Thursday, 20 September
I am being trained…trained to take over the cooking for the next 3 months. Since Katushia is going to Africa and there Peter has found no one to take her place permanently, I have now been given the duty of cooking for the groups that come to the camp. This week, we got up at 6:00 to prepare breakfast for the class. Luckily this class consists of young teenagers so breakfast consists of cereal, bread and milk. Unlike adult classes we didn’t have to make tons of coffee and also adult breakfast includes yogurt, fruit and different Austrian breads. A new thing for me is that in Austria they like hot milk with their cereal and their eggs only soft-boiled so timing is everything.
Lunch and dinner took a bit more preparation and attention on my part since I have never cooked for 30 people before. I was writing down the recipes (roughly) as Katushia prepared the food. She had planned on making a huge pot of soup and simple salad but first she said we must make these things (she called tortillas) first as they would take a couple hours to make. I intently wrote down the mixture which we stirred in a large tub. As she greased two pans and poured the mixture inside I suddenly said, hey these aren’t called tortillas in English, they are called pancakes! I cracked up because I should have realized the mixture we had put together. The difference with these pancakes is that they eat them after lunch or dinner with butter or jam. They are made bigger than an American pancake and thinner, like a cross between a crepe and a pancake. Used as a kind of a dessert, the kids love them. When I told her that we make them for breakfast she laughed at the thought. She then said we should make 2 per person and with only 2 pans going I understood why she said it would take 2 hours. As she started the soup and salad, I continued on with the pancakes.80+ pancakes later I was finished! I had stacked them in the oven to keep warm and it was the biggest stack of large pancakes I have ever seen not to mention ever made. I was so sick of making them that I could barely eat one, but starvation lured me to them.
For dinner one evening we made a very Austrian dish called Knudel. I had eaten it previously while in the Peace Program and had thought many times that I would like to know how they are made and I soon got the chance. It’s a mixture of bread crumb squares kind of like croutons and you add to that some milk, eggs, cheese, flour and any thing else you want, like spinach or other finely chopped vegetables and multiple spices. Once you mix it all together you form it into balls and drop them into boiling water for about 15 minutes. They are really good and usually you put a couple in a bowl and add some soup or cream sauce. Well, 75 ‘balls’ later we were finished and I was really getting tired of Knudel!