Camp Kadimah, (Boaz is naturally the main attraction for us) usually having lunch with them and during one typical, chaotic lunch ...280 campers and another 135 or so staff, make for quite a noisy experience...I began to think about actually cooking three meals a day, every day for 6 weeks, and frankly, couldn't imagine it. So I asked Joanna, (who is the camp's Director) if I could spend a 24 hour period with the kitchen crew, to find out.
In just one 24 hour period from lunch to lunch I probably have enough info to write a book, but I thought I'd share some highlights, challenges I'd never considered and some mind-boggling statistics....
If you think getting ingredients, etc., is a challenge for you....Not only is this a summer camp on a beautiful lake in rural Nova Scotia with the closest town 30 minutes away, it's a Jewish camp so the kitchen needs to be kosher, and every ingredient that comes in a can, jar or package must be kosher as well. Kosher meat and chicken are shipped in frozen from Montreal (4 giant orders throughout the summer). Just an aside...I missed it, so no photos, but I will share the recipe at the bottom of the post...Israeli Grilled Chicken was prepared the night before I arrived because they ran out of kosher bottled lemon juice they needed for the planned Greek Style Chicken and couldn't find any in any of the local stores....
...and how many chickens does it take for one dinner....85 chickens cut up!!!! and it would have been more but...45 campers were on an over-night. Not a piece was left!
Kosher kitchen means dairy and meat cannot be served at the same meal (or prepared together), all ingredients must have a kosher label, countertops are covered with butcher paper when preparing the meat meals. There are two sets of a gazillion dishes, pots, pans, utensils, fridges, sinks etc., to pay attention to (They can't come into contact with each other or they stop being kosher). Oh, and don't forget the special diet restrictions - lactose intolerance, celiac disease, other allergies and dietary issues to consider when coming up with the summer menus. This year there are 20 vegetarians, 20 who are lactose intolerant and others with different eating issues. Back in late Spring, Anne and Joanna got together to come up with some new recipes and to plan out the entire summer meal schedules so they can stock the kitchen adequately...and know exactly when to order what. I'm exhausted just thinking about the challenges. I need a cookie fix!
What else does a kitchen need to be able to cook up all those meals....
3 huge walk in fridges (size of small bedrooms) - one for dairy products, one for meat & one for produce; 3 huge double standup freezers; 2 store-size chest freezers for freezies, popsicles, etc., (holding 90 cases- 120 freezies per case) several deliveries throughout the summer, It would take 10 tubs ice cream just for one meal!; 3 deep fryers;
1 huge griddle (that's just the start of 300 pancakes for breakfast this morning)
14 gas burners (here with 6 giant stock pots for lunch's mac & cheese...more later), what you can't see in this photo are the water spouts over burners so the staff can fill those giant stock pots with water right on the stove. By the way, a full pot of cooked pasta needs two strong people to carefully carry it to one of the many sinks and pour it out over the biggest colanders ever;
14 ovens that hold (altogether) 48 racks!
I'm sure your head is reeling from those numbers, but that was just to get your attention. Here's a snapshot of the day, which, by the way, was considered especially light since lots of kids were out of camp on overnights or day trips...
5AM Anne arrives to make sure the schedule and task lists prepared, each person assigned their roles, stations, etc. and to go through inventory to see what needs to be reordered.
6AM Morning crew shows up check out their tasks for the day and to begin prepping for breakfast and lunch. The campers and staff won't be up for breakfast for at least 3 hours!
9AM Campers and staff finally arrive for breakfast and while some kitchen staff are managing that, others are starting on lunch...
Today it's Mac 'n Cheese, and you really do need to see the ballet in person, but here are some snapshots... (by the way...Gramma (not me this time, it's what everyone calls her. She's the one with the broken foot, which certainly doesn't seem to stop her) is making vegetable stew for those who won't be eating BBQ burgers tonight, although there will be veggie burgers. She's also whipping up the best coleslaw I've had in a long, long time, and salads for the salad bars) ...but back to mac 'n cheese...
Anne will use up all this cheddar cheese
That's Anne doing the grating
One of the staff using a huge paddle (you could use it to row a boat!) to stir one of the 5 giant pots of pasta
It takes two strong people to carry this very hot, very heavy pot to drain
"Only" 14 pans of Mac 'n Cheese being prepared for the oven (it's a light day)
Secret ingredient being mixed in after an hour in the oven
Dishing it up on platters - a precision event, too bad I didn't video it! That's Anne in the blue tank top supervising
Everyone loves Mac 'n Cheese...especially Bo
Before we start working on supper...there are a bazillion dishes to wash
tip of the iceberg
washer and dryer runs all day long!
In the meantime...watermelon ready for tonight's dessert.
Perfect ending for a bbq supper of hamburgers & hot dogs.Before I share recipes...three things I must mention...
1. The kitchen was spotless and shining all day long and all containers were replenished and ready to start all over again before staff left for the day;
2. Anne spent an extra hour recording the daily stats....how much served, how much left (not much I assure you), weather conditions, staff hours;
3. My feet were throbbing and I was incredibly pooped - hat's off to the fantastic kitchen crew!!!!
And in case you want to whip up some mac'n cheese for 400 you'll need...
60lb/27kg macaroni pasta
3 litres/quarts) sour cream
20 litres milk
160 cups grated cheddar cheese
salt, pepper & onion powder...sprinkled over the top of each pan
enough slices of processed cheese to cover the top of each pan
Directions: (this job will take 6 of your friends)
1. Boil and drain the pasta...
2. Mix all the ingredients together except for the sliced cheese in 10 giant pans
3. Bake at 350F/170C for 1 hour
4. Hide the sliced macaroni in each of the pans and bake for another 30-45 minutes..or until the hungry hoard arrives for lunch.
And the ingredients for the Israeli-style Grilled Chicken...(Joanna's recipe, multiplied by a gazillion by Anne)
85 chickens, cut into serving sizes
20 cups of oil
2.5 cups turmeric
5 cups ground coriander
10 cups ground cumin
1 cup + 4tbsp paprika
1 cup +4 tbsp garlic powder
10 tbsp black pepper
2 cups salt
2.5 cups turmeric
Well, I'm pooped just writing about it. I do want to thank Anne and her equally amazing crew for letting me join in the kitchen fun. And I continue to be in awe of them all!!!
And, because I did share a pasta recipe...this will be my contribution to Presto Pasta Night. I'm hosting this week, so don't forget to email your entries to me at firstname.lastname@example.org