Archive for August, 2009

Clifftarp

August 10, 2009

The main stage, Neo-trad concert
Oh summer festivals. Until you go, it’s really hard to understand why people are so damned crazy about them. You go without showering all week, until even the bugs avoid you sans bug spray. You sleep in a tent (or in a car), occasionally getting flooded out overnight and then baked out by the sun in the morning. You likely spend half of the festival walking around looking for something to eat, only to get distracted playing tunes and then realize five hours later that you are still ravenous. I don’t know how to explain how wonderful this all is.

Amy and I. Still semi-clean and mostly dry.
This year was my first year eating gluten free at Clifftop. I could lie and say it was easy. It wasn’t. This was by far my biggest challenge to date. I know that other gluten free girls out there must like camping and music festivals, so I am going to tell you all what steps I took to make things a little easier. I’ll also let you know what worked and what most decidedly did not.

Layla finds a new friend

Things I Did Beforehand:

1) Bought a camp stove. Since I couldn’t subsist on granola bars and Poptarts any more, I realized I would be much happier and more satisfied with some filling, hot meals. I got a Coleman Instastart, which I was happy with other than it NOT actually igniting without matches like it is supposed to. BOOOO. It’s going back to the store, but I am getting another one next year.

2) Brought a LOT more gear than I normally do. I brought along utensils like a wooden spoon, whisk, and pancake turner. I brought a cast iron skillet and a small saucepan. I brought a cutting board, silverware, and a few sharp knives. A table for the stove. Dishtowels. Cups, bowls, plates. Fuel for the stove. French press. Coffee mugs. I was glad I had all of this, but next time I would go disposable where I can. Washing up every day was truly a bitch and a half.

3) Planned what I would eat in advance. I know that it’s the last thing that you want to do before a camping trip of all things, but if you are gluten free, it’s a great way to avoid overpacking. I know that I never know exactly what I’ll want to eat, but I usually have a pretty good guess. I planned on pancakes and coffee for breakfast, picking through the cooler for lunch and snack, and a few random things like mac and cheese and salad for dinner. I also remembered to bake a pan of gluten free brownies to take along, as I knew there would be times I would be tempted.

An unnamed (very cool) friend’s banjo strap

Bad things happen sometimes that you can’t plan for:

1) For my breakfast pancakes, I brought Pamela’s Multimix. It should have been a slam dunk in terms of how easy it is to make. However, I didn’t check it in advance and discovered once I was at the festival that nasty little bugs had appeared in my flour. ARG.

2) The bugs wouldn’t have been a huge deal, but I was also planning on being able to have toast and sandwiches, so I made a LOVELY batch of multigrain bread. Unfortunately I didn’t refrigerate it (?!) and woke up on departure day to spots of mold. WTF folks. It was like beginner day around here.

3) I forgot that one of the vendors, The Sweet Revenge Cafe, has the most KILLER apple crisp with vanilla ice cream ever. EVER, folks. It’s so good, I think they actually might load it with MSG and possible illicit drugs. It’s like an orgasm in a bowl. I almost started crying when I smelled it and realized that I couldn’t have any. Good thing I brought those brownies….

Bottom line? Don’t freak out. Pack as lightly as you can, but trying to plan ahead and pack a little extra for different options. Take easy to prepare items and lots of naturally gluten free snacks so that you don’t have to do any special preparation or storage.

LONGEST DRIVE HOME EVER.

All in all, it was a good first attempt I think! Most importantly, I had a fantastic time with my old friends and made lots and lots of new ones. Can’t wait for next year… 🙂