When it comes to breakfast, there's no place like home!
I never loved The Wizard of Oz. I suppose I worried throughout about the dog, but mainly it seemed to be a movie about my worst nightmare, being away from home, where, although everything might well be lovely, and people might well be fabulous, it was entirely and exhaustingly strange. There were inexplicable rules and flying monkeys and that whole politically incorrect business with the Munchkins.
When I was twelve, my own version of a tornado sent my life all topsy turvy. My siblings and I were sent to summer camp. Our older, rather bookish parents undoubtedly felt that they were doing the right thing. Camp is a rite of passage, after all, an opportunity to have fun. And it was a lovely camp with activities and such - archery and riflery (it was the states after all) swimming and canoeing…. It was Oz less the flying monkeys.
Perhaps someone should have prepared us. You can’t just throw kids into the deep end of fun without any prior warning.
So, like a dog who probably assumes that everyone shares his sense of smell, I assumed that everyone hated being at camp. With that in mind, I assumed that all this enthusiasm shown by my fellow campers was somehow the way this particular game was played. Like an inside joke that I was accidentally on the outside of. It involved a lot of giggling and cheering and splashing and generally running about. By way of figuring all this out, I chose to focus on a girl who seemed to be particularly good at the game, and resolved to mimic her every move within reason. When she cheered, I cheered. When she splashed, I splashed. This system seemed to be working quite nicely. I was blending in, becoming invisible. No one was noticing that I was on the outside of the in joke of “camping fun.”
Mealtimes, however, were a particular trial. Not an Oliver Twist sort of a trial, but a trial nonetheless. We were assigned to tables of eight in the dining hall with a counsellor at the end. Service was family style. Bowls of nutritious, glutinous, beige food were placed at each table. In the morning it was porridge, at lunch something involving rice, dinner could include chicken with perhaps stuffing or mashed potatoes. Pale overcooked canned peas stared out of the mix like beady little eyes. Dessert was invariably pudding. They seemed convinced that children favour soft, bland foods. It was the role of each counsellor to dish out a goodly portion of this food-like concoction to each happy camper at their table.
There was a fun game at the end of every meal time. All leftover food from every plate was punctiliously, disgustingly, scraped onto one plate which was placed at the foot of each table for inspection. The table that had the least leftover scrapage won an added privilege and much cheering and praise. The table with the most, didn’t get a punishment as I recall, but there was much shaming and booing to be endured. This game was the greatest trial of the entire camp experience, peer pressure being what it is.
When the requisite, interminable two weeks of fun dragged to an end, when ruby slippered heels were clicked and we finally got to go home, when our parents and all of their friends quit asking whether we had had “fun” at camp, we could tuck in to a sensible breakfast of Mother’s paper thin crepes with strawberries, a spoon of whipped cream and a drizzle of maple syrup. Truly , there’s no place like home!
• 3 eggs
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/2 cup water
• 3 tablespoons butter, melted
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon
• 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
• 4 cups sliced strawberries or however many you have. Not essential to the enjoyment of the crepes, but if you have them. Jam works fine as well. If you don’t have either, butter and maple syrup will do the trick quite nicely.
Place the eggs, milk, water, melted butter, flour, and salt in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. You are looking for the consistency of heavy cream.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 2-3 tablespoons for each crepe. Tip and rotate pan to spread batter as thinly as possible. Flip over when the batter is set and the edges are beginning to brown. Cook until the other side begins to brown. Stack finished crepes on a plate, cover with a damp towel and set aside.
To serve, fill each crepe with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream, roll up and top with a small dollop of whipped cream and more sliced strawberries. Drizzle with maple syrup.
Maybe not heaven, but home, which is close enough!