It’s always been a clear and present danger that while cooking outside you risk the chance of having extra unwanted flavours added into your food. You may not know what I mean unless you’ve had this happen to you but in the past the aim of low flying birds has improved and one inch from the pan is the difference between eating beef stew or beef stew surprise. Maybe the birds are just giving their appraisal of my cooking?
“God’s wrath and the flying critics”
Obviously pan lids are an essential part of my arsenal and should always be used to protect your food. It was while I thought about this and getting soaked in a sudden downpour leaving my food looking more like an unappetizing soup that I thought it was time I looked for some new gear to protect the cooking area from God’s wrath and the flying critics.
I’d thought about the two optional extensions you can purchase for my Coleman’s cabin 6XL tent but it seemed overkill at £299 each and I never cook inside the tent due to the dangers of CO2 poisoning (See previous article – The Silent Killer). That’s when I turned to a cheaper option for protection against the rain, wind and bird strike.
Here in the UK a good size Tarp (enough to fit six people under) will cost you just over £100. Which is frustrating considering what it is. A waterproof sheet. So looking abroad I found a company in the Netherlands called Obelink which stocked a EuroTrail Tarp Morgan (14.44 x 14.44 x 7 feet weighing in at 3.1kg ), for the low, low price of £32.70. It took two days to arrive and I couldn’t wait to set it up in one half of my slightly neglected garden. Snow however postponed my excitement . Left feeling frustrated, I had to wait another week to set it up. I wasn’t disappointed and neither was my six-year-old son who helped me set it up.
It came all in one bag and inside it contained a peg bag with six pegs (although I will replace these with rock pegs later) and two end ropes, a pole bag for the optional end poles for free-standing allowing adjustable height and the tarp itself. It took minutes to pitch and pack down again. I can’t wait to try this out either free-standing, attaching it to my tent or car (although Obelink sell a version especially for cars), it’s a very versatile piece of kit. Hopefully, the birds will now leave my cooking alone and can get on and enjoy my stew.