A camping tradition of the Cle Elum trail crew is to eat a concoction called “Magma”. I believe this was originally invented by Mr. Jon Herman when he was a wilderness ranger during a previous decade. It’s classic bachelor food, and has been through various stages of field-testing. I believe that it was named “Magma” by Mr. Todd Stiles during his first season with us after he observed it bubbling in the pot. He may have compared to to one of the boiling mud pits at Yellowstone National Park. This dish has been called magma ever since, and the crew always asks for it when we are figuring out camp menus.
Here’s how you make it:
Cook two packages of Knorr Spanish Rice mix with a little extra water. You can add some dried scallions. In the biggest pot, empty a can of corn and a can of diced tomatoes. Once this is steaming, add a large can of refried beans. Keep the heat low–the secret to magma is to heat it very slowly and stir often. Chop up three bell peppers of various colors and stir in. Add another large can of refried beans, and another can of diced tomatoes. Stir and heat. Add a small can of refried beans and the cooked rice. Dump in a little water if it seems too solid. Let the whole potful of food simmer. When it bubbles like lava, it’s ready to eat. There are two methods. The first is to lay a flour tortilla on a plate and spread magma, grated cheddar, and salsa. Roll up like a burrito and eat. It will certainly drip. The other way is to nest a tortilla in a bowl, fill with magma, cheese and salsa and eat with a spoon, cutting up the tortilla as you go.
Possible variations include adding canned chicken if you aren’t accommodating vegetarians. You could throw in some chopped black olives or jalapenos, or any other vegetables that sound good.
This potful fed nine hungry people, but proportions can be adjusted as needed. For a lightweight backpack supper, use dehydrated beans and vegetables.
The pinnacle of trail crew haute cuisine is to follow the magma with Pepperidge Farm’s Entertaining Collection of fancy cookies. Be sure to talk in a posh voice as you pass them around. It’s a good idea for people to NOT share tents after this meal. Adequate ventilation is necessary. But that’s usually the case with the trail crew.