Ruth's Diary


Yay, today's 4th July. For me that meant lots of BBQ food, cake, cookies and cookie dough. I'm not really eating all that healthily here, can't blame me since the kitchen produces a lot of left over goodies-which we get to eat. They really aren't that picky with hygiene, it's quite funny. Anyways, it also meant seeing people dressed in red, white and blue (only a small number of them did that, thankfully), seeing lots of flags, the special cake actually resembled the flag and looked spectacular-until it got cut up. I also got to see novelty hats. For some strange reason it's raining right now...not typical Maryland July weather, I'm certain.

And now I've completely lost you. Sorry for that. I'm now at Camp Airy and Louise, located in Cascade, Maryland, which is very close to Pennsylvania. The camp is Jewish (so all the sausages are beef ones rather than pork-still taste nice though) and is sort of run by the same management team. Mike Schneider is the big boss of the two and I only met him earlier today-he thanked me for "coming to our rescue". Seriously, the kitchen needed an extra member. (A girl called Lori got homesick and went home.) Airy is the boys' camp and Louise is the sister camp. I'm at Louise. Now, comparisons with the last camp are very likely, even logical. New people I meet often ask questions about what's different between this one and Tripp Lake. (I also witnessed the grape lines working-everyone I introduced myself to would go "so you're the new kitchen girl/staff member" (different every time), apart from a few exceptions. I'm also getting quite fed up of repeating the story of how I got fired.) One comparison is how I get less free time here; I basically get less breaks, thanks to the organised mess that the kitchen is. It works by writing up a to-do list and trying to complete it, the more tasks there are the less likely we'll get a break. Today was the first day we got breaks since Sunday. 3 days.

What's more striking to me is the fact I keep making comparisons to my waitressing job last year. Last year I saw the chefs as being above me in hierarchy, yet even now I can't get my head around the fact that as buffet manager I had a certain amount of control over them: if food ran out, I told them and they re-filled it. Here there are several departments within the kitchen: the waiting team, the dish washers and the people in charge of food (...ok so not so several). Being 'Kitchen Staff' here means I'm kept in the kitchen all day long and personally help the chefs. It's quite interesting: I've never been behind food prep of this kind ever before. The dish washers are all boys who love their R'n'B and Hip Hop (the radio station they listen to plays good stuff a lot of the time-surprising considering I didn't believe there was any decent Hip Hop around any more) and the waiting staff are mostly girls. The 2 teams are all local teenagers who still go to school. I swear some of them are as young as 14.

Now the reason I keep making comparisons with my job last year is because whenever a waiter/waittress gets a particular order from a 'client' (camper or a counselor, obviously) they have to get it from the culinary girls in the hatch. I'm a culinary girl obviously. Now I feel like the tables have turned: last year I had to get food from the chefs, now I give the food to the waittress.

I can only imagine how they see us. They're all really polite, way more polite than most UK kids. While they act mature while they do the job it's when they relax that they return to their childish ways. They were so excited when they kept asking Kitty, Hannah and me about what England is like. (The boys chose to toss someone's calculator at that time.) They were even more excited by the fact we're students. If I was in their shoes, I'd personally see these college girls in the kitchen as being higher-up on the rank ladder (considering we're both older and get their food) and would see them as being cool-cool girls at college. But that's me, I have no clue how they really see us.

Another thing I couldn't help compare is that even in the stressiest situation the chefs here don't lose their cool and go into a tantrum in a tumult of swearing; unlike Robin from Croydon Park Hotel.

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