with the nuts, and coconut
if you are using them. Put the bundles in the bag with
the quinoa flakes.
Remove the bundles from the bag of quinoa flakes and set
aside. Add enough boiling water to the carrots and raisins
to barely cover them and let rehydrate for 10 to 15 minutes.
When the carrots have rehydrated, boil 1 1/2 to 2 cups
of water depending on the desired consistency. Add the
quinoa flakes, spice and sugar mixture, carrots and the
raisins to the pot, cover, and let sit for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the nuts and coconut if you are using them. Divide
into 2 servings.
I like to grate several carrots when making this recipe.
That way I have extra for this, soup and trail salads.
If you don't have a spice
grinder just use an inexpensive coffee grinder and dedicate
it to grinding spices.
To save time in the morning,
start rehydrating the carrots and raisins the night before
using cool water and a leak proof container.
Date, Pecan, Blueberry, and Ginger Bars
© 2010 Laurie Ann March
Makes 8 to 10 bars
The first time I made date bars was when I was a young
girl taking a 4-H outdoor living course. As an adult,
I wanted to add a little something to the recipe and I've
always loved candied ginger. It gives these a nice bite,
which livens the tastebuds.
1 cup dates such as
medjool or honey dates
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/8 cup candied ginger, chopped
Pulse the dates in a food processor until you have a thick
paste. Toast the pecans, if desired, in a dry non-stick
frying pan over medium heat just until they start to become
fragrant. Be careful that you do not burn them. Add to
the dates and pulse to chop the nuts. Remove the container
from the food processor and take out the blade. Stir in
the dried blueberries and candied ginger. Line a square
baking pan with plastic wrap and press the mixture firmly
into the pan. Refrigerate for an hour and then turn out
onto a cutting board. Remove the wrap and cut into 8 to
10 bars. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap and reshape by
pressing each side on a flat surface if desired.
Wipe your knife with a hot
water soaked paper towel between cuts to prevent it from
sticking. You can reuse the piece of wrap you lined the
pan with to wrap your bars.
by Laurie March