Grant O'Neil (oneig@SEA.WA.EDU.AU)
Tue, 26 Mar 1996 09:29:00 PST
> Grant wrote,
>> Basically you bring the stew to the boil and then put the billy it in a
>>box tightly packed on all sides (including on top of the lid - often
>>overlooked) with straw, hay or shredded newspaper. This insulates the
>>and the stew continues to slowly cook.
>May I ask what a billy is. You got this American curious.
Silly me for not explaining! A billy is such a common Australian camping
it totally slipped my mind that my overseas friends may not be familiar with
Basically it is a cooking pot used over a campfire. Not like a saucepan
however; traditionally they were improvised from an empty tin can,
although these days you can buy them in any camping store.
Simply a tin can (generally a large one, about 6" diameter by 8" high is
pretty much a standard size, although you can have bigger or smaller ones)
with a loop of wire for a handle on the top, like a bucket. You can either
sit it directly in the coals to cook, or hang it from a hook by the handle
the flames. The advantage of billies for a haybox stew is that you don't
have to mess around with a handle sticking out the side when packing the
insulation in. They are such a practical camping item I'm sure they would
probably have something similar in camping stores outside Australia,
but perhaps they are called by a different name. BTW, if you have ever
heard the song "Waltzing Matilda", this is what it's talking about when
it says the swagman "waited while his billy boiled".
Another bit of Aussie bush trivia: the traditional bushmans way of
making tea is to boil the billy over the fire, throw in a handful of tea
leaves and then swing the billy in a circle by the handle (remember
the old trick when you were kids of spinning a bucket of water upside
down without spilling the water?) to settle the tea leaves to the bottom
before pouring out the tea. Being a mormon I don't actually drink
the stuff, but I thought some of you might find this an interesting
piece of Aussie camping trivia!
Hope this enlightens you a bit Cindy
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City