Parents sometimes go to great lengths to create special moments and learning experiences for children. At the Grand Canyon’s north rim in Arizona, we dutifully assisted our children with completing their ranger booklets (available for free at the ranger station). This took a good part of two days to complete successfully. We hiked several short trails, stopped at scenic overlooks and roasted marshmallows over the open fire. In the cool of the night, as the children dozed off, my husband read a Narnia book aloud. The kids were educated, entertained and fully immersed in the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon. Easy win. So, months later, I ask my 4-year-old if he remembers our camping trip to the Grand Canyon.
“Do you remember the Grand Canyon?”
“What was your favorite part?”
Yes, the canyon was amazing, the high-altitude/non-desert climate of the north rim sublime, hiking trails lovely, camping comfortable. But the lunch. . .
With reasonable camping rates and great amenities, we booked our camping spot months in advance and enjoyed the budget-friendly aspects of camping. We opted to make our camping experience extra special by dining at the Grand Lodge historic dining room two evenings, white table cloths and all. Seasonal offerings, a wide variety of meat, dishes hearkening back to the Roosevelt era and excellent wines awaited us (also book in advance!). The first night we ordered duck and bison, favorites never eaten at home and reserved for special occasions. From the menu, Canyon Duck: “Smoked grilled breast sliced thin & topped with prickly pear cactus drizzle, served with fresh vegetables & Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.” And the bison: “Bone in – slow roasted with onions, celery, carrots, rosemary & garlic. Served with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables & pan gravy.”
We ordered more kid-friendly (cheaper) options for the youngsters. They weren’t having it. When the food arrived my plate rotated left and I ended up eating pasta. The children ate the ‘exotic’ meat. The second night was a repeat of the first, though the children declared well in advance of their seating that they wanted duck and bison, not the ‘other stuff.’
Last week was Little Man’s 4th birthday. Keeping with family tradition, I asked what he wanted served for birthday dinner.
“Mashed potatoes and corn on the cob,” he answered confidently.
“Anything else? Meat perhaps, like chicken or pork?”
Duck is now officially his favorite food. Thanks Grand Canyon.