A Journey Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow at 4pm I begin my week at Camp Sunshine. I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I’m terrified, if not I’ll re-iterate- I’m terrified.

I’m uneasy about some things, like sharing a room with strangers ( I snore, its bad, deviated septum bad), and I’m afraid my broken finger tip is going to be painful and annoying and that my shitty knees are going to act up, and that I’ll have forgotten something important or I’ll curse in front of the kids or worse the parents. I’m going to miss my husband, own bed and my cats and even little Pudgie the budgie. But none of that scares me. That’s just housekeeping.


What scares me is the necessary loss of ego that a journey like this requires. This is not about ME, the ME that needs approval and encouragement, the ME that posts pictures of her food on Instagram and delights when strangers “like” it. The ME who worries if she looks fat in that or whether her hair still looks like Justin Beiber meets Countess LuAnn.

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I am bound to this sense of self through all of my securities and insecurities and in order to give fully I’m going to have to let go  of the “I”. None of that will really matter, because nothing I will do this week will be about ME, in that sense, the “I”needs to be replaced with who I really am and what I have to give.

Some say the path to enlightenment is a series of lessons designed to instigate the loss of ego. In order to become a part of the whole that self awareness of fears, wants and needs must evaporate. And that is scary scary shit, letting go of fear is not easy.

So many of us are ruled by fear, fear of disappointment, of pain, of failure, of success, of happiness, of doubt, of death, of loneliness – so this week I have to put away my fears and just be, which is really hard.

The children and their families live with a daily sense of fear that cannot compare to my fear that I’m being judged for not being pretty enough or thin enough or well dressed enough.  Whether my knife kit is worn and ragged is not important. It’s important that it holds my knives and that it, as well as, I, am there to do what I went there to do and that is to have fun with these kids!

So that is what is gonna happen!

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This is my SandWITCH hat.

My costume for the masquerade is mostly done, my knives are sharpened, by tonight my bags will be packed and my food story cookies will be baked, I’ll get a pedicure and some last minute provisions tomorrow and be on the road by 3:00 ready to go through the rabbit hole…stepping into a world that will be as familiar as it will be strange.

My food story-

As a way to introduce ourselves to the other chefs we have all been asked to bring something edible to tell our food story. I really had a hard time with this, it seems my story is long and winding it has no definitive beginning, it branches out in one area then doubles back– my food story takes place in NYC and Long Island, in India and Philadelphia, in Maine, in Seattle, in Northern California, at my mother’s house,  in my grandmothers’ kitchens, in my father’s house, my food story is written on Chinese take-out containers, wax deli paper, slim-fast cans and sheet pans. Should I make bialys? Or kasha varnishkes ? (My husband tells me that no one wants that).What about pastrami ? Or toast with condensed milk . Maybe I should have started a batch of my grandfather’s wishniak 2 months ago. Maybe Bella’s apple cake with plums or Poppa Hy’s matzoh brei, Or my parents Chinese pork garlic bread sandwiches? What about my salted nutella & hazelnut budino? The smoky fried chickpeas from my first Food 52 win? Or something with blueberries because I live in Maine or should I  roast a turkey or make a porchetta? Then I remembered and I looked in my email…..

RE: Cookies

Ira Waks <IWaks@jackrussellgroup.com>


to me
 Very good better than aunt lola


Not Quite Aunt Lola’s Rye Miso Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3 C AP flour
  • 1 C rye flour
  • .5 # butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 T blond miso
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 C granulated sugar
  • 3 C dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt +
  • 1 cup semi -sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bar dark chocolate broken in pieces
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • .75 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • .25 cup chopped candied ginger
  1. Brown butter, while butter is hot whisk in miso to combine- let cool till “softened butter texture”
  2. Sift together flours, baking soda & salt
  3. Cream butter & sugars
  4. Add egg 1 at a time allowing it to fully incorporate before adding next one
  5. Add flour in 3 steps (DON’T FORGET TO LOWER THE MIXER SPEED!)
  6. Stir in Chips etc
  7. Add 1 Tablespoon HOT water
  8. Mix well
  9. Portion  with tablespoon & freeze at least 4 hours or overnight
  10. Preheat oven to 375
  11. Place frozen dough directly on sheet pan, leaving room for spread
  12. Sprinkle with sea salt
  13. Bake 12 -13 minutes



2 thoughts on “A Journey Begins Tomorrow

  1. Yeah, the swearing thing is kind of tough to overcome, but since hopefully no one is swearing it is easier than it would seem. For me, almost no access to caffeine was the surprising hard thing to manage (when I volunteered at a camp).

    I think you’re going to be okay with the ego thing. First of all, you’re aware of it, so you’ll notice if it kicks in. Second, you’ll get caught up in the kids, and as you relax and let it happen, in the end, there will be rewards for your soul. But, it will take a while, just breathe.

    And my tip is to tuck a little art supplies into your packing somewhere, like glitter glue or markers – not a lot, just a little. Art supplies always seemed to come in handy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is REALLY well written! I love your chickpeas. I love your cookies. I love your hat. I love you. You will put so much sunshine in these kids’ lives and your ego and both the world will be better for it.


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