In a couple of weeks, my husband, kids and I are heading north to Redwood Camp Meeting, located on Highway 101 south of Fortuna, California. Camp meeting is a mandatory event on my family’s calendar each summer. (My husband organizes the programs at one of the venues, and I write for the Redwood Gazette, the camp newspaper.)
Redwood is not one of those “stay in the dorm and pretend you’re camping” camp meetings. There are no dorms or cabins; everyone stays in a tent or a recreational vehicle. We pride ourselves on having a “real” camp meeting, but I have mixed feelings about Redwood:
Pros: good speakers; my kids love it; beautiful surroundings; living in close quarters with a lot of other Adventists.
Cons: tent camping; poison oak; lukewarm showers; living in close quarters with a lot of other Adventists.
Most of the time I like eating, working, worshiping and washing with my fellow church members, but sometimes the togetherness gets to be too much of a good thing. Then we hop in the car for an outing to the Fortuna Safeway to stock up on food—anything that can be grilled.
One of the best parts of camp meeting is that I hardly do any cooking. My husband Jim is the grilling king! He cooks two or three meals a day for the 10-day period. Jim grills everything—veggie burgers, Leanies, veggie kabobs, peaches (the best!), corn on the cob, pizza, bread and more. And he loves it when people come by to eat his food. I invite co-workers, and the kids invite their friends. Jim just throws another pizza on the barbie, and he’s good to go.
At camp meeting, hospitality comes naturally. Nobody expects fancy china or a multicourse meal. Nobody worries over recipes or menus. You see people, you invite them to lunch, you discuss what everyone can contribute, they come over, you eat.
Especially on Sabbath, the rule at camp meeting is: nobody eats alone. Our friends Naomi and Bill set the gold standard. It’s widely known that if you have no place to go or want to bring a friend, everyone is more than welcome at their RV. A number of years ago, Naomi discovered that some of the camp meeting speakers didn’t get invited to Sabbath lunch because everyone assumed they had plans, so now she makes sure every speaker has a personal invitation to her place.
After church, a huge group gathers at their campsite. We sit, we eat (usually too much), and we fellowship. You start eating with a stranger next to you, and—by the time you’re finished—you discover that person went to academy with your brother-in-law. At the end of the meal, we are all reluctant to leave the circle of chairs in the shadow of Naomi and Bill’s RV.
It’s a little foretaste of heaven, a glimpse of that soon-coming Welcome Table where nobody will ever eat alone again.
Julie Lorenz is the assistant communication director at the Northern California Conference. Photo credit: Julie Lorenz
This week’s recipes for Veggie Kabobs and Grilled Peaches are from Jim Lorenz in Northern California. Julie adds, “You can make them at home (we’ve tried), but they won’t taste the same as they do at camp meeting.” For the Grilled Peaches, Julie adds that the recipe may sound “weird, but tastes like peach cobbler!”
Veggie Kabobs Makes: about 8-10 skewers Total time: depends on grill; pay close attention
Choose three or four of the following to alternate on the skewers, along with your favorite tofu or veggie meat: 1 small zucchini, thickly sliced 2 onions, chopped into 1-inch pieces 1 basket of small mushrooms, whole 2 bell peppers, chopped into 1-inch pieces 1 small eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces 1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1½-inch segments 1 small cauliflower, chopped into large florets 1 basket cherry tomatoes, whole 1 can of pineapple chunks
Veggie meat (such as Scallops or Steaklets), sliced* Extra firm tofu, cubed Fresh pineapple, cut into chunks, or drained, if from a can Stubbs, or your favorite barbeque sauce
1. Impale a variety of vegetables and veggie meats on bamboo skewers.
2. Braise the kabobs with the barbeque sauce.
3. Cook on high heat, turning several times, until the vegetables begin to brown. It makes a mess on the grill, but it’s worth it!
* Use thicker veggie meat varieties that will better adhere to the skewer.
Serves: 1-2 peaches/person Total time: depends on grill; pay close attention
4-8 very ripe freestone peaches or nectarines, sliced in half and pitted** 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar Whipped cream, ice cream, or nondairy alternative, to serve
1. Place the peaches, cut side up, over low heat and put the brown sugar in the centers.
2. Close the lid on the grill and bake the peaches at low heat until they are soft—about the consistency of peach cobbler. (The bottoms may be darkened, but that’s all right.)
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve with desired topping.
** Use the biggest ripe freestone peaches (or nectarines) you can find.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5366