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Living Conditions

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One cook at camp had certain specialties, but meat wasn't one of them.


“The hills were not far from camp, so we went home for every lunch at 12:00. The food was a problem. The potatoes were sometimes burned, but maybe not too bad. But the meat was just impossible. It was so tough no knife would cut it, let along trying to chew it. The potatoes had no gravy, as I was used to. But I buttered them so they would slide down better. What I ate most was bread and butter, which was good, plus a piece of pie that was always good. The cook was maybe more of a pastry man or baker than anything else.” [ASM, 75-93]


Meat that tough sounds hard to believe, but Peter A. Thiessen has the scars to prove it.


“Bill Cripps from Norgate, MB was our cook. He was a good cook. A few boys had to help him in the kitchen making meals and washing dishes for 70 heads. Bill made good pancakes for breakfast. He called them flapjacks. Some mornings we would have eggs instead of flapjacks. He also made good pies. The steaks sometimes were very tough and I broke my two front top teeth.” [ASM, 15-17]


But even if the food wasn't always gourmet, most of the time it was edible and nutritious. And every now and then, the COs got a special treat.


Baking bread for the COs Three COs peeling potatoes


As Jake Krueger mentioned, sugar was rationed. Jacob W. Loeppky tells the story of how one camp of COs got around that problem. The COs had noticed a large number of bees around the camp, but didn't know from where they were coming. One of the COs had worked with bees before, so he created a honey-burning apparatus to create an odour to attract bees. He placed it in the woods near a creek.


“No sooner did he sit down beside the creek, when the worker bees came to load up on easy pickings. With a paint brush Pete [the honey worker] dabbed white paint on their wings. It took about five minutes between trips, and Pete started walking in the direction the bees flew. After the third trip he found a big cedar tree, a hollow trunk where the bees were located. Robbing it produced over a hundred pounds of honey. Sugar being rationed, we had lots of honey for hot cakes in the morning after that.” [ASM, 225-226]

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