Thursday, July 29, 2010

Food for Thought Thursdays: Great Camps and Great Food

Janet here: While it may not seem as if a Great Camp in the Adirondacks is about food, for our family it is. That's because we have spent two weeks there just about every summer for most of the last 20 years. Only a trip to London, out West, a wedding and the birth of our grandchild has held us back.

I know we've been lucky as a family to make this happen for so long. I was sure that our children would begin to reject this rustic retreat on the shores of Upper Saranac Lake as they reached the teenage years and entering a technology-free zone for two weeks would become decidedly uncool. (Full disclosure: our rental cabin did get cable TV a few years ago, but the only way to get cell phone service is to stand on a picnic table by the dock and even then it's dicey.) Instead, I have been thrilled that they've continued to love it and that they've been clambering to return and worked to make sure their summer jobs allowed them at least one week with us in this very special place.

But on to the food: Since it's a vacation for me too, this is not a place for fancy food or elaborate dinners. Instead I whip up — and Rachel has jumped in as she's gotten older — dinners I can create from memory. It's a place where some of our usual healthier eating goes on vacation, too. I remember the excitement of our children when they were younger and were allowed to pick any kind of cereal they wanted. The fact that it was the color of the rainbow and had enough sugar to guarantee they would be hanging off the ceiling shortly thereafter didn't matter at all. And this was before the many nights of s'mores around the communal campfire and multiple visits to Donnelly's soft serve ice cream (one flavor a day: enjoy it or don't have any).

The kind of food didn't really matter. It was just the idea of eating together every night without an agenda or schedule that helped to make the food memorable. It's a memory we are hoping to bring to the next generation of Reynolds, hopefully starting next summer with the divine Miss M. And our children, now 25, 23 and 18, have already decided that some day, down the road, they will gather together with their spouses and children and share time together in the Adirondacks. I'll bring the cereal.

Rachel here: My mom completed this post without my input because I was having some internet drama. It was resolved, though, and so I just wanted to say that I love what she wrote. Our summers in the Adirondacks are one of my favorite things about my entire life and I cannot WAIT to bring M (and John! He's never been...tragic!) into the scene as soon as possible (it feels important that this start next summer). S'mores and cereal are just the beginning of the great food-oriented memories. There have been dinners of fish caught fresh from the lake, a 50th birthday celebration for my dad, G's first foray into the kitchen and a more general luxuriating around the table that is never quite mustered throughout the rest of the year. It's a great tradition my parents gave us (continued on from my dad's family...when M goes she will be the 6th generation of Reynolds to arrive in the mountains), the kind that has sated my brothers and me through and through.

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