I have to come back to the camp food: it's amazing. At Ton-A-Wandah, the food was served "family style" - two different cabins set the tables each day, and what was on the table was what you ate. If you didn't like it, you could go get a PBJ from the kitchen window. That was it. I walked into the All-Star kitchen on the first morning, and saw plain scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage, and bacon. How nice that they have the option of cheese on the eggs, I thought while serving myself. Then I turned around to go grab a drink... and saw more tables and counters, laden with fruit, bagels, various breads and spreads, a toaster, a waffle maker, muffins, and assorted pastries. My jaw dropped. You have GOT to be kidding me!
And it's like that at every meal - variety galore, and good stuff, too, like turkey melts, ravioli, enchiladas, and veggie burgers. Plus dessert at every meal, and often more than one dessert - brownies, Rice Krispie treats, or lemon meringue squares. It's unbelievable. And almost everything is homemade - the kitchen staff often add their own little touches, like Butterfinger pieces in the brownies. And there's a deli bar with cold cuts, and also a big salad bar, complete with spinach leaves, feta cheese, olives, bacon bits, and various other toppings. I'm extremely impressed by it all.
Which is why I was so surprised today when people started complaining about the food. I'd heard various complaints - "Oh, I can't eat this stuff; it makes me sick." "This food is pretty gross." "Looks like I'm having salad again!" But I didn't pay much attention to it; just dismissed it as spoiled rich girls. But this afternoon we were sitting in a meeting with Craig, the director, and one brave male counselor raised his hand and mentioned that some of the counselors were having issues with the food. "We feel hungry, but then we go in there and smell it and just can't force anything down - or if we do get it down, then it... well... goes right through you." Heads were nodding in agreement. I was disbelieving.
"I'll discuss it with Vago [the cook] later today," Craig said. "How many people are experiencing these issues?" Half the hands in the room went up.
"No way!" I exclaimed involuntarily.
"Well! I'll get Vago in here right now!" Craig said in surprise, striding toward the door.
The poor plump cook - who always has a smile and cheerful comment for me, who encourages us to take multiple desserts, and whose ten-week-old daughter Katya is the cutest thing alive - was dragged into the room, and people were asked to repeat their grievances to him. "It's making us feel sick." "It's just not the quality it used to be." "Last year there was more variety." My jaw dropped at that last one. Vago fielded everything very politely and diplomatically, never losing his smile, but I felt so sorry for him that I had the beginnings of tears in my eyes. This poor man is so kind and cheerful, works so hard and makes what I consider to be such wonderful food, so many different things every day - and this is how we repay him?
After the rest of the staff had finished voicing their complaints, I couldn't take it anymore. I raised my hand and smiled at Vago. "I just wanted to let you know that it's my first year at this camp, and I think the food is amazing - it's way better than what I'm used to at other camps - and I just wanted to say that I really appreciate all the effort you guys go to to make it."
Vago thanked me, but nobody else agreed. I saw no nods, heard no murmurs of assent. "We appreciate the positive along with the rest of it," Craig said briskly, then moved on. All I could do was shake my head and sigh. I am the only one in this entire camp who will freely admit that I love the food and think it's amazing. Am I crazy, or do the rest of the staff just have expensive tastes and delicate digestive systems? I don't understand it.