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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 07, 2010

Grokfeast in Maryland

By Mark Sisson
27 Comments

On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness.

I was SO excited when I heard about your contest! I love grassfed beef and US Wellness. I’ve actually tasted their pemmican and have a nearly empty tub of tallow in the fridge.

My schedule is really full at this time of year, so the only time I had open was the afternoon and evening of Sunday, September 19. With just a week to plan the event, I had to work fast. I didn’t have too many friends familiar with the term “Grokfeast,” but many were interested in a “Primal Picnic.”

First, we found the perfect spot to hold the event. Our friend Guy has a couple of acres with woods, a pond, free-range chickens, a lovely two-seat outhouse, and most importantly, a fire pit.

We began the festivities with a walk in the woods. The funniest part was when Paul found a rubber chicken toy along the trail, probably an old dog toy for Scooby, Guy’s dog. We foraged for wild edibles and found excellent sticks for our games. After the walk, Dan demonstrated several different primitive fire starting techniques, and we had a ceremony to light the fire. It was really awesome when he held the tinder up to his mouth and blew on it until it smoked and glowed. We then played some primal games with sticks, including an oversized version of pick-up sticks (with real sticks from the woods!) and a log toss.

Not everyone was brave enough to experience face painting, but some of us had fantastic fun decorating each other! Some made a moon out of mud and others drew charcoal stripes.

Guy: “There’s some dirt on your face.”
Amy: “I know. Where’s yours?”

I wanted the feast to focus on foods that are local (or at least could be grown locally) and in season. I decided that the menu would include a wild edibles salad, kabobs, and omelets so that people could have fun playing with their food and putting ingredients together.

The ingredients included marinated venison, fish, peppers, mushrooms, onions, carrots, squash, garlic cloves, fresh herbs, and pineapple. Ok, so pineapple isn’t local, but it was a special occasion, right? If we’d have had the feast 2 weeks earlier, we could’ve had some wild forest pawpaw fruit. Cooking over the open fire was an adventure because most of us had very little experience with that.

Pat, Sandra, and I (Amy) also volunteered to make other delicious dishes such as squash and beet appetizers, baked apples, and raw milk custard. We tried to vote on a favorite dish, but they were all delicious.

We had a splendid time, with a fest fit for a king or tribal celebration. It definitely was fun, and we also had a lot of fun chasing the chickens away from the food!

The Feast

  • Homebrewed mint tea made from fresh chocolate mint, lemon thyme, and lavender
  • Homebrewed ginger and fennel digestive tea
  • Beet appetizers served on zucchini, butternut squash, and cucumbers
  • Salad dressing made from vinegar, olive oil, and fresh oregano
  • Wild edibles salad containing violet leaves, plantain, dandelion, red clover, elderberries, and other foraged plants
  • Roasted garlic cloves
  • Venison burgers with a cilantro, lemon, and lime marinade
  • Homemade tomato sauce seasoned with fresh basil
  • Fish, stuffed with fresh herbs and cooked over the fire with peppers and mushrooms
  • Kabobs: squash, pineapple, mushrooms, carrots, peppers
  • Omelets made to order with any of the available ingredients, including fresh eggs found in the henhouse
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Baked apples
  • Raw milk custard

Recipe: Baked Apples

Preheat the oven to 325? F.

Start with 1 apple per person. Show off your knife skills and remove the core. Place the apples in a large pan, standing upright. Drop about 20 raisins into each one. Sprinkle with a little ginger and a little cinnamon, heavier on the cinnamon. No need to measure; just give a shake or two over each apple.

Place a thin slice of butter or coconut oil on top of the raisin core for each apple. This keeps them from drying out. Also pour water into the bottom of the pan until the apples are standing in about 2 inches. Put that ruler away – no measuring! Just eyeball it.

Bake for 1 hour, no lid. This is the only measurement you should really stick to. If you leave them in longer, they’ll become very mushy, but at 325? F for 1 hour they were still solid enough to pick up and eat by hand. Perfect for a primal picnic!

The Tribe

Amy Conaway, Brenda Conaway, Dan DeVries, Guy Neal, John Sullivan, Pat Toolan, Paul Conaway, Sandra Nicht


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27 Comments on "Grokfeast in Maryland"

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Me216
Me216
5 years 11 months ago

baked apples are great this time of year

AT22
AT22
5 years 11 months ago

Yay Maryland!

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

Experienced foragers to teach their wisdom to the tribe…BONUS!!!

Amy
Amy
5 years 11 months ago

You have to watch the video to see the two seat outhouse. Ha!

Sandra the YogaHon
5 years 11 months ago

raw milk custard – yum!

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago

Yay – foraging for the feast! And you made games out of stuff you gathered! AND old-school fire-starting. Very nice. fresh eggs *jealous*

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago

and is that some “heirloom” Tupperware?
😉

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

Great job!

Cindy Hanna
5 years 11 months ago

Those apples look amazing!

Kris
Kris
5 years 11 months ago

Glad to see some more “seasoned” primal enthusiasts! A lot of parents and grandparents (mine included) proclaim that they are too set in their ways to see themselves adopting a primal lifestyle, but it’s clear that it’s never to late to improve the quality of your life! This looks like it was a lot of fun!

Julie
Julie
5 years 11 months ago

Love that y’all were taught how to make fire! That’s a skill I look forward to learning.

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

Quite an impressive spread there!

Funkadelic Flash
Funkadelic Flash
5 years 11 months ago

Oh, wow! Definitely looked like the perfect location for a grokfeast! 😀

Sandra the YogaHon
5 years 11 months ago

it was perfect – too bad you couldn’t see the baby free range chicks (I took video but couldn’t get it properly uploaded – if you want to see the bits, go here:

http://sharing.theflip.com/session/6799c205ceb5646d77d0774f95eca782/video/18542314

christie
christie
5 years 11 months ago

I like that you included the fire starting activity. Also like the home brew of digestive tea.

Whitney
5 years 11 months ago

I’m going to have to try that baked apple recipes….with the addition of a little bacon of course 😉

Fatkid
5 years 11 months ago

Foraging is awesome. There are some wild berries that grow behind my work…they’re tasty

Mark
Mark
5 years 11 months ago

Venison, I am so jealous. I have not had venison in years.

Marsha
Marsha
5 years 11 months ago

Totally awesome feast and looks like a beautiful day for it too! Great job.

Alan
Alan
5 years 11 months ago

Looks like great fun Dan. Thanks for sharing….

Ed Ziemba
Ed Ziemba
5 years 11 months ago

Enjoyed the website and presentation. Great job starting the fire. Hope you credited your Nebraska upbringing for that skill!

Maria
Maria
5 years 11 months ago

Love the idea of foraging for your salad greens — how did it taste? And thanks for providing the baked apples recipe. I want to go apple picking, but wasn’t sure what to make from all those apples — now I do 🙂

gilliebean
5 years 11 months ago

An outhouse!? To modern! Ha!! 😉

gilliebean
5 years 11 months ago

*Too modern.

Also, this reminds me of the time I went rock climbing in Joshua Tree and we planned a meal of hobo stew for everyone. We bought beef at the local store and root veggies. Then we chopped it all up and put it in tinfoil bowls. We sealed the bowls and put them over the fire until they started to steam or smoke. Yum!!

carol
carol
5 years 11 months ago

Loved it.

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 11 months ago

The photo of the picnic on the checkered cloth looked to be right out of Martha Stewart’s living magazine. Beautiful.

Heather
Heather
5 years 11 months ago

your spread was varied and looked delicious!

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