The Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwelling archaeological project with EARTHWATCH participants was to go into to a second year October session.
The year before we had a cook but what a pitiful cook. Food was nourishing but tasteless and without imagination. To give you an idea about the cook’s attitude-she had a sickly, listless dog that was fed a vegetarian diet only-no meat allowed-no treats. There had been many complaints about our meals.
This year we were to have a new cook. I was to be the camp manager for the month long session and had recommended Dino A. to the Principal Investigator (PI) as a cook with vast experience but not 'in the field' under trying primitive circumstances.
Dino was contacted. He agreed and was hired!
Amaterra, a group of professors who specialized in archaeological camping infrastructure, set up our camp as they had done the preceding year. They supplied: a huge tent for dining, propane stoves, propane refrigerator, table, chairs, and all the pots-pans, dishes and cutlery needed for cooking and eating. Not too primitive.
As camp manager, one of my jobs was to ensure the cook have the necessary help in food preparation for the 20 or so participants and of course to clean up after the meals. Kitchen Patrol or KP, as it is called, is a necessary chore and is to be shared by all.
The first afternoon at the PI’s "Welcome and Introduction" I explained KP duties to the group and said a sign up sheet had been posted and "please, the cook needs your help." We only asked for 3 people to stay in camp for KP duties on a given day. That meant they had to volunteer only one time during the session.
No one signed up, in fact, there was sort of a rebellion. "I have paid for this expedition to learn about archaeology, not to do KP!" was the grumble.
Dinner was wonderful- fresh salad, pasta and Dino’s wonderful Italian meatballs and fresh dinner rolls. Dino, another staff member and I did the clean up!
After that dinner I again announced the KP list was in need of volunteers. I also mentioned that tasting during the cooking was a perk.
I checked the list before I went to bed-we had 3 sign on for the next day! Yea!
Meal after meal was so wonderful and Dino so affable, the list became unwieldy with KP volunteers. They had tasted as they helped!
I had to trim the list each night to 3 and got sass! "But I wanted to stay in camp to help Dino."