Summer menu idea in an unusual place

 You’ll have to wait until the last weeks of summer camp, but I am totally ripping off this idea for a summer staff dinner. 

A tater tot bar. 

With thanks to the Wharf Pub in Newport, R.I., for inspiration. 


Sometimes it pays to shut up

Our most recent US Foods order.

I am so glad I kept my big mouth shut.

When the nation’s largest food service distributor, Sysco, announced it was purchasing its rival, US Foods, almost a year and a half ago, boy, did I have opinions. None of them good. I have documented my frustration of being a Sysco customer and my fondness for the job US Foods has done for our camp in my nearly six years here.

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When a supplier faces charges

West Wind Acres in Charlton. Photo from West Wind Acres Facebook page.

This is not about the larceny some purveyors get away with by marking up paper goods. These are real charges facing a real purveyors.

At home and camp, we occasionally purchase beef from West Wind Acres in West Charlton. Local newspapers last week reported its owner, Josh Rockwood, was charged with 13 counts of not providing animals with proper sustenance. He has a court date tomorrow.

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Quick pic: This is not frosting

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 10.17.44 PMI got a real kick out of the packaging of a product I usually purchase in a jar. Somehow I goofed and ordered a 4-gallon pail instead of four 1-gallon plastic jars.

Look at the photo. This is not a pastry bag full of buttercream. It’s not anything you’d use to ice, frost, glaze or otherwise decorate anything. You would never want to.

It’s Hellman’s mayonnaise. At least a gallon and a half left over after I made coleslaw and potato salad bases.

And the fact that it comes in a bag which, when partially emptied, comes out and looks like a pastry bag, is absolutely hilarious. Now it’s time to think of the pranks.

Squash for breakfast? Yes, for this group

Delicata squash on the breakfast menu.

Delicata squash on the breakfast menu.

Sometimes you just have one of those groups that will put all their trust in you, no matter how weird something might seem.

This weekend was one of them. What a treat it was to serve a women’s group from a church in Troy. As I started meeting them, I realized, this was a group that would appreciate sweet potato bread pudding. So I served it again.

When preparing breakfast the next morning, I looked over at the boxes of delicata squash I bought from Mervin Byler’s farm in Minden and thought, “yes.” I was going to serve homefries or sweet potato homefries, but those squash were calling my name. They were halved, dusted with ground chilies, curry powder, salt and and brown sugar and roasted upside down. I quartered them just before serving.

Twenty women. Nineteen portions consumed. Not bad for squash at breakfast.

Taking a stab at newspaper’s questions

What's my favorite kitchen tool? A new doughnut cutter I picked up at Johnstown Restaurant Supply.

What’s my favorite kitchen tool? A new doughnut cutter I picked up the other day at Johnstown Restaurant Supply.

I’ve long been a closeted fan of tommy:eats, a North Jersey food blog I respect enough to type it correctly. I don’t always agree with him — we had public disagreements when I manned the food blog at The Record down there  —  but I admire his knowledge and appreciate his critical eye toward not only food but the stuff people write about it.

So when he took well-deserved aim at aspects of a Chef Q&A that my former paper started a few years ago, I noticed.

Basically, the paper poses several questions to chefs and presumably prints the answers verbatim. On his Facebook page, Tommy flagged some of the answers of the latest chef, and we agreed that this clown probably was just trying to just answer questions in ways that subtly promoted his restaurant rather than answering from the heart.

Then it got me wondering how I’d answer.

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