Friday, July 11, 2008

Camp 2008 -- Notes on Sunday, June 29

I've written more about the opening meal than any other at camp. My mind is fresh on Sunday, and I still have lots of energy.

By Thursday, my desire to blog wanes. I often rest for a week before I pick up my blog pen. So, it's time to pick up where I left off last weekend.

I noted in an earlier discussion that the director's decision to eliminate Saturday camp pushed the arrival of kitchen staff back 24 hours.

Allen and Alisa had just finished setting up their tent as Debbie and I pulled in from worship and a Safeway shopping trip. By 2 p.m. -- the start time for kitchen staff on opening day -- the four of us were ready to start dinner prep.

After unloading the Safeway purchase, I immediately put Allen and Alisa to work. Allen scrubbed and cut 40 pounds of russets for roasted potato wedges. Mixing three five-pound packages of brownie mix fell to Alisa while I sliced onions and red and green bell peppers for the tomato-basil sauce.

In the next hour we panned the chicken tenders, sliced tomatoes for a salad and panned and seasoned the potatoes. My immediate goal was to get the time-consuming and time-sensitive tasks done. I was confident that the remaining staff would arrive around 3 p.m.

I put Elisa, Helen and Carol to work as they walked in the kitchen. Dave and Phil were able to set up tents. I wouldn't need their services until it was time to serve the meal. Around 3:30 p.m., I briefly lost Elisa and Helen while they registered children for camp.

In the next hour and a half, Elisa and Helen built the salad bar while others got the dining room tables ready (we don't have K.P. help until Monday morning), mixed beverages (punch and iced tea) and set up the vegetable.

By the time we walked out of the kitchen for 5 p.m. worship at the amphitheater, the meal was in good shape. Dinner was ready with brownies were cut, salads in the walk-in and chicken sandwiches fixin's ready to go.

The nine of us returned to the kitchen just before 6 p.m. This year we assembled the sandwiches instead of serving each item on the steam line.

Elisa watched the front of the house and assigned duties to the line servers (staff on opening night). Allen and Dave set up the dish machine while Debbie filled drink pitchers.

In the back, Carol and I made sandwiches with the tomato-basil sauce. Phil and Elisa (she's a busy woman!) made the barbecue sandwiches. Alisa ran the oven while Helen started working on salads for Monday.

Although I missed having all the kitchen staff report to work early Sunday afternoon, we put the meal out on time though superb teamwork. I was able to get all menu items prepared on time because of a dedicated staff that's flexible and willing to work.

In the photo, Alisa (left) and Elisa prepare pizzas Monday night.

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