Saturday, January 04, 2020

George's Dumpling Paddle (going back a couple of months)




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(frogma kayak smiley, patent pending)

George was one of the conditional members who we voted to make senior at the club meeting on New Year's Day - and that reminded me that I never did a post about one of my favorite events from last year, George's Dumpling Paddle! It was kind of gray and ugh today so a good day for looking back through some pictures and putting together this post.

George is a great guy and he loves making dumplings, and he loves teaching other people how to make dumplings too - it's one of his family's cooking traditions and he loves passing it along. This made for a wonderful autumn gathering at the American Canoe Association camp at Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park. The Sebago Canoe Club's main site, where 95% of my trip reports begin and end, is in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, but the club was actually begun at the ACA camp, hence our name. The club was offered the use of the NYC Parks Department land in Canarsie in the 70's, when Jamaica Bay first became part of the National Parks Department's Gateway Recreation Area, but we do still have the cabin at Lake Sebago, and that is really a wonderful place. I don't get up there nearly enough these days, but I wouldn't have missed George's Dumpling Paddle for anything!

I went up the night before and stayed with clubmates in one of the cabins that is available for ACA members to rent. I literally woke up to this - I slept on a couch/bed right under this window and this is what I saw when I first sat up after waking up. I really need to come up here more often. 

You can see the layout of the cabin a little better here. I'm standing in the corner where the kitchen is, and there's a room with bunks around the corner to the left. The guys took the bunkroom, Barbara and I took the couches. You can see that I'm not joking about waking up, sitting up, and seeing that view! 

Those of us who were here early helped George set up in the lodge up at the top of the road into camp. He'd decided to switch things around, having the lesson first, then the paddle, which made so much sense - you can see that this took some serious setting up, an hour and a half isn't really enough time for a good paddle (half of that time can get eaten up just with moving boats, fitting boats, and launching) plus for people who were coming up in the morning, it was going to be tricky to get to the camp in time for a 10 am launch. Lesson first worked great!

And we're off! George started off with an intro, talking about how dumpling making is woven into some of his fondest family memories, and about the ingredients he'd gathered for us.

Here, he's showing how to wrap the dumplings we're going to make - btw that's Andrew in the background, they are a great couple and Andrew was helping out with George's event on this day. They were both voted in as senior members at the New Year's Day meeting. 

The first dumplings out of the pot

After mixing up the beef and vegetarian fillings and showing us the basics, George split up the fillings and wrappers among the tables. Here's Team Vegetarian showing how us how it's done! 

George stops by one of the beef dumpling tables (this was my table) to offer a few more pointers

My first dumpling, hooray!

Another happy wrapper! 

It seemed like we had an endless bowl of filling and an endless stack of wrappers when we started, but with all of us working together it wasn't that long before we had a beautiful platter ready for the pot.

Into the pot! 

Barbara and Andrew tending the vegetarian dumplings (separate pots, of course)

Wrappers, wrapped beef dumplings, and a tray of dumpling hot from the kettle, with hoisin and hot sauce. Yum!

We wrapped and cooked and ate and wrapped and cooked and ate until the dumplings were all cooked and we were all stuffed - and then the lake was waiting for us when we were done. And it was GORGEOUS. Foliage wasn't peak yet but there was enough for a lovely shoreline, and everything glowed. We had a great paddle - there was a canoe capsize, the occupants of the boat were inexperienced but they were great sports about it, the lake water wasn't that cold yet, and it was actually kind of fun working together to empty their boat and get them back into it - we did end up taking them back to the dock so they could change into dry clothes and warm up, and then some of us went back out for a bit longer as the light went into that late-afternoon fall day glow. The Sebago gang reconvened at the Sebago cabin for dinner, everybody had something to share and we stuffed ourselves again, with a member who hails from France finishing off the evening's repast with glorious fresh crepes, sweetened with just a little sugar and so delicious.

A spectacular day at the lake - I must try to take advantage of this place more in 2020! 


songbird's crazy world said...

Now I want to order some dumplings ...

bonnie said...

Funny, me too! :D

carol Cassara said...

Who knew dumplings could be such a starting point?

LauraEhlers said...

What a fun weekend! I can’t get over how beautiful your lake is, and that cabin view! Fantastic! Now, does George take orders?😎