He was going to be outside all day doing yard work and could keep an eye on the fire and the soup in the dutch oven. He opted to make split pea and ham soup.The Colonel used wood from an old orange tree for his fire. He kept the fire low and slow and it took about an hour for the soup to come to a gentle boil. He would stir the soup between yard work tasks as well as add more wood when needed.
He tended the soup and fire for about 5 hours. A few times I went outside to see how things were going and to help stir the soup, and when I did, it struck me how work intensive it would have been for pioneer women to cook and care for their families.
I thought about the women having to build and maintain a fire all day long for cooking and washing. They would also be busy with all of the other chores they had to do on a daily basis, all the while, having to keep an eye on the little ones (as well as looking out for unfriendly Indians and wild animals). Thinking this made me glad I was born when I was, that I have a microwave, and that I have a man who can and does cook for me.
I baked cornbread muffins inside, in my counter top oven (I can't even fathom baking anything in an outdoor fire...yet). The muffins went perfectly with The Colonel's split pea soup.
The Colonel, Yam and I ate our delicious split pea soup dinner at the fire's side with the aromatic woodsmoke smell surrounding us. I love that smell. I don't know anyone who doesn't like the smell of woodsmoke...it must be something primal that has been bred into us throughout the years from our ancestors, beginning with the cavemen (once they discovered fire).