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For the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe. We’re pretty relaxed over here, and stories and photos are as welcome as menus and recipes.When your Food on Fridays contribution is ready, just grab the broccoli button (My daughter doesn’t quite have the new one ready, and now a second daughter wants to battle it out by offering her own version! Until they’re ready, grab the big one above or smaller option at the bottom) to paste at the top of your post. It ties us together visually.Then fill in the boxes of this linky tool to join the fun!
Food on Fridays with Ann
When we vacation, we usually camp. And we like almost everything about camping except the cooking and clean-up.I would sigh to my friends after a trip and say, “My dream is to find a beautiful place we can camp, where I don’t have to cook. That would be perfect.”One day about eight years ago, I said this to a friend, and she said, “Seems like you need a family camp.”"I’ve thought about that,” I said, “but I don’t want to pay a huge amount of money, and I don’t want a lot of activities and programming. It seems like most of them are highly programmed and costly.”"Do you know Katie Henderson?*” she asked. We all attended the same large church, but I’d never overlapped with Katie. “Well,” my friend continued, “she and her family go to some family camp up north every year, and it sounds like it might be just what you’re looking for.”I phoned Katie and explained about the beautiful setting and the food hassle and the preference for little to no programming. “If someone else was making, serving and cleaning up after meals,” I said, “I’d feel like I was really on a vacation.”“This is your place,” Katie assured me. She said the food was good, the setting was gorgeous, and there was very little programming. “There’s no speaker or music or chapel. Just a service on Sunday morning, and an optional Bible study two days of the week. Actually, there’s so little programming, we call it ‘Heathen Week,’” she said, laughing.”Perfect!” I said.So our family took the risk. We signed up, paid what seemed to be a reasonable amount of money for the week, and drove north. But it was a long drive and we didn’t have Google maps back then, so we underestimated how long it would take to get there. We rolled in late, just as the opening activity—Saturday evening dinner—was ending, but we’d phoned to say we were running late and they saved food for us. I was stressed out, and when they brought us a high chair for our youngest and set out the food that they’d reheated, it had to be the most delicious, nourishing chicken dinner I’d ever eaten in my life. If we’d rolled into a campground and had to fix our own meal, I would have done it with cranky, needy kids tugging on me. And I would have done it all in the dark. Thinking back to being served with such compassion and attention, I’m sure I cried: from relief.We slid the pop-up between slender cedar trees and went to sleep that night hearing the water of Lake Huron lap against the shore. Next morning, we woke up to dim dawn light revealing colorful kayaks lined up along the sand; shore birds laughing; a green boat anchored and bobbing in the water; the gray-green lodge and dining hall; Adirondack chairs lined up on a porch overlooking the bay.So this is vacation.I didn’t have to think about breakfast. I just had to listen for the bell to ring, mosey to the lodge, and there it would be: a delicious, warm meal that I didn’t have to plan, shop for, prepare or clean up after.Relax, play, rest, read, swim, boat, chat…listen for the meal bell…show up and be fed.Perfect.I thought I would use this post as an excuse to show you a few photos from the trip that have something to do with food…food I didn’t fix.This isn’t at family camp, but Biggby Coffee is a chain we’d never heard of that is big in Michigan. We stopped en route to try some. Two of the girls got lattes and loved them.Quiche for breakfast one morning at family camp—one of many options. The cook accommodates dietary needs, providing options on the buffet for vegetarian campers or those who deal with allergies and food intolerance.A favorite hot breakfast of mine: Red River Cereal, made with three grains: cracked wheat, cracked rye, and whole flax. So simple. Some tease that it’s birdseed, but I love it.Two afternoons they set out food for us in the morning so that we pack lunches for later that day. Some people drive to local tourist spots, but we just stayed on property, hiked out to this beautiful spot, climbed a big rock, and ate lunch together overlooking Lake Huron.S’mores fixin’s provided on the last night during campfire.Cocoa, teas, coffee, and cold drinks like fruit punch and lemonade are available 24 hours a day. Kids and adults alike grab mugs, serve themselves something refreshing, and sit on the porch to read.I didn’t really think to take a lot of photos of food—I was too busy eating it, I guess.
We left family camp and stopped by a couple of other places in Canada, including Niagara Falls, before winding around into New York and Pennsylvania, sliding along the edge of Lake Erie.
The Belgian Wonder exited the freeway and drove on a scenic road that offered tantalizing glimpses of the water. We longed to drive close and dip our feet into the water, but he’d turn onto a road that looked promising only to discover it was a private drive.Finally, we found a little public park where we could stop, get out, stretch our legs, and eat our peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks packed from our own meager provisions. The tiny concession area sold only pop and chips, but I was so grateful that they were maintaining this pretty little place where we could pause, I broke down and bought a Coke and a Sprite as a small thank you.We lingered for a while.Then realized we had to get on the road.We munched on snack food on the long drive home.We’d been gone for nine days, camping in a beautiful setting, and the only thing I had to fix was a stack of peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, and instant oatmeal that we ate with plastic spoons from paper bowls on the morning we drove home.I can handle that.
* Name changedAll photos by Ann Kroeker except Lunch on the Rock, by P. Kroeker.