Editor’s Note: The Best of Bud is a compilation of some of the advice and recipes gathered by the late Ralph W. “Bud” Leavitt who retired as the Bangor Daily News executive sports editor and outdoor editor in the fall of 1988. He continued to write a weekly column for the paper until his death on Dec. 20, 1994.

The cover painting for “12 Months in Maine” by artist Tom Hennessey’s was inspired after several camping experiences in northern Maine in the summer of 1975. On one of those outings, my wife Barbara and I accompanied Nancy and Tom and from that outing I discovered a woman’s genius can be extended to include a camping trip.

“You get me a good hot fire and I’ll make hot muffins,” offered Nancy.

“Hot muffins!” I repeated. “You got a batch of hot coals coming up!”
Nancy Hennessey did indeed produce a batch of the sweetest, tastiest, hottest muffins this side of the late Charlie Millers.

I was to discover later, Nancy employed a neat gimmick to produce a pan of muffins. She’d prepared in advance for such a moment.

“I do this all the time at home. All you do is make up a batch of mix, stick it in the freezer, and when you want hot muffins for the table in a matter of minutes, you’re ready. An excellent way to have muffins at camp, on vacation, camping, and as I say, at home.”

I can vouch for Nancy’s claim, first hand.
Here’s how:

Nancy Hennessey’s muffins
2 cups raisin bran flakes
½ cup raisins (optional)
5 cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoons salt
1 qt. Buttermilk
4 shredded wheat biscuits crushed, soak in ¾ cup boiling water
4 eggs, beat
5 teaspoons soda
½ teaspoon baking powder

Add buttermilk and dry ingredients to egg mixture.
Contents will keep one month in refrigerator.
Cooking time 25-30 minutes, 350 degrees.

Humpback Brook cabbage, pork sausage
The late Greg Sullivan was one of the finest camp cooks of his time. He loved to whip together a dish called Humpback Brook Cabbage and Pork Sausage.

Sully used 1-pound of fresh pork sausage, 1-pound of cabbage, and 1 egg, well beaten.

He cooked the sausage in a skillet half-filled with water until all water was cooked out, and sausage was well done, but not yet brown.

He’d then add cabbage, drained and cut in small pieces. He would cook slowly and just before serving add the egg, cooking five minutes longer and serve with just-made cornbread.

The recipe calls for feeding four, and makes a marvelous meal.

Bill Gagnon’s broiled Beech Hill Pond frogs

My long-time television and radio sidekick, William (Bill) Gagnon, admits to a fondness for frogs.

His personal specialty is a dish he calls “Broiled Beech Hill Pond Frogs,” a name I suppose that emanates from Bill having spent so many happy hours there with his lovely wife, Helen, at their lovely cottage.

Bill’s way of preparing broiled frogs:

8 whole frogs, cleaned, dressed
1 cup milk
¼ cup lemon juice
2 sticks butter or margarine
Seasoning to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Scald frogs in lemon juice and boiling water. Remove, dry, and dip in milk, seasoning with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish. Cover frogs with cut up chips of butter and place in 400-degree broiler.

Turn over when seared, baste, and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with tartar sauce and toast. Serves eight, says William.

“Hum gonna tell you, Joe, she’s a good suppah,” brags Bill, the inimitable entertainer and French-speaking dialectician.