I'm a terrible chef and an even worse camper, so when I was invited to a screening of a new DVD about cooking in the great outdoors--titled Ultimate Camp Cooking--I was a bit hesitant to accept. However, I love stand-up comedy and when I learned that Pat Mac (co-manager of the Boise Funny Bone) and Mike Faverman an L.A.-based stand-up comicwere the stars of the show, I decided it just might be something I could get into. Plus, at the premiere of a cooking DVD, it wouldn't be ridiculous to expect camp food: hotdogs, Dutch oven stew, s'mores, baked beans, flapjacks, etc. I may not like camping, but I do love food.
When I arrived, there was a great deal of food, though none of it was very outdoorsy. However, it's been years since I slept in a tent and cooked over an open fire, so I figured maybe people do make gyros and bruschetta out in the wild nowadays. And I'd rather eat stuffed mushrooms than burned franks and beans anytime which is part of the focus of the DVD: There's no reason why eating in the wilderness can't be as enjoyable as eating indoors (except for the mosquitoes).
Faverman and Mac soon took the stage to discuss the premise of the DVD. They explained that in the several camping trips they took to make the film, they were serendipitously joined by strangers from adjoining campsites and it was from these people that the two comedians got some of the film's funniest bits. Soon, the house lights came down and we were shown a four-minute trailer that Mac and Faverman are hoping will get their DVD a spot on the Food Network. We were then treated to about 10 minutes of the almost-90-minute film, in which Faverman and Mac cook up a pot of "dirty rice" and a batch of pecan-crusted chicken. As would be expected in a show about cooking, viewers are given instructions on how to prepare the two dishes. Faverman readies the dirty rice by sauteeing beef, tomatoes, peppers and onions for the "dirty" portion of the recipe. The rice itself is a package of Zatarain's-like rice poured into a pot of boiling water. I started to laugh, thinking it was the set-up to a great joke: it's a cooking DVD, and the chef goes through all the machinations of preparation just to then use packaged dirty rice! However, as the only one laughing, I soon realized that what could have been moment of levity was not.
It is during the rice and chicken segment that a couple and their pet parakeet from a neighboring camp stop by and are invited to join the two comedians for dinner. The couple discovers their pet has a real love for chicken and rice and it is on the green bird that the camera primarily focuses for the best part of the segment. The bird hops from plate to plate and wipes her little beak on her owner's shirt. The scene closes with the little feathered darling pooping on command. The Funny Bone audience laughed themselves silly as the house lights came back up and Mac and Faverman got back on stage to sign and sell DVDs. I was a bit disappointed. Why didn't Mac or Faverman ask those campers why the hell they brought a pet bird into the forest? Why the hell didn't one of them make a joke about the bird eating chicken?
Ultimately, The DVD offers more than just laughs. Instead of being just two funny guys out camping and cooking, it's really more a full-length DVD of a couple of guys who like to camp and cook and who make people laugh for a living. The 18 recipes on the DVD look delicious and surprisingly easy to prepare, and the DVD is set up so that viewers can fast-forward from recipe to recipe with ease. Even I would be able to follow most of the recipes and make a tasty meal (from the comfort of my own backyard, of course).
The Ultimate Camp Cooking DVD is available at www.roaddogfilms.com and at Kandor, 213 N. 9th St., 336-1336.