Joshua Tree ~ Day 7 (by Kalan Guetti)

We’re in session! This is a guest post by NBTSC cook Kalan Guetti.

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Today at NBTSC, we ate eight dozen eggs, twenty seven pounds of potatoes, forty cups of oatmeal, one and a half gallons of milk, twelve grapefruits, twenty five apples, two bags of breakfast cereal, ninety cups of rice, eight pounds of beans, seventeen peppers, ten heads of lettuce, three quarts of salad dressing, ten cups of salsa, three bags of chips, ninety nine tortillas, six cups of sour cream, one head of celery, ten sweet potatoes, six cauliflowers, fifty flatbreads, two pounds of butter, three quarts of yogurt, two cups of raisins, six loaves of bread, three trays of apple crisp, and fifteen gallons of herbal tea.

The day started off slowly, with breakfast prepped the day before and only a handful of people around the kitchen. Our dish crew was taking a well deserved day off, and instead a few of our visiting alumni took a turn bathing in steamy dishwater nostalgia. The energy in the kitchen comes in waves throughout the day, with pockets of calm potato chopping interspersed with flurries of activity – today it was a half hour push to fry enough naan (Indian flatbread) to scoop vegetable curry into one hundred hungry mouths. It’s always a challenge to move into a new kitchen, and familiar dishes can suddenly become an unexpected learning experience – how DO you re-light the oven? Do we really only have two spatulas?

The kitchen has always been the center of my camp universe around which everything else revolves. As a camper, it was a way to relieve the awkwardness of being with new people; working together is still the easiest way for me to get to know someone. Every year it’s satisfying to watch a few new faces become fixtures around the kitchen, parked in front of cutting boards, not always saying much at first, but often becoming the ones who crack all the eggs, flip all the pancakes, and notice that the tea has run out.
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I don’t usually end up going to many workshops at camp – somehow there’s always one more thing to be thought about in kitchen land- but today I went to both a swing dance workshop and an LGBTQ discussion group, both with a big group of participants.

Our day ended with a grand finale: Prom, circus style. Wildly beautiful costumes, mad dancing, peanut shelling, and intense late night hunger. The dance floor was a beautiful mix of graceful partner dancing; circles of goofy, bouncing laughter; and ecstatic solo twirling. A group squeezed around the main kitchen table to play Banana-grams, and others hung out on the balconies overlooking the surrounding desert. I headed to bed way later than planned (surprise!), but feeling once again totally satisfied and inspired by my time at camp.

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photo of Kalan  and kitchen goodness by Reanna Alder; photo of Amandla cracking eggs by Kalan Guetti.
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