Sunday, July 10, 2011

the planting chronicles: part 1 - the dreaded lunch table

So, while I am aware I said I would post from my current life in the bush, I have sadly either not had the time or have had weak or no internet. But the time has finally come to shed some light on my life as a treeplanting cook. And what better way to start than the dreaded lunch table.

So every morning my co-cook and I get up at 4 am to prepare breakfast and around 5:20 am, put out a lunch table for the planters to pack a lunch for the block (that's where they go to work...be prepared for alot of planter lingo!).  From camp to camp, well at least in the company I work for, there's a list of standard fare that is usually on the lunch table. These include egg salad, tuna salad, boiled eggs, a meat tray, a cheese tray, hummus, carrot and celery sticks, orange sections, a treat (think mint brownies or rice krispie squares or chocolate chip squares...the list is endless) , GORP (good ol' raisins and peanuts but these days GORP can include anything from dried fruit and nuts, to chocolate, to candy and even some bits n' bites type goodies), spreads such as pesto or a flavoured cream cheese, pickles, onions, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, a fruit box of apples, oranges, and bananas, peanut butter, jam, something we like to call power spread (a mix of pb, coconut, chocolate chips, and honey), a selection of breads, wraps, pita, buns, and of course the requisite condiments. But, liking more variety, our lunch table also includes veggie pate, usually a baked tofu like sesame tofu, olives, beets, hot peppers, shredded carrot, sometimes artichokes, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, sauerkraut, horseradish, bean salad, pineapple tidbits, chipotle mayo, cinnamon butter, sometimes nutella, sometimes spinach and/or avocado, a selection of hot sauces, and always grapefruit sections. And sometimes when there are leftovers, they also make an appearance on the lunch table. We even have a planter at present who puts whatever leftovers are on the  table into a pita. Like a lasagna pita! It's rather amusing. While all of this may sound amazing, it's easy for planters to get tired of sandwiches. I know I would if I had to eat them every day for three months. But then again, you always have those that day after day eat nothing but pb and j sammies. In case, you have no concept of planting, you physically have to bend over thousands of time a day at 10-11 cents a pop. Think about doing that after eating a sandwich of meat and cheese that has been sitting in the sun for hours. Not so appetizing!

the lunch table pre-7am
So to continue with the story, at 6 am when the planters awake, the lunch table is immaculate. Check it out. Everything in it's place. But alas, there comes a time at 7 am when the planters depart that we go into the mess tent and finally witness the mayhem. ( I actually can't go in there while the majority of planters are making their lunch because my OCD kicks in and I want to constantly clean up. Best to avoid.) Not only is there food everywhere, but the tuna has somehow gotten into the jam....at the other end of the table! I am not quite sure how they accomplish this feat but everyday it seems they are better and better at it! We have even joked about setting up a secret camera to catch the action! At least we can laugh about it. Nothing left to do but clean up, pack up the leftovers and head to the kitchen to begin again. And so our day goes.
post-7 am: the mayhem...me looking on in horror
So, the next time you are making yourself a delicious sandwich, think of us. Perhaps a little tuna and jam...you never know!