Camp Cookery | Woodcraft


George Washington Sears

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Tonight, we’ll read another excerpt from “Woodcraft” published by George Washington Sears, under the pen name "Nessmuk." Sears was a writer and adventurer who penned essays on hunting, fishing, and camping for popular journals and magazines.

The author was born in Massachusetts in 1821 as the oldest of 10 children. A young Narragansett Indian named Nessmuk ("wood drake") befriended him and taught him hunting, fishing, and camping. Later Sears took that as his pen name, and also as the name of a couple of his canoes.

This episode refers a few times to an Old Woodsman who enjoys smoking “navy plug”. Th name for this strong, dark tobacco was given because sailors would fill a long canvas tube with tobacco (or tightly wrap rope around tobacco) and sometimes add flavourings like rum, fruits and spices. Then the tube was twisted tight, mimicking the pressing process. This technique created a dense roll, or “plug” of tobacco about an inch thick which could be cut into smaller pieces or coins.