Back in January, I got a text that said "The stake Young Women's presidency would like to have you as the camp cook this year for girl's camp." My reply was "Are you sure you don't mean crafts? Because I am not a cook." The reply was a little slow in coming, but it said "No, it says on my paper, camp cook." My reply took even longer. "Okay."
And with that, I became camp cook for girl's camp this year.
I knew it was a big job and I knew I was not up to the task. The very thought of it paralyzed me. It seriously took me a month to reconcile it in my mind and call the last year's cook to get the information that she had, and start the process of getting ready for camp. The binder she gave me I have come to call, "The Golden Binder of the Camp Cook". It has the last 6 years of food plans for camp. Some of it was entirely helpful, but some of it was just confusing. It only took me about two months to wade through it all, but it was an absolute gem and I would have been lost without it. Sidenote: Just keep all your notes about what you are doing, what worked, what didn't, how much you spent, how much you used, how much was left. Do this for any huge event you are planning, for the next person. It is SO helpful!!
I worked on getting someone to help me for about two months. I asked for a couple of people, but they were rejected immediately. Back to the drawing board. I started going through the stake directory and thinking about different people. Thinking and praying. Finally, I came up with a person. I truly know that she was supposed to be with me there. I knew this lady some, but not well. What I knew was she was a worker, and that she was pretty practical. When I told her name to the stake, they said, we thought of her also! Heavenly Father was certainly guiding me! So we were set with this lady, Kathleen, and my niece, Jaye Dean, who I knew would work for me.
Now to do the really hard part-- plan the meals, and how much we would need for 250 people. Using my "Golden Binder", we planned meals, and tried to figure out amounts. It is such a gamble to try and decide how much will feed everyone to their fill, but also to stay within the budget. We talked about how we are feeding these people, but we aren't providing a buffet line. This can't be and isn't a smorgasbord. That was a hard concept for people to grasp.
I made Muddy Buddies for a snack for the wards one night. I have become a professional Muddy Buddy maker.
We made up our list, and then hit Costco. What an adventure that was! We set out with a huge trailer and we pretty much filled it up. Here is just a sample of our list:
24 gallons of milk -We had two gallons left
40 cases of water - We had 5 cases left
10 5lb bags of carrots - We had one bag left
12 10lb bags tenderloin chicken
12 5dz. pkgs of eggs - 1/2 pkg left
5 lg boxes of brownie mix - all eaten
500 juice boxes
18 heads of lettuce - I had Terry buy me 7 more
30 boxes of Jello
13 boxes of sausage patties
And then there was the bananas and the sour cream....
I bought enough bananas for everyone to have one for two different meals. The problem came that the skins turn brown before I put them out, even though the inside was good still. So no one wanted to eat them. Unfortunately, I had A LOT of bananas left. My sour cream story is that I used a list of ingredients for Hawaiian Haystacks from a past year, just transferring the list to my shopping list. One of the things listed was 16 tubs of sour cream. I didn't pay attention to where they had bought the sour cream, so I just thought it was from Costco. Well, that was not the case. Where I bought 16 huge tubs of sour cream from Costco, they bought 16 tubs from Walmart. Huge difference. Consequently, I had a ton of bananas left, and a ton of sour cream. I took home some of both and made sour cream banana bars. I guess it was a win after all......
All in all, I made it through. Kathleen, her practicality showing, talked me into coming back the next year, hoping to have the next year's head cook helping us, so they could see how it's done and not be totally thrown into the job, like I felt. It wasn't that people weren't willing to help me this year, just that I had no idea what to ask them! It was tough!
And how was camp? It went pretty well for me, but it went even better for Tessa! She was there with a friend, and I don't think I saw her but twice outside of at meal time. It was a really good year.
And the one picture I have of Tessa at camp: