Not the Typical Camp Meal
Entry posted by tbutler ·
Louise and I were invited to dinner Friday night. The campground owners here at Sandpipers Resort where we have stayed each winter for nine years now invited 14 of us to dinner. It was seven couples who have assisted them in improving the resort in one way or another. Most of them were involved in the construction of a new shower house for the resort this past summer. Louise and I contributed other skills. Louise is writes the publicity materials for the resort and occasionally has articles published in magazines or newsletters. I have been the camp photographer for a number of years providing publicity photos and doing photos for campground documentation and history.
This was a gourmet dinner for 16 people. The chef for this magnificent meal was our neighbor in the park last year and we got to know him well then. Chef Robert is from Quebec. He and his wife, Lucy, have returned for their second year. Chef Robert worked for a major airlines at their Canadian headquarters, preparing food for the airline executives. He began preparing sauces and other parts of the meal on Wednesday. All day Thursday and Friday he was in the kitchen, chopping, peeling, cooking. When Friday evening came, the community room had been transformed into a fine restaurant. Chef Robert was busy making the final preparations for this nine-course gourmet meal. His assistants, Lucy, and another long-time campground resident, Marijanne, were servers bringing each course of the meal to us in turn.
The meal started with a little wine and appetizers, an assortment of bitesize crackers, breads, cheese and various additions from peppers to seafood. Then there came Crouton with Camembert Mediterranean, which was listed as each item was on the menu in French with the English translation below. We had Les Antipastos "Sandpipers," Comcombre farci aux crabie et cury (Stuffed cucumber with crab meat curry), soup garnished with pears and carrots, asparagus au gratin. Then came the salade of Padre Pius. The main course was a choice of salmon with side dish, chicken with pink pepper or pork bourguignon. Finally there was desert, a bananas Foster, ice cream, cake combination.
Just naming these preparations hardly does them justice. Each involved intricate preparations and were presented in a beautiful arrangement on their own plate. Sauces provided flavors that were spectacular. I summed it up at the end of the meal saying, "I have never had such a sophisticated meal." So this is how the other half lives! Wow! We were all satiated. The meal, three days in preparation, had been served over almost three hours and we had ample time for conversation in the meantime.
I chuckled to myself as we left, thinking that most people would never expect to get such a marvelous meal at a campground. Even more amazing is that the talent for preparing such a meal was right here in the campground with us. But that was the point of the meal. Gary is a retired carpenter and contractor. He has his own wood shop here at the campground. He helped me with my TV remodeling last year. Tony and his wife, Sherry, are in charge of general maintenance, landscaping and mowing, etc. Jamie and Tonya have constructed a wonderful gate and entrance for our park. Jamie did much of the custom metal work, including custom made heavy duty stalls in the shower house. Tonya works on landscaping and grounds maintenance on a regular basis. Bill helped with the carpentry and his wife, Karen, has created a variety of campground logo merchandise. Garland was also a carpentry assistant. Together all the carpenters constructed and shingled the roof of the shower house, built storage shelves, etc. Roy has been the electrician for the project and for other work in the campground. All these amazing talents and more right here in this community of mostly retired people. What a wonderful community we have.
The owners, Karen and Jay, have plans for more of these dinners for others in the park who have contributed their talents. It is a community where everyone pitches in to help with meals, entertainment, social events, recreation activities and so much more. There is the fudge lady, the blogger, the wine experts, the DJ, the bike ride leader, golf organizer, water volleyball leader, sound technician, plumber, computer expert, welder, truck driver, Spanish teacher, charity organizer, and blood drive organizer. Everyone brings talents and willingly shares them with the community.
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