Archive for the 'camp' Category

Tree Cases

Last week, my dear friend Jamie and Rufus got married! They had their friends decorate squares of fabric that were then pieced together into a chuppa quilt by some family friends.

Here’s what it looked like hanging up at the party:
wedding chupa quilt

Mine is the square with the little triangle trees, far right of the second row from the top.

So, as a gift for Jamie and Rufus, I wanted to make something that complemented this quilt I knew they were going to have after the wedding, so I made some pillowcases that matched (well, close to matched) the patchwork pattern of my square. Inspired by the Little Forest Quilt I made these pillowcases for J + R:


I had never made patchwork pillowcases before, and freaked out a bit when I realized that I wasn’t quilting the work and that there were all these raw edges on the back of the tree panel. Inside the pillowcase, yes, but still problematic. Their exposure would mean that they were going to fray and come apart after some number of washings. For a small while I thought I was going to have to line the pillowcases, which would require more cream-coloured fabric and not making my June 6 deadline. But then I dug through the box of craft ephemera in my closet and found some super lightweight fusible interfacing, which I ironed onto the back of the patchwork panels, sealing the whole thing up without making the pillowcases stiff. Amazing!

something I’ve been meaning to tell you

1. So after we made peanut butter, we made jam:
pyramid of jam
2. And then we all made bread;
3. And then we all made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
4. We made some cheese:

And Danny got all excited and wanted to make cheese all the time.

5. Jon crossed the road with a sign:

6. Graeme came to visit; he caught a chicken and brought it home:

7. Then Graeme and I went to the Museum of Glass in Corning NY:

8. I moved to New York! I live on the Fth floor:

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

I wrote a blurb about what we’ve been doing with the kids in the kitchen for the camp newsletter–that’s what this is. The peanut butter has been fabulous and each jar is slightly different. I have them lined up in a gradient from darkest to lightest. Our pyramid of jars of homemade jam is growing too. It’s funny to me that I’ve never made jam before, and now I make it every day. That’s the point though, this learning-by-doing and teaching-by doing.

Anyhow, here’s what the parents know.

Update from the Mitbach.
Dory Kornfeld. Rosh Mitbach 2008

Every kid at Na’aleh this session has made peanut butter. Each kvutzah has rotated through the mitbach (kitchen) and as a group shelled and roasted peanuts, salted them slightly, ground them in the food processor, and spooned it into a mason jar.

Most kids like peanut butter, but not very many of them had thought about what the sweet substance is really made of. While taking turns stirring and grinding, we compared the ingredients in the Price Chopper brand peanut butter (some dextrose, some fully hydrogenated soybean oil) with the ingredients in what what we were making (just plain peanuts). We discussed the various reasons that all these things would be added to peanut butter: for taste, consistency, shelf life, to make it cheaper, and came to the collective conclusion that our homemade batches were far superior than the stuff from the grocery store.

Now we’re in the next set of rotations and this time around we’re making jam. As we mash and boil strawberries with lemon juice and sugar, we’ve been talking about local food, eating things in season, the weird world of corn farming subsidies and high-fructose corn syrup, and whether the higher price of organic produce is worth it.

It’s been really exciting to have the chanachim (campers) in the mitbach. We’re making the kitchen a really active and integral part of machaneh this summer, and through the Mitbach Sadna (workshop) I’ve been able to meet every kid and have them meet me, and everyone at machaneh has been able to learn about and get more involved in what goes into their mouths to power them through our busy days at Na’aleh.

New York state is the ice cream capital of my life

Andy at Voss
This is Andy, at Voss’, in Utica NY, where we stopped for milkshakes when driving to Connecticut to visit Anna back in May. Overhearing conversations while standing in line, we gathered that it was one of the first few days Voss’ was open; everyone was really excited about their summertime milkshake fix, and there was one girl who squealing because of how pleased she was to be bringing a friend to Voss’ for the very first time. We kept quiet and didn’t let on that it was our first time there too.

And then, a month and a half later, I show up here, in the Sidney/Bainbridge/Unadilla area (the Tritowns) and realize that there are these magical ice cream stands EVERYWHERE up and down the minor highways. The closest is the Sidney Tastee Treat:
tastee! which doesn’t have as good cheesecake ice cream at the stand we stopped at in Norwich (on the way to see fourth of july fireworks), but is close and now I feel that lovely sense of ownership that one develops for things they can’t possibly own.

Like route 17. I really feel like that’s my highway.

Excitement, advenutre

Lord knows why, but I wandered into Urban Outfitters today. I spun around in a daze for about 8 minutes, then left, really excited that I’m going to camp on Friday. The next two months will be spent making giant pots of chili, wearing an apron, teaching kids about sourdough, and hanging out in the woods where my phone doesn’t work. Things are gonna be good.

woman on the pie

If you have any suggestions about what I should do with the campers (I’m in charge of food-based education stuff), I’d love to know. Right now my notebooks are full of lists that include growing sprouts, making jam, baking bread, talking about the whole local/organic/etc debate, planting an herb garden, pickling eggs, having a Kraft Dinner vs Real Mac’n'Cheese cook-off, making ritz cracker “apple” pie…