Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Looks Something Like This

I cooked for a men's retreat this weekend. It was a lot of work, and a ton of fun.

We have done this retreat for 6 years now. I have my favorite items on the menu, but this year I decided to shake things up just a bit.

I wanted to prepare Thursday evening's meal of Chicken Tacos on Wednesday, because it is a crockpot meal, and it wouldn't have time to fully cook once we got to the camp on Thursday.

Based on our head count, I decided to make my recipe times 6! Yes, 6. I don't really know what I was thinking. I started out chopping ingredients into my huge IKEA bowl. It was pretty full with just the onions and corn.

So, I hauled out the old turkey roaster (rectangle). I figured I put the rest of the ingredients in that, and mix it all together. Obviously I mis-guessed on that one too.

turkey roaster, large bowl, HUGE bowl
 I ended up combining all the ingredients in my canner. The biggest container I own...
my canner is HUGE also. It holds 9 quart jars instead of the standard 7.
I think capacity wise, it probably holds 8-10 gallons.
It was only half full.
See, I'm feeding MEN, you know. And I have a mortal fear of anyone leaving my table hungry. Do you think I overcompensated? All I know is that I ended up with 4 full crockpots of filling.

There is also one more large crockpot that didn't fit on this counter. Not enough sockets or counter space.

cooking for 40 does not look like this, but I thought you'd enjoy it nonetheless.
Meres first time eating corn on the cob. She loved it.
She kept mmmmm-ing. Reminded me of What About Bob?
I planned for 40 and I ended up feeding about 30-35 each meal, with 40 for Friday lunch. But, seriously, guys eat and EAT and EAT. Until the food is gone. I had some leftovers, but not a lot.

No joke. (btw, Meres has two new words, joke and cook. I guess I say no joke quite a bit around her.)

Everyone seemed to like all the meals, but the Mediterranean bar on Saturday got the overwhelming favorite response. I took pictures of most of the other meals, but forgot that one. Suffice it to say, my homemade hummus, alioli, pork pitas, greek salad and couscous were edible.

food for the retreat. Everything edible except for the 2 suitcases and the pack and play.

taco bar. The 7 layer salad was a surprise hit. I mean, I like it. That's why I make it.
But, the guys liked it too.

the filling. There was plenty. And then some...

oatmeal for baked oatmeal.

baked potato bar.

large tubers

Meres at camp. She lived the weekend filthy.

meal time
photo source: Dervin Witmer, our officially unofficial photographer
Besides cooking, I got to train this group of girls so we can work together in our VBS this coming week. We talked a lot about the why's and wherefore's of teaching kids' Bible clubs. I had fun. I hope they did...
most of the guys. Well fed guys make for happy guys.

piles of clean laundry. This doesn't include half of one child's pile.
Nor does it include a dozen towels that got washed.
Now it is recovery time. Camp is great, but my Tempur Pedic is (almost) better (best of both worlds=camps with Tempur Pedics). I've been waxed, shorn and adjusted this morning. I am drinking my cup of tea and letting my thoughts flow.

My favorite thing about this particular retreat we put on, is not just the cooking. I love cooking. I love feeding hungry and enthusiastic eaters. Men are a much better crowd than women. They eat with gusto and fervor. Appreciation. Men aren't concerned about their figures. That makes them a blast to cook for. And I love it.

But, even more than that, I love serving with my husband. This retreat is his baby. He prays over it, and plans. He lines up the speakers plus he speaks too. He shepherds and mentors. And, I have the privilege of serving him and with him in a small way. I think it is a privilege for our kids to be around these godly young men, who are good role models. It is a privilege for my children to see their dad serving the Lord. For them to be there with us. It makes this mama's heart overflow with happiness.

Camp life is great. It is wonderful to unplug from regular, busy life and from technology and to sit and listen to the sound of the wind in the trees. They sound different at camp. Maybe because there are more trees. I don't know. It is the sound of peace and refreshment.

Yes, I am tired, and my hips are sore. But I feel blessed.

The blessing of the Lord, it makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it...Proverbs 10:22