"The Author-Preneur with Something To Say That You'll Love To Read."

The WOW factor

The WOW factor is an important part of meals and celebration.  Done properly, it can give people a place of departure for conversation when they do not already have something to talk about with each other.

The WOW factor is something simple and easy to achieve.  You simply try to add one little item that opens the heart and the palate to a sense of uniqueness and treat.  You may have a plain meal, but the WOW factor diverts attention away from the routine and familiar and says..."This is special".

At camp it is a simple as offering a new fruit.  When peaches come in and are reasonably priced, buying them changes up the routine of the daily four fruits that we always offer.  Pears do the same.  Corn on the cob is a WOW factor during the summer.  We get to shuck the corn husks (we ask each camper to do one or two) and then we add it to our simple meal of burgers and hotdogs.  The context (for us camping) is tapped a little and we are given a slightly altered view for a second, when the WOW is added to the meal.

Maybe it is chocolate covered strawberries, maybe it is Indian food one night for dinner - with naan; whatever the slight deviation from what people expect, you are giving them a delight, something to talk about, and a tiny piece of celebration in their community of life.



Summer's Here

Summer Camp is upon us again.  We have been working hard getting the new kitchen staff trained in the mystic ways of the camp kitchen.  There have been a few simple injuries and a lot of laughs.  It is really good to have a kitchen crew that knows how to laugh and work at the same time.

The price of peaches has been great, so we have been able to add them to the standard offerings of apples, bananas, kiwis, and oranges so far this summer.  I did notice that a lot of the meat and dairy prices went up this week.  So, all of you cooks out there, watch the summer trends.

We spent some time smoking some meats on the grill.  Regardless of the type of wood used, I like to slow cook the meat before it hits the grill.  This way the meat is receptive to the flavoring of the grill heat and smoke.  It tends to permeate the meat better when the fats and juices are already exposed and leaving the meat.  It does make it tricky to get the meat off the grill when it is so succulent, so be sure that your grill is clean and also sprayed well before the meat hits it. Have a sturdy spatula on hand and tongs as well.

As summer is here, make sure you stay well hydrated out there.  The humidity is particularly tough on all you campers, so drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit.  All of you camp kitchen staff, good luck with your programs this summer.  May they be safe and enjoyable.

All our organizing and menu prepping is finished here, my first book (in 2010) is at bookstores now (CLICK HERE), and the second one is mostly done being edited, so it is back to blogging for the summer.  Get ready for some tasty treats and creative ideas from the camp kitchen.



Refinement of Taste

Fasting offers a full array of unique opportunities for people that they may not normally have.  I utilized 3 of my 4 blogs to ask folks to fast for the Gulf Oil Mayhem and Disaster.  I reiterate that today and ask you to fast and pray during one meal a day until this madness is stopped.

Today, I want to get back on track for the blogs and look at fasting from food at Father Tom's Cafe.  Fasting from food has a tendency, over time, to help us refine our sense of taste.  Almost with the same intensity that stopping smoking can have on the olfactory and gustatory senses.  A heighten sense of taste is a byproduct of abstaining from food for just one meal; or, even a whole days' worth of meals.

There is a sharpness added to the mind if you do not fast too long - over too many days.  Folks often notice feeling more cognitively flexible and supple of mind.

There are the spiritual benefits that come from fasting, particularly if you replace meal time with prayer time.  It gives you time to focus on inner matters or social matters in prayer with the Father of All Nourishment.  It also gives you some time to sit in silence before the Father - a Sabbath of the heart if you will.

Finally, there is also the feeling of being hungry.  Very seldom do we tubby Americans ever feel at a loss for anything.  Feeling hungry on a regular basis may plug us in to the sense of need that most of the planet experiences on a frequent basis.  Like the prophets of the desert, being hungry will make us more socially aware and Divinely called.  Hungering and thirsting tends to build our passion about people who are going without.

Give fasting a try.  Here is a wonderful reference to fasting from Saint John Chrysostom - http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles4/ChrysostomFasting.php

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