Will Crisp – Hunting Camp Cookbook

Cooking a meal is a task I rarely undertake – while I can make a bowl of cereal or toast, anything more involved with that usually requires a microwave oven. Salvation for myself, and others like me, may be at hand in the form of a cookbook, Hunting Camp Cooking, Basic to Balkan, written by McDowell resident Will Crisp. Mr Crisp explained the idea behind the book, and how his experiences as a youth in Highland County and service in the military and U.S. foreign service gave him inspiration.

“I was thinking about the need for recipes at locations which are somewhat remote, where you have to cook day or night, where there’s no set time for arrivals or departures. And we wanted recipes that are very practical, but are also delicious, but can be abundant, and can be fine tuned for any number of guests.

“I wanted to start out with just sort of good old home cooking recipes, and then move into some recipes that I acquired while working for some 30 years in Europe. I have started out with such squirrel stew; Mrs. Sarah Samples of McDowell’s potato soup; and vegetable beef soup, chili, Brunswick stew, and then moving onto recipes which I didn’t really read, but I more or less absorbed as a “consumer” of Good food in Europe. And tried, throughout, to keep to the same principle – that is, to keep them simple, to have them available in carting quantities, cooking any time, day or night, but particularly, preparations which don’t usually take more than one hour. The cook wants to grab his, or her, shotgun or fly rod or walking staff, and get out of the kitchen.”

Mr. Crisp was hard pressed to pick a favorite recipe.

“I like them all, of course. I have to say, I really like the onion soup recipe. Also, a really really good recipe is Hungarian goulash.”

The thought of preparing Hungarian goulash intimidated me, but he assured me the recipes were suited for microwave masters such as myself.

“I would say, you would do great with this book, if you’re just working with microwaves, because most of this is stovetop cooking, a little bit here and there of using the oven. But I sympathize – for example, I have a terrible time with flour, or baking goods, or pies, so I try to pitch these recipes for anybody, from the beginning level all the way up to the most accomplished cooks. But I would say, starting with the beginning level, going on up to the top should pose no problem.”

He talked about where you can find the book, and possible subsequent editions.

“Stores have it in Monterey, in McDowell, all along the corridor, West Augusta, Deerfield and on into Staunton, and into a gun store if Fishersville. Or walk into The Recorder, and say you would like to have a copy.

“I’m currently building up some 10 or 12 additional recipes, and what we’re kind of thinking about is expanding this into at least a second addition, but also I encourage people to write me, via the Monterey address, P.O. Box 10, Monterey VA, 24465. I would like to incorporate criticism, critique, howls of protest, guest suggestions, because the book already has a number of guest recipes. I do have the reservation – if I can’t cook it, it’s not going into the book.

“I would just like to say that I have such a great love for this region. It’s given me great great pleasure to try to incorporate these ideas with this beautiful setting which we are so blessed with.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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