(written early March)
I’ve always been fascinated by what we remember from childhood – which little snippets of life our brains hang onto for years and years. Often, they are small and seemingly insignificant. I don’t remember my first day of school, but I remember learning the “16 Counties” song in kindergarten. I don’t remember meeting my baby sister for the first time, but I remember being allowed to pick out a toy before we went to the hospital (a travel barbie with suitcase and pink blazer). I don’t remember much about the meals my family shared, but I remember, quite vividly, the chicken pies that my grandfather brought to camp throughout the summers of my childhood.
For non-Mainers, a “camp” is what you know as a “cottage”, or “lake house”, and a chicken pie is a chicken pot pie. My extended family shares a camp on Lake Wassokeag, in the small Maine town of Dexter where my mother and her three sisters grew up. I spent my summers on the shores of that lake – a hazy blur of swimming, catching crawfish, shucking corn, and shelling peas. We would have made and eaten countless meals at camp, but it’s the chicken pies that stand out in my mind with perfect clarity. Rich and delicious with a flaky crust, they, along with soft serve vanilla ice cream cones with chocolate jimmies, were the stuff my summers were made of.