Making Kafta in the Rain
This past weekend we went "camping" with my entire family.
I say "camping" because the event took place at an alleged "campground" in Indiana, which is really more like a "parking lot for RVs and campers." (Question - are all campgrounds like this anymore? I do not remember campgrounds looking like this when I was a child. I mostly remember...trees, and streams and fairly large spaces between sites. Was I imagining this? Am I just seeing things differently as an adult?)
Were it not for the fact that our four campsites sat directly on a little lake, (and they were amoung the only 12 such sites in the vast RV park) - it would have been...really ugly.
On the upside was the fact that all five of my siblings, all of their spouses, all of their children, and my mother and step-dad were all in attendance. This was the first time since my brother's wedding in December of 2008 that all 28 of us had been in the same place at the same time. (Yes, there are 28 people in my immediate family. Fourteen adults and fourteen children. On four campsites. In an RV park.)
It was 97 degrees most of the weekend. And humid. (In an RV park. With twenty-eight people. Come on, you are totally jealous now, aren't you?)
Between us we had two large campers, three tents, one "rustic cabin" courtesy of the alleged campground, and three dogs. One of which is cross between a Great Dane and an Irish Wolfhound. Which means, for all practical purposes, that she is rather more the size of a horse than a dog.
On Friday night, there were a few moments of utter bucolic bliss, as I watched my son and my niece floating together in the lake, sharing an inner tube and laughing, while my daughter and another niece ran off together, hand-in-hand, towards the playground, giggling. (It was actually a really nice playground.)
On Saturday, most of the family spent the morning and early afternoon floating in the lake, supported by a variety of vinyl blow up toys. (Rings, rowboats, rafts, etc.) The lake water was really warm, and there was a lot of seaweed, but it was nice to be swimming and chatting and drinking adult beverages and watching the kids play in the water.
On Saturday afternoon...it began to rain. And it rained some more. And it kept raining. And almost immediately upon the rain beginning, the power went out, so that the two campers and the "rustic cabin" became hot boxes of humidity.
And in the midst of the rain, my mother and my husband and my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law were trying to make dinner, huddled under the awning of my sister's camper.
They were making kafta.
Okay, okay, I know, you are thinking, "who in their right mind makes kafta on a camping trip?" To which I say, OBVIOUSLY NONE OF US ARE IN OUR RIGHT MINDS. We were camping with twenty-eight people and three dogs in an alleged campground in the middle of Indiana on one of the hottest weekends of the year with two normal sized dogs and a horse-sized dog. We were not in right minds.
Anyway, under the awning of my sister's camper, there was smashing of garlic (lots and lots and lot of garlic) and mincing of mint, and then the forming of twenty pounds of ground beef and lamb and garlic and mint and onion meat sticks. (Rather like a meat ball, but longer and log-shaped.) My mother was also slicing an eggplant and zuchini and tearing up two heads of cauliflower, and rolling them in garlic and olive oil and some kind of spice packet she found at the Middle Eastern market (incidentally, a Middle Eastern market is a "suq". This is an EXCELLENT Scrabble word if you ever need it. It can also be spelled "souk", which also doesn't suck as a Scrabble word.)
And the rain kept coming down, and the electricity stayed off, and the guys tried to light a fire in the fire pit in the rain, and finally the rain let up enough so that we could grill the meat and the vegetables.
And everything was really, really delicious.
But I couldn't help thinking that it would have still been delicious if we had been, you know, inside. In a kitchen. With electricity and running water.
I mean, let's face it, making kafta, or anything, really, outside, in the rain, at an alleged campground, is pretty inconvenient.
My siblings want to plan this all-family getaway again, possibly at the same campground, for next year.
And as much as I want to spend the weekend together somewhere...I really wish we could find someplace less...crowded with RVs. And more cabin but less "rustic".
Anybody know of any nice cabins for rent in a pretty place that sleeps 28 people and is within a few hours drive of Lake Erie?