I serve Deer Crossing Camp's "oatmeal explosion" meal once each week. The first comes on Friday of the first week, repeated on the following Monday or Wednesday, just before campers leave on their out-trips.
The meal is so named because it explodes in your mouth when topped with a dozen add-ons.
Served plain, often with cream of wheat for non-oatmeal eaters, I supply campers cinnamon, cocoa powder, brown sugar, honey, syrup, raisins, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, butter and milk (or soy milk). Nuts and other toppings are served when available.
Each camper assembles toppings for form a special breakfast. With seven tables currently, I call each table to the front counter of the kitchen in order. Campers then take a ladle of oatmeal or cream of wheat before rummaging through the toppings.
It takes 1-1/2 (42-ounce) boxes of oatmeal and 1/2 (28-ounce) box of cream of wheat to serve a camp of about 65 campers and staff. Campers average a 5- or 6-ounce portion when self-served. This amount is enough for firsts and seconds.
Because I often don't have any water in the system at 6 a.m., I fill a 20-quart pot with water in the evening and leave it covered on the range overnight. I turn the burner on as soon as I walk in the kitchen. It takes about 45 minutes for a large pot of water to boil at the 6,500-foot elevation of Loon Lake.
Once the water boils in the morning, I dip the water into waiting pots for the two cereals. Once I add the cereal to the pot, I simmer it for a minute or two, then cut the heat and let is steep until breakfast. This helps me avoid burnt oatmeal as our pots are rather thin.
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