Thursday, July 22, 2010

Well, we have come to the end of quite an interesting journey. This will be my last post. I know, I know, what will you all do without your Vovchachow? Hopefully get back to the real world!!
Some have wondered if I will continue this blog. Sorry gang, but I've gotta end it while the going is good. This has been one of the best things I have ever done. Lame, no? But knowing that you all loved reading what I had to say- I'm still having a hard time wrapping my brain around that. If I was able to be the link between you and your kids, or between you and your memories of this place, than I am honored and humbled to be that link. Some have also asked if I am going to return to the kitchen next year. There are several extenuating circumstances, the most important one being that I am currently, ahem, unemployed and will need to find a job asap. If that job is in teaching, with the summer off, then I will have to do some serious thinking. Until that day, please know that your embracing of this blog will never be forgotten. Dyakuyu, and CHOW!
And now, for your enjoyment, presenting the First Annual Best and Worst of Vovchachow!!!!!

Best job- serving kids
Worst job-wiping trays
Best food related job-(tie) scooping ice cream, cutting brownies
Worst food related job- making mashed potatoes
Most unpleasant food related job- (tie) removing fat from ham, carrying trays of raw chicken to prep for cooking
Most tedious job- buttering bread
Best at opening giant cans with giant can opener- Pani Ira
Worst mistake- (tie) leaving breakfast remnants in cooler overnight, miscounting those cookies
Event which resulted in quickest increase in heart rate-opening tomato paste and not ketchup
Phrase of tabir- "Itchy Back"
Up and coming sous chef- Pani Marusia
Longest time spent in freezer-1min. 34 seconds
Hottest task- making pasta
Best Pudding scooper- Pani Olia
Earliest wake up time- 5:02 am
Most commented on blog entry- "Runs with tongs"
Best Laugh- Big George
Best Inspiration for a smachnoho/dyakuyemo song- (tie) I Dream Of Genie, Macarena
Personal favorite smachnoho-Apache
Most misinterpreted word- Rozbyratys'
Funniest looking word- FARTYX
Total time spent making mashed potatoes (approx)- 11 hours
Total time spent making pasta (approx)- 7 hours
Best Bakery- Formisano (Thanks for those 3am deliveries!)
Fanciest dish- waffles with strawberry sauce, whipped cream and syrup
Longest time to fill baniak-5 min, 10 seconds
Best non-dinner dinner-raisin bran

And now, presenting the TOP 10 FOODS at Vovcha Tropa:
1. Mashed potatoes
2. Chicken patty sandwiches
3. Varenyky
4. Waffles
5. Pizza
6. Goulash
7. Bagels w/cream cheese
8. Fruit Loops
9. Mac and Cheese
10. Frosted Flakes

Remember: If it was sliced, diced, chopped, poured, squirted, served, mixed, boiled, fried, scooped, counted out, packed up, "shmeared", spooned, drained, cooked, heated, thawed, stirred, stacked, or restocked, it was done by a "Pani v kyxni."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Luau Night!! And what a hurricane of a dinner it was. All of the camps are back so I needed to make sure everything got out OK as well. So how's this for a luau menu- varenyky, italian sausage, and kobasa. Plus of course the accoutrements: sour cream, peppers and onions, mustard, rolls and ice cream for dessert. The novaky and novachky wanted to luau together so we ended up serving them with not much of a lag time AND the pidhotovchij camp came in between them. Everyone was going crazy for the varenyky and it was tough being able to only give out 2 so that everyone could have some. Once all the kids, vyxovnyky and workers went through, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Everything got cleaned up quickly and we were set free for the night.
Could I get a verification, please, on the following---On Top Chef or The Next Food Network Star, do those contestants wear gloves in the kitchen?? I am a devotee, and was just wondering about that as I was cutting my 27th green pepper this morning. I can't remember!! God, I miss TV!!
For this entry I would like to give a heartfelt shout out to the bratchyky of the novatsky tabir.
These are some of the most well-behaved, polite, and pleasant young men I've ever seen. (I used to teach in a high school and often had to deal with surly, entitled kids for whom I was doing a favor by teaching them. ) Now, not only are they well mannered, I am still stunned at the fact that each and every one sings the smachnoho and dyakuyemo songs with all their claps and snaps and chachachawhooshes without a hint of self-consciousness!! Or if they are self conscious, I don't see it. I try to picture other 18, 19 year old guys in this context and I really can't. I hope they all know that I deeply value their commitment to our boys. This in no way diminishes what the girls' bulava is doing. They are all also delightful young women and I know that alot of time and effort was put into this year's theme, which I totally LOVE!! Today was bratchyk and sestrychka switch day and they all swapped odno stroyi. One bratchyk said to me- "Please don't think less of us!" and I said-"Don't you worry, my opinion of you all could not be higher!" I thank them for having more of an impact than they realize.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This afternoon something happened that is a true rarity. Only once in a blue moon will you see this "Na oseli" (on the campgrounds). I was in my "spasta" zone, starting to boil water for the spaghetti when I heard it. Then I saw it. Breathtaking. Literally. The garbage truck came!!
See, it's not like we put out the trash every Tuesday and Friday. The company needs to be called to come out and it costs an arm and a leg. So when the dumpsters are overflowing, and perhaps even the racoons have feasted on our detrius, it's time to call the garbage man! And I watched it all unfold out the kitchen window. And when I say detrius, there is tons of it as we use all styrofoam or plastic stuff-plates, cups, napkins, forks, knives, spoons, bowls. In my day, I remember eating on china and using real silverware. You guys remember that, right? I guess you either throw stuff out and make garbage or have to use hot water to wash it all. It's bad enough dealing with the dirty leftovers of the tabory. I'd hate to have to go through 160 sets of dinnerware.

I thought I'd share this photo with you. These are all the notes I accumulated for the stuff that has to go out to the older kids.
You write the caption!!
I would like to extend a special belated greeting to our little campers, the Pidhotovchij Tabir!!
They started here on Sunday and have already had a big impact with their innovative and creative renditions of "Dyakuyemo!" So instead of hearing "dyakuyemo, dyakuyemo, dyakuyemo, dyakuyemo, dyakuyemo, dyakuyemo, smachne bulo!" or "Dyakuyemo, dyakuyemo, azh pidskakuyemo, whooooo!" we hear "dyakuyem, dyakuyem, dyakuyem paniam v kyxni, dyakuyem, dyakuyem, dyakuyem paniam v kuxni, dyakuyem, dyakuyem, dyakuyem paniam v kuxni, zaaaaah makarony!" AWESOME!! To the tune of Macarena, no less!! OLE!

We have to wear gloves, as I've said. We have latex ones, vinyl ones and these kind of crinkly plastic ones. I usually just grab whatever's there. So lately, the gloves seem kind of tight and I'm thinking, "Oh, great, now my hands are getting fat? What the--?" Then I look and the box says "Small". Duh... I thought one size fits all, no?

Every day there is a "cherhovij rij", a group that has to help clean up the dining room after the meals. Now, clean up is a relative term. We have buckets with handi-wipes and water, and they need to wipe the tables, pick up and throw away the garbage, and maybe sweep if necessary. What these kids do with those handi -wipes is a sheer joy to watch. They'll take them out of the (watery) bucket, WRING THEM OUT ONTO THE FLOOR, and then wipe the tables. Or, they'll take them out of the bucket and start swinging them around their head. Or, they'll take them out of the bucket and, sopping wet, start SLAPPING THE TABLES WITH THEM! Ah, my heart sings with pride! We all LOVE having to clean up after the clean up.

Lunch today was chicken cutlets/chicken patties/ hamburgers on a bun with french fries. I get to have another Spasta as I have to make spaghetti later. All the older kids are gone on a prohulka, so we are just feeding the young ones. Got up at 5:00 to make those 160 sandwiches. That was fun. I also counted apples, sliced tomatoes, tore lettuce, and prepared coffee-crumb cake for pidvechirok (snack). Now I need to go clean my room.

Monday, July 19, 2010

So I have coined the term "SPASTA" to explain the combination of pasta and a spa treatment.
Get it? Spa + pasta= spasta!! And I had some major spasta today. About 90 minutes of cooking elbows for the famous Mac-n-Cheese. Alot of the kids are on trips today, so we had fewer pots to cook. Kids really love this dinner. I had Raisin Bran because if I had to put one more friggin' piece of klyuska in my mouth I knew I would gag.
First one to get this translation wins a gift certificate for a spasta: (Sorry non-ukes, but I didn't even understand what Pani Olia was saying to me) "Chym zakryty salat? Plivkoyu abo poslidkoyu?"
The older camp kids are really sloppy. When they return their foodstuffs, it's totally gross. The pudding scoop is in the Italian dressing, there is jelly in the butter, the saran wrap is all twisted and caked with crud, the syrup drips into the milk crate, bleh.
How is this for a choice? Stay late tonite and make 80 sandwiches for tomorrow, or come in tomorrow at 5:00 AM and make 240 of them. GAH! We voted and unanimously decided to stay and make them now. We cranked those babies out!!
Today is the third day in a row I have woken up with a headache. Not cool. Hopefully tomorrow I won't get one.