Last week I provided tech support for a Zoom webinar about Native American connections to the Clackamas River as part of a series developed by the Clackamas River Basin Council, where I serve on the Board. The presenter was Jeremy FiveCrows of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
In that presentation Jeremy talked about the first foods of the Native Peoples of the Pacific Northwest. These foods are berries, represented by the huckleberry; roots, represented by camas; fish, represented by salmon; and big game, represented by deer. He then shared some stories of celebration and the significant role these foods play in the lives of the peoples of the Pacific Northwest. We United Methodists annually hold a Native American camp called Huckleberry Camp, which includes gathering berries at Magruder, which are then turned into a delicious cobbler.
One of the ideas that has stayed with me from that presentation is that those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest are Salmon People, or Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum. If you are interested in this idea you can read more here. I have experienced the wonder of seeing Coho salmon in Deep Creek on the Collins Retreat Center grounds. I can tell you that while I did not eat them, I looked for them with eager anticipation every year.
Food also plays an important role in life at camp. Campers and guests come to know that they are cared for by the staff of each of our places. The food is lovingly prepared and each camper’s need for life-supporting nourishment is met. It is more than the body that is cared for. There is a sense of well-being, comfort, and ease that comes from knowing that others have taken such care to provide wonderful food.
What meals do you remember from camp? What food was your favorite? What conversation happened around the table that made a difference in your life?
One of those camp foods that sticks with us (sometimes literally!) is s’mores. Below you will find a link to 24 different recipes for s’more-style desserts that you can make inside your own kitchen. And as you think about the s’mores you'll eat the next time you are around a campfire, I encourage you to branch out and add something to the graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate that you might normally have. Will you add peanut butter? Bananas? Bacon? A different kind of chocolate bar? Replace the graham crackers with something else? I would love to hear what you do or what you have done to be adventurous in your eating of s’mores, so please drop me a note with your recipe or send me a picture. I'd love to hear your ideas about how sharing food helps form community.
See you on the adventure ahead,
Rev. Todd Bartlett
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
P.S. Many presentations on the Clackamas River have also provided information about Oregon and might be of interest to some readers. All sessions have been recorded. You can sign up for the series (it’s free) and then have access to all previous sessions as well as upcoming sessions.
*PHOTO: A platter of Apple-Stuffed French Toast on the breakfast table at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (Todd Bartlett).
Just because the summer camping season is over doesn't mean that you have to say farewell to s'mores, that most iconic of camp foods. Here are 24 recipes to keep your taste buds in shape for next summer's campfires. From S'More Stuffed French Toast to S'Mores Milkshakes and from S'Mores Monkey Bread Muffins to S'More Cheesecake, there's a decadently delightful idea for everyone. A shout-out goes to the national UM Camp & Retreat Association's newsletter (the aptly named "S'More Mail") for the link.
*PHOTO: Do you really need a photo caption for this one? (Laura Jaquith Bartlett).
Wikipedia (of course) has an entry dedicated to s'mores. A recipe for the gooey treat appeared in cookbooks in the U.S. in the 1920s, and the name "s'mores" was first published with the recipe in 1938, in a publication aimed at summer campers. Wikipedia helpfully points out that, in lieu of a campfire, a panini press can be used to create the graham cracker sandwich. A panini press??! No self-respecting camper would use a panini press to make a s'more, because s'mores are mostly about the experience of s'mores: the warmth of the campfire, the charred marshmallows, the sticky hands, the sugar high-induced giggles, and especially the transformative sense of community that comes from shared ritual.
If your own s'mores memories make you smile, consider supporting camp and retreat ministries to help us create s'more s'miles.