Nothing beats that campfire smell — Let’s Blog Off!

This round of Let’s Blog Off, the topic is “What smell takes you back?”  My mind instantly went to food, but I think that is only part of the story.  What really takes me back is the smell of a campfire.  There’s something about the aroma of hardwood slowly burning that is intoxicating.

Sitting around a campfire is the perfect time and place to reminisce.  The crackle of the fire and the flames dancing put me into a bit of a trance where I can remember any number of things — previous camping trips, time spent with family and friends, a general feeling of warmth.

Campfire ring with tripod grill

Campfire ring with tripod grill

I think campfires are one of the reasons for my interest in outdoor cooking.  There’s something primal about food being in direct contact with the heat source.  Think about it — outdoor cooking allows a person to play with knives, play with fire, and fill an empty stomach.  It is also a way to be in touch with those who came before us.  Many types of outdoor cooking were regular cooking at some point in the past.  Classic Welsh Rarebit is cooked in a cast iron pot on the hearth of a fireplace.

Along the same lines, one of my smokers is known as a “stick-burner” which means it’s designed to use hardwood logs as it’s source of heat and smoke.  This is the classic way to prepare barbeque.

I’m lucky to live in a very diverse neighborhood where, on any given day, you can stick your nose in the air and smell something delicious.  I’m amazed at all the different ways people from different cultures use a live fire to build community and to feed one another.

Finally, when my house was built, in 1900, it didn’t have electricity (or indoor plumbing).  There was no natural gas line.  My home was heated with a wood stove that would have been in my living room.  This stove would have also been where all the food was prepared, in the winter anyway.  Now that stove is long gone.  My house has 2 chimneys and no fireplaces.  Kinda sad…  Just think of all the memories created around that old stove a century ago.

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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  • Riggins Construction

    Oh wow.  That’s pretty amazing.  I don’t think I’d want to do all that work, but I bet you’re right-the smells have to be fantastic.

  • Joe Freenor

    I like the smell of campfires too, but for me the song that
    best summed up my camping experiences was, “Smoke gets in your eyes!” No matter
    which side of the fire I sat on, the wind always blew the smoke into my eyes,
    and if I got up and moved to the other side, the wind was sure to change


  • Raun Lauterbach

    It’s definitely not for everyone. But anything that is for everyone probably isn’t that good anyway. :)

  • Raun Lauterbach

    I can relate to that. Luckily, I seem to have built up a tolerance for smoke in the eyes. It takes a lot of smoke for me to even tear up a little bit. Maybe that’s not such a good thing. I don’t know…

  • Pat Eggleton

    I’m very interested to know that you cook Welsh Rarebit around a campfire. Yes, that old stove must have held so many memoroes.

  • Raun Lauterbach

    I’m sure there were many happy times spent in the warmth around that stove. A neighbor of mine has an old wood stove in her backyard as a firepit. I’d like to try my hand a cooking on it. We’ll see… Thanks for reading!

  • Vermont Timber Works

    Great post, camp fires, wood stoves & fireplaces can be magical. Let us know how the Welsh Rarebit adventure goes! 

  • Raun Lauterbach

    Will do! Thanks for the comment!

  • Josh Bulloc

    I had to get a fire pit for the same experience.

  • Raun Lauterbach

    There is a small pottery shop in an old house in Stockholm, WI. The shop is heated with an old wood stove right in the middle of the main room. I’ve been there a couple of times during cooler weather and I could just stand in front of the stove watching the flames for hours, if I didn’t feel so self-conscious about it. The warmth that radiates from that thing is amazing!