I just spent the past week cooking for 40 people, three meals a day. 30 of those people were high school kids. During the week I learned a few things, some important and others not so much. Some food related and others about life.
- In the kitchen, everyone is a friend. Age, foodie knowledge, ability, music tastes…they are all nominal compared to the fact that we are working together to feed an army.
- The amount of dishes generated when cooking like this is HUGE. Always have a separate dinner clean up crew!
- It is so much easier to teach when doing what you are teaching. Both living out what you teach and actually showing hands on while giving the instructions
- People love a good shortcut
- Find what a person is good at and then use it! It will make them happy to excel at something and you happy to not be doing it.
- I am pretty sure that listening to oldies while cooking is the best music choice. (Right toots?)
- 4 full size pans of lasagna is 1 pan to many, especially when you already have leftover enchiladas and jambalaya from previous meals.
- Never assume that people know what green onions look like, or that they know what part of the onion you want to use.
- Dancing and singing together will break down any walls or inhibitions between people
- Story telling is not just for bed-time, it is a good skill to have for any time and at any age
- Cooking bacon in the oven is by far the best/easiest and cleanest way to do it.
I have been a chaperone on this particular mission/service trip for 8 years, 7 of them have been with Nater. This was our second year having LJ with us for part of the time and it was the first year I have been involved with the kids in the evening. Generally up before everyone to make breakfast, work all day at the job site, back early to cook dinner and after dinner prep for the next days meals I would take my alone time while everyone else was together. This year I was a leader of a very informal small group. That should read informal leader of a small group. I was, and still am, blown away by the maturity and insight of these girls. I have no idea how I could have been any kind of positive teacher when they were all teaching me during each of our discussions. The questions they asked and then consequently answered themselves were things I still question and ask myself! With LJ, cooking, working and leading, the trip as a whole was exhausting, but the times with this small group of girls made it very worthwhile. I hope that someday each of them will be able to be the leader for their own small group of highschool girls and be impressed as much as I was.