I spent the summer of 2003 and 2004 working at a summer camp for kid’s in the hills of Missouri. I was a boat driver by title, but I also taught everything from mountain biking to diving to archery. I still cannot believe that parents left me alone with their children and a bow and arrow. Or a boat motor for that matter.
Those were the best summers of my life and the worst summers of my life. The morning call would blare over the speakers in our cabin (John Tesh in person some mornings!), and we would have 15 minutes to get up, get our kids in motion and book it to the dining hall. Many mornings I would sneak out of our cabin before the sun rose and tiptoe down to the lakeshore, where I would meet my best friend, Ann. We’d grab a couple of kayaks, shake all the spiders out and head off across the lake to the rock cliffs on the other side. Once we reached them, we’d rest our paddles across our laps and sit forever, just talking about nothing or something. The water was like reflecting glass, so perfectly still, the only ripple a consequence of the slightest shift of our kayaks. And then, at the last possible second, we’d grudgingly head back across the lake to resume our positions.
As a counselor I was forbidden to have a cell phone, so the summer was filled with daily races to the main office, hoping there was a letter with my name on it. The husband and I had only been dating about a year, and two months away from him seemed beyond eternity. I would sit each night, listening to the bugs outside. Flashlight in hand, I’d write and write and write hoping that my words would convey to him just how much I truly missed him.
Not only were we not allowed to have a cell phone, but we were also not allowed to bring our own food (I know). The dining hall was pretty much hit or miss, but there were two things in particular that they were famous for: lasagna and coffee cake.
The coffee cake in particular was my favorite, and I can still remember the taste of brown sugar as if it was just yesterday. I remember exactly the way it looked on the cheap, plastic serving dish and the way it crumbled ever so slightly when my fork would slide into it. Bliss I tell you…bliss. I believe I had only experienced coffee cake maybe once in my life before that, and since then I honestly have not eaten it again. The husband hates it when I make absolute statements like that, but I promise it’s true:)
From time to time my mind has drifted to thoughts of that coffee cake, and I’ve had visions of sinking my teeth into a warm square of it once again. And I’ll tell you, if I stumbled onto that exact same recipe made by the exact same people again I’d snatch it up in a second. But you guys know me. If I’m going to branch out and make it myself, I’m going to veganize it and healthify it. Because that’s what I do. It makes me happy:)
Which brings us to the other day. I was browsing the pages of my awesome new cookbook Vegan With a Vengeance, given to me as a Christmas gift by my lovely friend, Grace. I’ve wanted VWV for a long time, and I’m so excited to finally get to dig into it! Awhile back, I unknowingly baked a chocolate muffin recipe from it, and the muffins were to die for, and ever since I’ve been itching to get my hands on a copy.
Anyway, so I was flipping through and suddenly my eyes landed on a recipe for blueberry coffee cake. I did a double take. Vegan blueberry coffee cake! The best part was that I already had all the ingredients waiting in my pantry except for soy vanilla yogurt which I ran out of last week. So, I grabbed my purse, grabbed the husband and headed to the health food store.
Did it taste exactly like the coffee cake of my camp counselor days? Honestly, no.
But it was oh so delicious. I could go on and on, telling you about how moist it was and how it had just the right amount of sweetness – not sickly sweet – but soul satisfying. But instead I’ll just be honest and say that I’ve had a slice of it every morning for the last 4 days, and one day I had it for lunch as well (my appetite has been a little funny lately, but that’s another story).
I’ll still be on the lookout for one of the white aproned, chef hatted cooks from the summer of ’04, but until then…
Did you go to summer camp as kid? What’s your favorite memory (food or otherwise) from those days?