If you spent your summers at sleepaway camp, it was probably your favorite place in the world. It was your “home away from home.” It was the place where you learned how to be courageous, an individual, a leader, and an amazing friend. Camp gave you some of the greatest memories and experiences in the world.
Of course, these memories would not be complete without all of those meals and snacks at the Dining Hall. Camp meals may not have been five-star restaurant quality, but they sure did make us happy.
1. Bug Juice
During every single meal at camp, we would get a pitcher of water and a pitcher of bug juice. What is bug juice? No idea. We never had the courage to ask. All we know is that it comes in every color of the rainbow and it gives you a rad juice ‘stache.
2. French Toast Sticks
There is no greater rush of joy than the moment we would find out that french toast sticks were for breakfast. We would then stack a minimum of 15 sticks on our plate in order to make sure you got enough before the kitchen ran out.
Whether you dipped them in syrup or sprinkled some powdered sugar on them, french toast sticks were always the bomb. Mom, can you cut my french toast into rectangles, please?
3. Chicken Patties
“Chicken patties, chicken patties, chicken patties, yum yum yum.”
What are the two best foods in the world? Hamburgers and chicken nuggets, obviously. Chicken patties were the first time we saw food fusion at its best, combining these two delicacies into the most scrumptious lunch. Slather some barbecue sauce and hot sauce on that bad boy, and we were more than satisfied.
S’mores are pretty much the ultimate camp dessert. Some of our best memories came from sitting around the campfire, singing classic tunes like The General, and roasting some marshmallows.
Once we reached the perfect golden brown, or completely black if that’s your thing, we would carefully remove it from your stick and sandwich it in between two graham cracker squares and a small piece of chocolate. That first bite gave us all the textures, all the flavors, and all the feels. We can make s’mores at home, but it will never be the same.
We thought that our camp chefs were geniuses the first time we saw this breakfast. It’s toast… but there is an egg in the middle. Mind blown. If you are wondering how to make this dish yourself, don’t worry – we’ve got you.
6. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Camp was the place that taught us how to be an individual, and we should give a lot of the credit to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. During every single lunch and dinner, we were provided with peanut butter, jelly, and bread. Did our parents make it for us? No. Did our counselors make it for us? No. We made those bad boys ourselves.
Oh, how we wish we could go back to the days where PB&J’s were the norm. If your PB’s are just not up to par with the old days, try out these tips to elevate those sandwiches to the max.
7. Sloppy Joes
Let’s face it: Sloppy Joes are bomb. What better way to embrace the free-thinking, camp-attitude than digging into that monstrosity of a sandwich, getting those meat juices all over our face and our hands?
No one really knew what was in our Sloppy Joes, and that made it all the more exciting. Not to mention, that Mary-Kate and Ashley movie, It Takes Two, still gives us an urge to have a Sloppy Joe food fight.
8. Twin Pops
Sleepaway camp was all about friendship. We made the most amazing connections at camp, many that will last a lifetime. At least three of those relationships most definitely bloomed from Twin Pops.
Remember when you were handed the purple pop, but you also kind of wanted to try the red pop? And that boy across the Dining Hall who was eyeing you held a red Twin Pop in his hand. You walked over, split your Twin Pop in two, and offered to trade halves. You probably dated that boy for the rest of the summer. You may even still be dating that boy today. Twin Pops initiate relationships. If only people handed out popsicles at college parties.
9. Banana Boats
What were our two favorite words at camp? Banana boats. Whether you were riding behind a speedboat on a banana-shaped tube or eating a banana stuffed with chocolate and marshmallows, cooked over a campfire, Banana boats brought about some of your greatest memories.
Banana boats are great because we could convince ourselves that they were healthy (bananas are fruits, right?), but they are really just s’mores on steroids. Again, one cannot make the perfect Banana boat if one is not sitting around a campfire, but this recipe allows you to make one in a toaster so that’s pretty cool too.
10. Canteen in general
The word “Canteen” still makes our hearts flutter a little bit. Sure, Canteen usually included processed candy and Snapple – items we can find at any convenience store. But oh, how that rush of junk food used to make us jump for joy.
We remember the anxiety that we felt, waiting and wondering if today would be your lucky day. When our group was actually called, we would sprint to the Canteen line, drooling for the sugar that would soon arrive. Never had candy tasted so damn good.
Shout out to Camp Seneca Lake for giving me the greatest 11 summers ever.