The Food

Cooking for a camp is different than cooking in restaurants, especially for tree planters. The crews go out to plant as many as 24,000 trees in a day. They hike difficult terrain while carrying shoulder held bags of baby trees to bend over every two steps to place a tree in the ground. Planters burn a lot of calories. It’s my job to keep them adequately fueled for the work they do.

Keeping the planters fed is more than just putting food out. It’s important to make the right food. After working on the block all day, they need something to look forward to. In the mornings, they need adequate fuel to keep them going. 

One of the harder adjustments for me was the block treat. Every day, I make two block treats, sweets, usually a bar of some sort and vegan baked goods. It’s not my nature to push sugary snacks. Most of the sweets I make have added protein in the form of chia or hemp seeds and very often nuts. 

Initially, the block treats were somewhat repetitive. I did variations of a blondie with crispy treats to break that monotony. Then, by request, I started changing it up a bit. I pulled out my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and started making peanut butter or fruit bars. I learned to make Hello Dolly bars, and started making vegan muffins on the regular. Lately, I’ve been making cookies.

I’m told that I don’t cook like most bush cooks who make big batches of a combined entrĂ©e, like stirfry or lasagne. My meals usually have a starch, a veg, and a protein. I like giving campers the opportunity to fill up on what their bodies need.

Having the opportunity to put heart and soul in the food I make is why I became a cook. It’s not just feeding people. It’s nourishing them. I hope that what I do makes a difference for these young planters. Feeding them makes a difference for me.

Published by Clarisa

Traveler, Writer, Cook, Mariner, Veteran

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