Monday, 29 August 2011

The Rustic Kitchen

This is how we operate the food aspect of the Woodsman Camp:

This camp is on a Provincial park, and not accessible by car, so you have the option of an easy 30 minute hike, or a 5 minute boat ride. I have not hiked in yet this year, and I'm ok with that. I learned was taught how to drive the boat the day after I arrived, so that I would be able to do the supply runs. This involves taking a boat to the other side of the lake, hiding it in our "top secret" location in the reeds, driving the Beast (clunky 15-Passenger van that feels like it will blow up any second) 30 minutes to main camp,  loading up the necessary foodstuff from the main camp into the van (also picking up fresh laundry, ice, and any mail for staff and campers), zooming back out to the boat launch, loading up the boat, driving it to our dock, unloading it from the dock onto the wheelbarrow (or carrying by hand) down the trail to our cook tent, and then packing the food away into our huge cooler, or pantry shed. WHEW! I get tired just writing that out. It is a huge job involving a lot of heavy lifting, and that is why I'm glad the director always sends out a strong young lad to carry most of the stuff for me (they like to look all tough and He-Man-ish, so its win-win)! We usually do a these supply runs every 2 days. I have no pictures of that process because it is such a busy time!
The Cook Tent: where we eat (and where we live during the rainy days)
Because we don't have any real refrigeration, most of the food we order in is already precooked and prepared, to keep it as Foodsafe as possible. Our cooler is packed with fresh ice after every supply run, and I'm continually (pleasantly) surprised by how well it works! It gets pretty dang chilly in there!

I think it was originally used on a fishing boat!
Our pantry door is kept shut as much as possible, and most bulk foods are kept in rubbermaid containers, to reduce the chance of mice or other pests getting in there! There was only one breach or the walls that I know of...but that's another story for another time.

In previous years they only had a tent with zipper...I'm spoiled. 
Bleach has become my best friend. The first thing I do in the morning is wash down the workspace with hot bleach water. More than once I've seen muddy little pawprints (I suspect a mink) across the countertop in the morning.
The dish shelves and coffee/tea station...we're pretty fancy :) 
All the food waste goes into the garbage can. I hate to throw out perfectly good food, so we try and save what we can, but without refrigeration you have to be very careful about leftovers...unfortunately a lot of stuff does get tossed. Composting doesn't work out here (they tried last year, apparently, but the animals were getting into it) so now it all goes in the bin. After the bag is full, it goes in the big blue box until its carted out by boat, and thrown into the dumpster at main camp! Its a lot of work, but we try and do it regularly enough so that its never overwhelming (we learned this the hard way...all I'll say is, "Maggots"). Same for the recycling.

There's always a surprise waiting for you inside...
Dishwater, old coffee, juice, and other water-based waste gets thrown into the "slop pit". Its really disgusting over there, especially when it gets really full after a week of rain! I warn the dish crew about tossing cutlery/scrubbies/cloths out with the dishwater...because they will have to go fishing if that happens! The rule is you have to retrieve the old one before you get a new one. And believe me, when they are scrubbing baked-on grease off the bacon pan, they want steel wool!

You don't want to see the slop me. Look instead upon our lovely sink.
All our water comes from a stream up on the hill, that eventually feeds into the lake. I've never been to the top, but apparently its quite a hike. There is a preliminary filter to catch leaves and such, and then the water runs down the pipe to our tank, where it goes through a much more intense filter which we change fairly often. The tank holds 165 liters, and we add 1/4 cup bleach to each full tank to kill off any Beaver Fever that might be lurking around. Depending on the camp, we might go through a tank a day, but we try and be pretty good about conserving our water.

You know the filter needs to be changed when it takes 2 hours to fill this thing.
This year Woodsman got a few upgrades, one being a propane hot water heater instead of the big old rusty "Missionary Pot" that was fueled by wood! I was so thankful for this lovely new was much easier this way.

Because this water was either going to be boiled or used for dishes, it didn't go through the same sanitation process as the drinking water from the main water tank. 
The propane stove was also replaced this year. The old stove was a beast with 2 settings: on or off. It could take hours to bake anything. I was lucky enough to have this new-to-us stove installed this works beautifully!
Oh the adventures I have had with this oven! 
At the very back of the Cook Tent you will find my Living Room. It was equipped with camp chairs, our "coffee table" rubbermaid tote, and basins for our nightly footbath.

Many a discussion and footbath has been had.
At the end of the day, when the pace finally slows, you might even find weary cooks sitting here.
My lovely assistant, Gil. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow! Pretty intense!