Thursday, July 22, 2010
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!
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
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
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!!
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
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!!
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
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.
I ask her if she knew what she was holding. She said "Moloko!! (milk!!) and I said, um, actually, that's not milk, that's "Kley" (glue) and she asks, "What's 'kley'?" and I say "you know, for crafts, to make things stick together!!" and she looks at me like I have 3 heads and I start fumbling-"uh-samolipka, perelipka, sebelipka, dohlipka, kleylipka, " and all the while I'm rubbing my hands together like I'm playing patty cake and she still doesn't get it. So then Pan Myron, her husband comes back in and she's all "Where did you get this??? Why did you bring it here?? Lesia kazhe toh ne moloko!!" (Lesia says that's not milk!) And then he's all "Nu, ta toh tam stoyalo, ya til'ky beru to shcho stoyit'! Yak ya mayu znaty shcho to ne maye tut ity!!" And meanwhile, the rest of us are all giggling. Then we were all like, "I hope they didn't put it on their cereal!!! That would make it gluey!! Ho-ho-ho!! I hope they didn't pour it in their coffee! That would make their coffee all gluey!!! Har-dee-har-har!!! " Good times...
Then before lunch Pani Olia (she of the glue-milk) comes up to me with this cute expression and says "Pani Lesiu- Ya navchylas' nove slovo. Ale ne smiytes'! ("I learned a new word, but don't laugh!") And I go- "Yake?" (What?) and, bless her little heart, she says- "SHUT UP!" but it comes out more like "SHAHRRAHP!" with a rolled R. I lost it. She said she learned it from Big George! And then when she was helping serve he came up to her and said something and she said to him "Sharrap!" I gave her this huge hug. Very funny moment.
We had ham and rosemary roasted potatoes for lunch. The water has been wonky today. First there wasn't any, then it came on, then it was dirty, then ok, then the pressure was off. So you know that gigantic baniak I have to fill? It took like 4 times as long to get ready for lunch. I have to cook elbow macaroni for Mac-n-cheese. Yay.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
At 5:45 the yunachky came, at 6:00 the Novaky came, at 6:10 the newest little campers from the pidhotovchij camp came, at 6:25 the Yunaky came, and at 6:45 the Novachky came. So in essence, we fed around 300 people in an hour and ten minutes. TAH-DAH!!
So who is the mystery guest? Straight from Soyuzivka, Haydamaky!!! I probably spelled that wrong. As I write this they are giving a concert to all the kids in the Pavillion. Everyone is going NUTS!!!! Kids are dancing, people are taking photos, filming, now there's a repeat-after-me-thing going on, everyone is cheering, screaming, doing the Hopak, clapping, polka-ing, it's insane.
Very cool way to finish the weekend.
A message to my friends PK and LK- your little one is totally fine!!!!
To my friends LV and NV-the cake was a hit and I must say very tasty! I was filming the mnohaya lita and serving bread at the same time. How's that for dedication!
A special, heartfelt thank you to all who spoke with me this weekend about this blog. I can't believe that this is the first thing some of you log on to when you get to work. That completely blows my mind. I am humbled by your attention and kind words.
Now I'm off to do a kolomyjka....
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thank you for all your kind words and support. They are priceless.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
So here was tonite's menu: hot dogs, rolls, soup, potato chips, ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, pickles, relish, onions, cheese sauce, lemonade and creamsicles. SODIUM CITY!! I ate potato chips with the cheese sauce. Great balanced meal. Sorry for this downer post. I am tired, grubby and miss being able to hold my kids. So close, and yet, so far away.
Had to make mashed potatoes AGAIN. They came with roast beef for lunch. One more xreshchennia tonite. My co-worker and I are going to sing a silly song.
Monday, July 12, 2010
we have to prepare, rehearse, and memorize a funny, memorable, thematically appropriate skit.
Thanks. Yeah, I've got time for that....
Glossary of terms: smachnoho- bon apetit// dyakuyemo- we thank you/ /smachne bulo- it was tasty// xochesh waffle?- you better eat this thing or I'll....
Those pots that I was filling? Well, there are 2 hoses attached to the sink for washing and filling pots. The GREEN one is for hot, and the RED one is for cold. Got it? And by hot, I mean boiling hot.
We have to wear gloves when we prepare or serve food, obviously, but I am so sick of changing them 2,000 times a day.
I think I suffer from refrigerator blindness too. I'll go in to look for, let's say, Soy Milk, and I don't see it and announce "There's no soy milk" and then someone will go in and say, "uh, no- it's right there! " And sure enough it is! We try to do things in pairs so that one can always cover for the other. Lunch was chicken patty sandwiches with nacho chips. Very popular here.
There is another xreshchennia tonite for the yunachky. I have no more creativity left and we are all so exhausted. But you get this special invitation and you have to prepare this little answer thingy and on top of that do a skit. Somehow I don't think that the previous pani (z ykrainy) v kyxni prepared tochky. Ugh, the pressure to come up with something!!! It's hard to do. And it has to do with that camp's theme, so that's even trickier.
That's all for now. I am really tired. I'll talk to you guys later...
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Deedle-dit-dit...deedle-dit-dit....TURKEY UPDATE!!!! Some of you have been wondering what happened to those 25 turkeys that went in, then out, then back in the ovens. Well, they finished cooking and became a delicious lunch accompanied by mashed potatoes (grrrrr), gravy, green beans and cranberry sauce. Dinner was the kobasy that I had to cut. That came with kapusta, (hey- did any of you out there catch some Iphone commercial with the guy's name on the address thingy- it was Ted Kapusta. I kid you not!!) and rye bread. Yum. Good Uki meal.
Fridge smell of the day today- Pickles!! Today's lunch (am I confusing you?) was Goulash!!!
And Egg noodles!!! And Pickles!!! It was very good.
Um, I do not have degrees in comedy. That was a joke that obviously fell flat. Hey- it can't all work.
So I guess this blog has taken off somewhat. People are asking me "Who's the blogger?" And I point to the 72 year old babtsia who works with me. That gets a chuckle. It wasn't my intention to be anonymous. I was just doing this for fun. Please keep reading, feel free to ask questions, and I will certainly take ideas for posts. Thank you for all your positive support!!!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
So I understand that some of you are shocked, SHOCKED!! to find out that I'm "funny", whatever that may mean. You have to understand that I am trained in literary comedy. I have a Bachelor's in internet theatrics and a Master's in occupational humor Or maybe it's the fact that I stayed in on the weekends all through high school and college and watched Saturday Night Live with my brother. Whatever. I hope you all are enjoying my take on things. If you can't wait for the next post, then maybe I'm doing something right.
Friday, July 9, 2010
So I wanted to introduce someone to all of you. We 6 ladies plus head lady work with a guy from
"the outside" named Mike. He has worked here for something like 20 years. He helps head lady with orders, deliveries, he's a pro on the deli meat slicer, and let me tell you, for the first hour that he's around, we don't even know he's there. He's a "low talker" (Seinfeld!), so that's why we call him Crazy Mike!!! Yesterday while we ate lunch, he and I were chatting. He said that the average age of the kyxnia ladies was lowered by about 30 years with this new crew. He has never heard so much English being spoken here, and funniest of all, he thinks that in the past people would pay Plast to have their mothers-in-law work in the kitchen. Oh, that Crazy Mike...Did I mention that I shredded 138 eggs yesterday for that egg salad? Yup. And what's sadder is that I actually counted them. Oh, and pidvechirok today was David's Double Chocolate BROWNIES!! My memories of pidvechirok from 35 years ago are actually pretty good- those coconut buns, lemon buns, and even brownies with nuts. But these brownies today- not one was returned from any of the tabory. Big George wears NO GLOVES when he washes dishes. My tolerance of hot water is pretty high, but this guy is made of iron. Itchy back!!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The morning is absolutely insane!! Oh- our next "english-ism" this morning was "like buttah" for the ladies from Ykraina. That was hilarious!!! And then Pan Yuri the diswasher, or as I like to call him "Big George" was learning how to say "watch your back" as we all often carry pots of hot water, trays of hot meatloaf/ziti/pork loin etc. So I was washing plums for lunch and he walked behind me with two carriers of hot cocoa. I said- "Hey- how about a 'watch your back?'" And he laughs and says "oh, ya, itchy back!" I was dying. He's a good sport.
Kids are all doing well. The boys are cute when they come in their odno stroyi with their xyctky INSIDE their collars. If I have a second, which I really don't, I try to fix them up.
I'm noticing that the posting times are wonky. I usually post between 2-4 and then after about 8:30 at night. Please don't think I'm posting at 5:30 like it says. We are in the throes of dinner prep at that time.
The word may be out that this blog exists. Let's wait for a reaction......
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
So, I just spent almost 45 minutes looking for an OUTLET!!!!!!!! I am in the shpytalyk anteroom as I write this. It is so friggin hot everywhere here. Today the kitchen was miserable. Do you think that maybe the 4 double ovens working at full blast cooking BAKED ZITI had something to do with it??? I was cutting celery and sweat was pouring down my face. Thankfully we had cookie dough ice cream for dessert. I ate alot. I haven't had ice cream in a while. I also stepped into the freezer perhaps one time too many just to cool off. I think it's 18 degrees in there. Nice..
So I'm trying to teach the pani v kyxni from Ykraina some "english-isms." They were putting cream cheese on the bagels this morning and I told them that's called a "shmear". They laughed, repeated it, and then said that SHMIR po-ukrainsky is axle grease. That got an even bigger laugh. Hey- a group of us old people is getting together for a swim. A swim!!! I'm so excited I could cry. Not too thrilled about putting on my bathing suit. At least it will be dark out.
Proir to that for breakfast we had bagels. Bagels!! And some of the best oatmeal I've ever eaten. Lunch was roasted chicken with said rice and veggies. Gotta go- running out of power. I'm outside on a bench because ther's a meeting where I usually blog from.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Kids are doubling up on swimming times today with the heat. I'm reminding them about sunscreen and water.
Gotta run. Chef Salad for dinner. More components!!!!!!!!
Monday, July 5, 2010
So outrageously labor-intensive. Oh, and there was chicken noodle soup and pudding for dessert. Post clean up I was done at 9:00. And we had our first casualty in the kitchen. One of the ladies passed out and I and a bratchyk had to carry her to the shpytalyk. She's ok now.
Lemme tell you- those kids LOVE those tacos!! We never had tacos, right?
Pool opened today and all the kids took their swim tests. I think Maya will do ok... oh- I forgot to mention...major faux pas this morning. I forgot to give the yunatstvo coffee. I don't remember having coffee as a yunachka, but I guess its for the vyxovnyky. (shrug)
I thought this blog would be funnier. I am so tired that it's hard to be comical. Perhaps when I get the hang of things, I can make it more fun for you all to read.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I am about to attempt my first shower here. Last night there was no water in the buffet or the kramnytsia building, so I had to brush my teeth using my precious water bottle. Outside on the grass. In the dark.
All of our kids are doing fine. I am making sure they are eating well.
Soon it's time for breakfast. Nich vzhe ide....
That was ham, rosemary potatoes, corn, salad and fruit salad. I am totally wiped.
There's kind of an interesting silence among us workers. Nobody is conversing, the mood is very somber, no joking around, no laughing. By the time it is our turn to eat, we are so exhausted that we eat in silence. At least while serving the kids I feel like I can chat with them and ask how their day is going. We are not allowed to leave the kitchen to talk to our kids. They don't want any of the other children to feel bad that their mom isn't here. I got reprimanded twice today.
Once for cutting too much off the top of strawberries ( I did that to save time) and the second time for leaving the knife and board from said strawberries unattended and dirty. Lesson learned. One other thing- my "duty" is to prepare the crates of supplies for the yunatski tabory.
They get sent out not by the tractor that we all remember, but in an old mini van with a Dominos Pizza sign on the roof!!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
The chicken patty was good too. It's now dark and quiet here. Tomorrow is the first full day.
Friday, July 2, 2010
I decided to write this blog so that you could see what goes on behind the scenes in the
famed kitchen. Check me out to see what meals we are serving, how the camps are going and
for a fun perspective on tabir life. Vitayu vas!