Ode to a Kitchen

August 25th, 2017 | Posted in Camp History, Kitchen Project | 6 Comments

Don’t forget that before there was a salad bar

there was peanut butter and fry bread and

candy bars on Tuesday, or was it Wednesday?

A cracker-wrapper can on each green table and

Florence’s table chart. Don’t forget Carol McCutcheon’s

tooth marks in the Jack cheese in the walk-in and

remember the wooden trough behind the kitchen

where we washed, cooled off, and cleaned chickens

on Friday for next Sunday’s dinner. Before there was

gourmet coffee there were round-bottomed coffee cups

and the taffy recipe etched into the bakery wall.

Before there was health, candy bars lived on the

staircase to Grover and Erma’s room and wine for the

barbeque sauce huddled under their bed. Graham

crackers lived in the out-trip room but who knew?

Remember the tree stump chopping block by the kitchen

door and the original wooden fork and spoon overhead.

Before the pizza oven was the beehive oven and there was

always the rock wall by the fireplace where you could tuck

the raisins from your cereal into the cracks and crevices.

Remember Miko in Erma’s kitchen making tempura for

a core staff meeting and remember how special to eat ice cream

or pie, a steak even, with Grover and how he drank pearl tea

while Erma served up hot Tang. Remember Lydia dealing

warm cookies to small people and that she would bake a

private berry pie for berry pickers who then ran off to eat it

privately at Dead Oak or by the creek. Remember eating

in shifts on rainy days, wearing a black garbage bag to stay

dry, and remember the year that tables overflowed the eating

platform onto the driveway, all the way behind the bell tower.

Remember watching your mail slot from the lunch table, hoping

that Carol would put a letter there for you? And remember

clearing the green tables off the eating platform and sweeping,

getting ready for the Saturday night dance? And the girls

ironing their skirts in Long House on Saturday afternoon when

they didn’t have to go swimming. And waking up on Sunday

morning to hear Art splitting kindling for the pancake griddles.

Before there was health you could score a peanut butter & jelly

sandwich in your Sunday bag lunch, two cookies, and a sour plum.

And for Sunday dinner, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, and

on each table a saucer full of butter melting in the late afternoon sun.

We acknowledge that a kitchen is more than a kitchen.

You cannot tear down and replace memories. Hold them close.

They are yours to keep.

Janet Winans


  1. Emmy Abrahams
    Aug 26, 2017

    Lovely memories to add to so many of our own….hoping the new camp dining room will create the same happy days…

  2. Leslie Kay
    Aug 26, 2017

    Beautiful observations and memories Janet!

  3. John Rapf
    Aug 30, 2017

    I love it and remember it all so well. If we could only go back and do it again.

  4. Vicki Philips
    Aug 30, 2017

    Oh my Janet, this brought back so many memories! Thank you for another reminder of that wonderful place we all hold dearly in our hearts.

  5. Andy Philips
    Aug 30, 2017

    I would add the “mock apple pie”, one of Lidia’s famous recipes. And in the healthy department the cans of hot chocolate mix that when liberated from the kitchen made a memorable desert.

  6. Shelley Pulford Ries
    Sep 5, 2017

    Ahhhhh, those cookies of Lydia’s! I remember them still and have never been able to duplicate them. That little baking kitchen was a haven for me in those early days. Thanks for the memories Janet!

Leave a comment

* Name, Email, Comment are Required