This past weekend I was invited to offer a couple of teaching sessions as part of the St. Margaret’s men’s retreat. The event was held at Manitoba Pioneer Camp (MPC), located on an island in the Lake of the Woods region. With camping comes camp food.
While I was looking forward to speaking, and hanging out with the rest of the guys at the retreat, the word camp was one that struck a measure of fear into my heart. No one will ever confuse me with Bear Grylls. Despite having often been encouraged to take a hike, I prefer to do my walking on city streets. When I hear camp I think Eddie Izzard or Dame Edna.
Camping was never a particularly important part of my early years. I have gone to a few but none have left me with much desire to go back again. One big reason I don’t like to go to camp is that generally speaking I don’t like camp food. I”ve heard people continually rave over camp food down through the years, but in my experience it’s generally been bland, overcooked and loaded with carbohydrates.
So I was more than pleasantly surprised to find the meals at MPC didn’t fall into this category. Sharon Steward, the head cook at MPC, came to the position after several years running a restaurant, and has brought with her a concern for good, healthy food.
MPC faces some challenges, being located on an island, which at time is hard to access. Yet as much as possible MPC uses fresh ingredients and carefully chooses the other ingredients that go into their meals. As a result we had some terrific meals.
A Sampling of the Camp Food:
With such good food, so carefully and prepared with such great care, meal times were a definite highlight of the weekend, and added greatly to the community that was being built around the tables. Many thanks are owed to Sharon and all the kitchen staff. I think this place started to change my mind about camp food.
As for the speaking. Given free rein by the events organizers, I was told I could talk about anything I wanted to. My Saturday evening talk, which was more question and answer was entitled “Table Grace.” In it I was discussing our times around the table as a great place to learn about extending and receiving grace. On Sunday, I picked up this theme in relation to Holy Communion and the grace offered to us in the meal par excellence.
I hope to flesh these ideas out and post some of those ideas on the blog. For now, I’m just going to leave you with a picture of the fried fish that we had as part of Sunday lunch. There’s a fish story connected to this, but you’ll have to wait until Tuesday to hear that one.