Monday, May 02, 2011

Lessons from the camp cook

Children learn valuable lessons when they attend summer camp. I don't think anyone disputes that fact. The fact succeeding generations of children swell summer camp populations is a testament to this truth.

Even when thrown into an unfamiliar setting, children quickly develop new friends, often with guidance from a skilled camp counselor. Some friendships last a lifetime.

I found a nice article in The Province, a British Columbia newspaper. "Parents send their children to camp to have fun, make new friends and acquire activity skills," said the April 12, 2011 on-line article. "In the process, campers learn that ... (introducing Lesson No. 1) Time flies because camp is so much fun!"

The article outlines nine lifelong lessons. The ninth lesson hit home for this camp cook. It reads:

"If I don't like what's served at lunch, by dinner I am hungry enough to eat anything!"

In the paragraph that follows the lesson, the unnamed writer unwittingly highlighted the main responsibility of the camp cook. As the cook writes a menu with "variety and choice," he plans "nutritious meals ... with children's preference in mind."

The camp cook works to please campers with wonderful meals. He listens for camper comments, both good and bad. He watches the dining room for reactions to each meal and even peers in the garbage for telltale signs of uneated meals.

In addition to dishes for "vegetarians and campers with special dietary needs," the camp cook provides plenty of variety in the menu. Plenty of salad fixin's, 24-hour peanut butter and jelly bar and ample portions all help campers get their fill.

"However, the camp cook cannot please everybody all the time," the article concludes. "Nevertheless, fussy eaters soon learn to enjoy the meal served to them after a day full of activity and with the example of other enthusiastic eaters around the table."


  1. I'd be all over the 24 hour PB&J bar! It is amazing the way picky-ness flies out the window if we are hungry enough. :)

  2. My wife is our camp cook and she tries to please all our kids and grandkids. I told her if they don't like what you cook tell them to cook their own meals! But she's way to nice to tell them that :-)