Big Sur Service – Food

The original title for this blog was going to be “Eating my way through the Redwoods!” but blogs are no good without pictures and I never seemed to take time to snap photos of the fabulous food prepared by our kitchen team.  There are so many aspects of the trip to talk about, that I can’t possibly fit it all into one post.  And I really want to talk about the food!  After all, eating is a huge part of traveling – and camping in general!  This trip was no different!

Camp Cook

Most Sierra Club service trips are staffed by a Leader and a Camp Cook – especially the front/back country trips.  The camp cook is responsible for the menu from pencil to pot – the planning, the shopping, the organizing, the storing, and the cooking.  Our first interaction with Alison, the camp cook on our trip, was by a Chow Survey that she sent to each of us.  She wanted to know seemingly odd things like how much coffee we drink, how many eggs we typically eat at breakfast, if we were truly allergic to dairy or just didn’t like it.  Things that would make her job even more difficult given there were 14 participants and 14 different appetites!

The good news for Alison is that she didn’t have to do all the food prep alone.  She had plenty of help among us, and part of our participation in the trip includes the opportunity to help in the kitchen.

To avoid any in-fighting and give everyone a fair shot at this much sought-after duty, Alison cleverly established a KP watch-bill (a planner after my own heart!) giving us each a breakfast/dinner duty.  She was kind enough to assign the teenager in the group (yes, mine!) two dinner duties to avoid any early morning teenage oversleeping issues (Alison’s a mom!)

It was raining the day we arrived, so it was all hands on deck to set up tarps over the kitchen, least the pasta dinner get drenched!  Having set up camp pretty quickly, thanks to our super-cool easy to set up Limelight, I volunteered to help with KP the first night.  Rain and all.  It was definitely a challenge, but Alison had a plan and we all enjoyed pasta!  And I got to sit back and relax and eat the rest of the week!

For the rest of the week, Alison took us on a trip around the world with her super efficient, super hearty, and primarily vegetarian meals all prepared on two propane burner camp stoves and the pantry in the back of her rental mini-van.

 Here is kiddo trying his best to look happy while holding a ladle full of green stuff that he likely has NO intention of putting anywhere near his lips!  I should really give him credit, his pallet was definitely challenged throughout the week and he tried just about everything that was prepared.  Breakfast and lunch always offered familiar basics, but dinner was sometimes a challenge.  He was always careful to put the new stuff in separate corners of his plate just in case he didn’t like it!  And he was very observant with the lunch prep for the next day – as sometimes the dinner leftovers would show up as pita or sandwich filler the next day!  Alison was nothing if not efficient!
Quinoa, scrambled eggs with cheese and spinach, Mexican bean soup over rice, naan, fresh made pimento cheese, fresh salads, stir fry veggies…the only typical camp food was the cowboy coffee and the S’mores!  All very yummy and all responsible for my 5lb weight gain despite the trail work!
The people and the fun…still more to tell!

Are ya coming with me?

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