a love letter from the kitchen

In May each year as I begin muttering to myself about needing to find 30 pounds of pork loin at a good price and wondering which market will have the best cost on sirloin rump roast, some people begin to think I may be a bit crazy.

Then I confirm my status with the details.  "I'm getting ready to head to a rustic camp to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for about 70 folks for the next five days..."

Oh yeah.  Now that I think about it...that does sound crazy.  

But Carolina Cross Connection is a ministry near and dear to my heart.  I'm too old to serve as a summer staff member and as a mom I can't really take a week to go as a camper.  But cooking during the staff training?  Home cooking is like a love letter from the kitchen.  I found my niche to give back to a ministry that helped shape who I am today.  

It's a big that I haven't taken on completely by myself.  Each of the years I've spent a week in the kitchen at Loy White I've had at least one person working by my side to help me maintain my sanity.  This year my partner in crime was my sister.  I did miss my sweet friend Melissa who has laughed by my side in the kitchen for the past several years, but there was something familiar about cooking side by side with a person who also learned to cook from Mama's example.  

We spent an average of ten hours a day in the kitchen, slicing, chopping, mixing, baking and roasting.  At times the conversation would flow without ceasing and at others there was no sound beyond the steady chop of a knife on the cutting board.  But that's okay, with sisters you don't always have to talk...sometimes "just being" is enough.

This year we also had the pleasure of help from our mini-sous chefs.  My niece, Maylin, and Ky would flit in and out of the kitchen from time to time.  Their biggest contribution to the weekend they spent at camp was baking Grandma's one egg shortcake recipe.  That shortcake is for sure a love letter to the summer staff from the kitchen.

It's exhausting, but I do somehow enjoy my time in the kitchen at Camp Loy White.  The only part that is super duper tough is saying goodbye to my kids at the end of the weekend.

when did my baby boy get so long?
And, with exception of us being separated for a few days, the kids love it too.  They get smothered with attention by a fine group of college students, and they get to spend a few days in a camp setting with their cousins.  This year I have very few pictures to show for our time, but this one from last summer sums up how our boys spend their time...getting dirty.

In the immediate days after I got home, when I was exhausted, my knees hurt from standing so long, and I just didn't feel like cooking a thing, I probably would have told you that 2014 was my last summer.  But now that a little time has passed, I find myself mentally tweaking recipes in my head and wondering how to make them work for a large crowd...


Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

What a wonderful way to serve!

Laurie said...

You're awesome!!! What an amazing service you're providing! And I'm guessing everything was quite yummy! :)

Anonymous said...

Very cool! God bless you:)

Grandma Shultz said...

And it was my pleasure to keep all 7 of you and your sister's kids while you two were cooking for the amazing Summer staff for CCC. What special Grandma time!

Traci said...

I actually enjoyed being in the kitchen this summer... Wasn't sure I was going to be able to say that... not because of the company but, well, because i really just don't like to cook! haha ;)