An Erin Cooks Original, Dinner, Grilled, Maine, Nostalgia

Grilled Surprise Packages

My grandfather, Edgar, passed away when I was in Kindergarten but even though that was 25 years ago I still have a host of lovely memories of the short time he and I spent together.

I often fondly recall how he would let me sit on the kitchen counter while he mixed up a batch of fluffy biscuits for dinner. Then he’d patiently allow me to cut out each circle of dough with my small clumsy hands. In addition, my grandparents used to have an enormous garden back then and I vividly remember helping my grandfather dig potatoes in the backyard. He’d hand them to me and then I’d gingerly pile the dirty vegetables into my candy red Radio Flyer wagon. This same man would also allow me to tie pink bows and place plastic pastel barrettes in his hair while he watched M*A*S*H after dinner.

Perhaps one of my favorite childhood reminiscences though was when my grandparents purchased a brand new gas grill. I remember riding my Powder Puff Big Wheel back and forth on the soapstone roads that I had carefully drawn on their driveway while my grandmother read the assembly instructions for the new grill to my grandfather. When everything was finally put together he made “Surprise Packages” for us.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever really heard of other families making these but Surprise Packages in my family are a combination of thinly sliced potatoes, onions, and carrots topped with bacon and butter. This mixture is then placed in an aluminum foil pouch which is tossed on the grill until the bacon is cooked and the veggies soften. Often the carrots caramelize quite a bit which I just love. The smell of this combination of ingredients takes me right back to the summer days of my childhood when my day-to-day cares consisted of little more than blowing bubbles and badminton.

I wonder sometimes how accurate the memories I hold are. Perhaps I only remember these moments with my grandfather via conversations with my mother and grandmother? Or maybe I’ve seen pictures of us doing these types if activities so frequently that I’ve created a history for us? I suppose in the end it shouldn’t matter. After all, we’ll always have Surprise Packages.

Surprise Packages
Yields Two Servings. Simply double the below amounts to accommodate more hungry mouths.

1 potato, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 onion (red or white), thinly sliced
2 strips of thick cut bacon
2 teaspoons of butter
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
2 pieces of aluminum foil (enough to make a neatly wrapped packet)

Lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. Layer the potato, onion, and carrot slices evenly on each piece of foil. Top the vegetables with a single slice of bacon. Then season with the salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders. Top with a small dollop of butter.

Fold the foil into well sealed pouches and place onto a hot grill. Cook until the bacon is cooked through and the vegetables are softened; approximately 15-20 minutes.