As Long As Their Soda Cans Are Red, White and Blue Ones

Sterno fuel, which I wrote last time about being so fond of, is a gel made from denatured alcohol. That is to say, ethanol that has methanol added to keep you from ingesting it in order to get drunk. In the old days that deterrent didn’t always work, and Sterno fuel was sometimes abused as a handy substitute for liquor (as made famous in the Tommy Johnson song “Canned Heat Blues”), by straining out the alcohol from the gel.

My grandfather used to tell stories of men in southern Utah drinking vanilla extract as booze – the only alcohol they could get in the old days, when the Mormon pioneer teetotaler ethic still reigned supreme (before all the Gentile tourists discovered southern Utah and inundated it with their worldly ways).

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather Continue reading As Long As Their Soda Cans Are Red, White and Blue Ones


It Started with a Sterno

I was at an outdoor store, looking at all the camping gear and dreaming of the overnight hikes I might do. Specifically, I was thinking about what I might eat and how I would cook. I like to hike, I like to camp, but I especially like to eat. I like to eat so much that I ought to hike more.

It had been years since I had been on a backpacking trip. I had used a buddy’s stove to boil water for my mashed potatoes, lentil soup, refried beans and suchlike. I was grateful for his generosity but wanted a stove of my own some day.

A cheap one. I’ve seen some of those backpacking stoves Continue reading It Started with a Sterno