The art of yum yum or (how to stuff your gullet when you don’t want to)

For those that venture into the backcountry, the values of Leave No Trace are as ingrained into minds as stopping at a stop sign. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, or so the saying goes. For most outdoor-inclined individuals, this isn’t too hard follow. Some problems occur here and there, but hey, we’re only human. Mistakes happen, we can only hope that we learn from those mistakes.

One such mistake can occur around the food aspect of going into the backcountry. Whether you’re making gourmet morsels or eating some gnarly, freeze-dried packets of food, sometimes there is a problem regarding too much food. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “When the heck can you have too much food?” I agree. Ninety percent of the time, you can never have too much food. Especially in the backcountry. However, in the rare chance that you do, what do you do with it? You cooked for six people, but there’s only three of you. Now what? Dump it for some animal to eat later? No, no, no. That goes against Leave No Trace principles, now doesn’t it? So then what – pack it with you for the rest of the trip? Then you have a gross, lumpy brick of what is supposed to be beef stroganoff. You’ll never eat it. It’s disgusting. So what to do?

Enter the beautiful art of yum yum. The quintessential depiction of human tenacity in its most real and true form. What is yum yum? Yum yum is the game you play with too much food. First, you eat until you’re full, like a typical meal. Then, when you and your friends realize that, shoot, we packed too much food and cooked too much of it, it’s time to buckle down. Get out your spoons and game faces. One person takes the pot of food, plunges the spoon into the gooey, cooling pile of calories, and shovels a huge old pile of food into their gaping maw. And then says yum yum. Next person, same thing. Your turn — nom away at that pile of re-hydrated food particles and grimace with pain and pleasure. Keep on shoveling away until all the squishy, food things are gone. Will it be fun? Probably not. Will the food disappear? Yes. Will you cry? I have. Two of us had to play with enough cold, canned corn for six people. I almost threw up. I can no longer eat canned corn (not that I wanted to in the first place). The art of yum yum is the most real expression of sheer will. It will hurt, it will not be fun, but like the magic of a toaster making bread disappear and replacing it with toast (where does the bread go?) it will be a true magic act. Just make sure you smile through the delicious pain. Yum yum.