The kitchen is one of those places where people think that the work is easy, light, simple, even a caveman could do it (as according to old Geico commercials). What the public sees is people serving delicious food with a smile on their face. That’s all that we can perceive as we go through the lunch line, looking at the menu for the day, wondering if I will like the food served or not, and ultimately eating that which was served and drinking that which I chose. The public does not see however the hours upon hours of work that is put into not just making the food, but the clean-ups, the preparations throughout the day, the training being put into practice in making the food safe and sanitary to eat, and also making it all healthy and nutritious! We have an important job in making sure that we prepare the right amount of food in the right method with the right sanitation policies for the right purpose. There is a great deal of meticulous detail taken by all the kitchen staff into making sure that all this happens every meal served.
When all of this is considered however, what is it about all this work that makes it fruitful and rewarding? What is it about it all that makes people want to come in and do it? Yes, the kitchen is a hard and strenuous task that requires hours upon hours of work to make three meals a day for a changing number of people per day. But the result is priceless. Seeing happy kids enjoying their food and knowing that they are getting something that is homemade, healthy, nutritious, and made from the heart is something that brings joy and happiness to those who prepared it. This kind of work is a ministry , involving not just food for the physical body, but also for the soul and spirit. The scriptures teach that both kinds of food are needed and that we must be nourished from both in order to thrive appropriately because we know that God will provide for us in the end if we are willing to believe that he will do so. If this is a ministry that needs to be taken seriously, you need people to DO IT. The Camp Nazareth Kitchen staff has been taking this ministry to high levels, proving that this is a ministry that can be carried out by all people. It fulfills that which our Lord stated in St. Matthew’s Gospel, paraphrased: “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink”, and later, “If you have done any of these to the least of my brethren, you have done it to me”. What the public see is people serving delicious food with a smile on their face. And that’s the way we want to keep it.
- Jacob Mandell