So Simple a Kid Can Make It

July 8th, 2013 · 10 Comments · Vegetarian

When we were kids, summer camp taught us a couple of basic life lessons: (1) Kool-Aid stains do not come out easily, while Cheetos stains somehow do; and (2) on overnight trips, when the counselors “hang out” by the campfire at night, they are not just “hanging out” by the campfire.

Things are a little different with our girls, who came home from day camp last summer, walked into the kitchen with a bunch of recipes, and asked, “Can we make dinner tonight?” The menu: squash fritters with Korean dipping sauce and apricot crumble for dessert. Who were these kids, and what the heck had happened? Well, they’d been lucky enough to attend Farm Camp, run by the Stone Barns Center in Pocantico Hills, New York. You might know it as our CSA resource, or maybe as the place that provides much of the food served at chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, possibly the most celebrated farm-to-table destination restaurant in the country.  If all this sounds absurd, it is–but in the best way.

At camp, our daughters spent their mornings feeding hazelnuts to pigs and their afternoons “in the field,” which is a nice way of saying that we paid good money to have them weed someone else’s garden. At pickup, they didn’t hand us spray-painted macaroni art that we’d have to figure out how to “misplace” at home, but rather the delicious things they’d made in the camp’s kitchen: a batch of 30-second hummus, a mason jar filled with real buttermilk ranch dressing, a still-warm doughnut. What we came to love most about their experience, though, was that the camp reflected the mission of our family table as well. Behind it all was a desire to instill some love for great ingredients prepared as simply as possible. “Look at the colors,” one counselor would say after helping campers prepare a stack of those tasty fritters. “Look at the texture. How beautiful is that?” Pretty beautiful, if you ask us.

This is our “Providers” column for the July issue of Bon Appetit. Head over to their website for the recipe. Photo by Christina Holmes for Bon Appetit.

Related…Zucchini: A Hate Story.

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 A Life From Scratch // Jul 8, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Is it weird that I, as a 31 year old adult, REALLY want to go to this camp?

    Sounds like a wonderful experience for your girls!

  • 2 Christiane ~ Taking On Magazines // Jul 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I got so excited about this camp, then had my heart sink as I saw that it was in New York! I’d love to send our daughter there. I’d love these fritters too. I’m going to go outside and will my zucchini plant to start producing….today!

  • 3 Brenna@DomesticCharm // Jul 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

    What an amazing camp! I am now on the search to see if there is one similar near me!

  • 4 Meagan // Jul 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    How excellent for your girls! I am writing because I have finally borrowed your book from the library (frugal times…but eventually we will purchase, fear not!) and wanted to tell you it is just great. It looks beautiful, and your voice is so natural, the narrative so easy, connecting effortlessly. I especially love the memories and reflections on life with babies and little ones, having returned to babyland myself after a nearly 5 year hiatus. Yes! Easy egg dishes. Etc. Congratulations.

  • 5 catie // Jul 10, 2013 at 12:54 am

    made these zucchini fritters tonight with our giant, csa zucchini. i loved them, kids loved them. i’m sharing your recipe with our farmer, who will share with the rest of the zucchini-rich csa members.
    thanks, jenny!

  • 6 Carlinne @Cook with 2 Chicks // Jul 12, 2013 at 8:10 am

    What an awesome camp. I’m sure the girls had a great time. The dipping sauce is a perfect reminder that a simple sauce can turn a good recipe into something extra special.

  • 7 Kathleen // Jul 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Made it last night, everyone liked it (parent’s/kids/sister and brother in law who dropped in un-announced). Good with and without the dipping sauce.

  • 8 Dinner-Pal // Jul 15, 2013 at 5:22 am

    What a great camp! It’s good if kids like going to a camp during holidays but even better if they learn something they like there. I have made similar fritters with zucchini but those look so much crustier, yummy!!

  • 9 Laura // Jul 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    My kids would love this dish. I can’t wait to make it with them!

  • 10 Karen // Jul 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Learning to cook through a countertop full of zucchini is really a basic adult survival skill. And they made you a doughnut? would love to hear more about those sometime!

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