Probably most of you know by now that Camp Wilmot is one of the most important places in my kids’ life – and by extension mine! In September, the Camp hosted a “Walk to Scotland” to raise money and guarantee they can be back to hosting kids in nature, celebrating the glory of creation (and the Creator!) I’m proud to let you know that I was the top walker, logging 156.2 miles. I’d love to also be a top fund-raiser for this program I’m so very impressed by, and which means so much to the kids I love!
So if you’d like to sponsor my walk, here’s the link. You can give anywhere from a dime a mile, to ten bucks a mile (well, I won’t stop you from giving more!)
Donations can be made either by sending a check marked with donation to Camp Wilmot for Walk for Scotland. Please also indicate if it’s for a team or individual. Camp Wilmot, 5 Whites Pond Road, Wilmot, NH, 03287.
Some reasons I give to Camp Wilmot:
Half of their kids attend using “Camperships” – Camp Wilmot works hard to make sure it’s available to kids from all backgrounds
Half of the kids attending don’t have a church community. This is one of the only times they’ll hear that they are loved by God, as well as by the great staff who spend their summers loving and teaching these kids
Camp Wilmot continues to grow in the number of kids it serves and the ways it serves them. In the years since we’ve been associated, they’ve more than doubled the number of weeks they’re open, added winter weekends and fall check-ins, and were increasing to monthly gatherings for kids in the off season.
The camp is led by “alumni” who grew up loving it and have spent their young-adulthoods making sure it thrived. They’re already looking to the future, and inviting the teens to take an active role in making sure Camp Wilmot continues to be by and for these young people in nature.
This is one of the most thrifty not-for-profits I’ve ever seen. They know how to do amazing things with small resources. I love that they are also teaching kids to appreciate their gifts and make full use of what they have!
*I just have to say that the day BEFORE the Scotland walking started, I logged a 20 mile day walking (and running) the trail to Owl’s Head
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis Address to a Haggis – Robert Burns
My grandfather’s father came from Scotland to the mountain west just over a hundred years ago. My grandfather never stopped being a Scotsman. He was active in the local Highland Games. At my cousin’s wedding, there was a picture of all four of my father & uncles wearing clan kilts. And in his 80s, after decades of never traveling by plane, he decided to go back to the old sod and spent a month or so wandering around Scotland reintroducing himself to various long-severed branches of the family and being welcomed in with open arms.
As with so many cultures, cuisine plays a critical role in the transmission of this culture. Instead of curries or empanadas or stir fries, we had corned beef hash.
My mother is a midwestern girl, raised in California. But it was another century, so when she married my father she took over responsibility for making the corned beef hash. I think fondly on her tendency to forget the garlic salt, which only my grandmother could spot in omission. Often when we got together as a family, dinner would be corned beef hash (with accouterments) and a pie or two from my mother’s hands.
I HATED corned beef hash. It looked disgusting. It tasted disgusting. No sane person would eat it. But it was served to me over and over again in an era where there were no alternative food options and as a person under ten you ate the dinner that was served or you did not eat dinner. And so despite my dislike, I ate the stuff. By the time I was ready to head off to college and leave the familial fold, I liked it quite a lot. It was tasty (if you closed your eyes). And it tasted like family times and traditions.
Sometime in this century, I made friends with a man of Hungarian descent who (logically) hosts a Burns Night. It’s one of my favorite things – poetry, song, deep meaning and good company. And to accompany the beverages available, I often bring a batch of corned beef hash to share.
I was making the meal yesterday (it actually is better on the second day, so I make it on Saturday and freeze it on the porch. Then I carry it frozen to the celebration and heat it up there. I’ve been doing a lot of Blue Apron and Hello Fresh lately, which produces these lovely, colorful meals that are in many ways designed for Instagram. The contrast with Corned Beef hash was… stark. I also realized that 100% of the ingredients fall into two categories: preserved meats & roots.
So with no further ado, here is how to make your very own, highly Instagrammable Corned Beef Hash.
Scottish Corned Beef Hash From the kitchen of Carolyn Johnstone – long may her memory endure!
Serves ~12 hearty rustics
Prep time: 30 minutes – Cook time: 1 hr minimum (3 is better)
1) Boil 5 lbs russett potatoes, whole, with skins on
2) Chop 1/2 lb bacon (or a whole pound if you’re getting into the spirit)
3) Chop 2 large yellow onions
4) In a large dutch oven on the stove, cook together bacon and onions
5) Open and cube 2 cans of “corned beef”. Make sure not to break the key or your life will be full of pain.
6) Once bacon is rendered and onions are soft, add corned beef.
7) Add 1 teaspoon garlic salt (optional if you’re my mom)
8) Once potatoes are cooked through, drain and let sit for a few minutes. Then by hand peel off the skins and cube the potatoes into the dutch oven.
9) Start by adding two cups of water (see note before)
The best way to cook this is to leave it simmering on your stove over the course of several hours. If you do this, you’ll need to add more water in as it gets thick, since this often leads to the dish getting burned. If you do burn it, just stir above the burned line and you’ll be fine.
Large curd cottage cheese
White Italian bread slices