Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Fri, 22 Mar 1996 16:08:29 EST
I've been following the thread on scout cooking with a great deal of
interest, as cooking is one of my hobbies. I learned to cook in the
boy scouts, and want all my scouts to be good camp cooks too. Cooking
is also an excellent skill for a bachelor to acquire; it keeps you fed
better than frequent trips to MacDonalds or calls to Dominos does, and
also impresses dates :<) .
My new guys are still doing pretty simple stuff, but are getting
better with each trip. This last one they cooked link sausage and
scrambled eggs, and they weren't half bad. This may not sound like
much of an accomplishment, but when you realize that previous
breakfasts consisted of already baked sweet rolls, cocoa, juice, etc.,
the fact that they cooked eggs and bacon is quite an accomplishment.
I myself prefer ham as a breakfast meat on trips, since it produces
much less rendered fat than either bacon or sausage, and thus the
frying pan requires less hassle to clean up.
Also, I taught cooking merit badge over the fall and early winter to
three of my older boys, who have learned to make some fine camp chow.
Breakfast burritos and pancakes with link sausage, beef stew, chili,
chicken cacciatore, etc. are only some of the delights they have made
in the last couple of months.
I also think that using cans for 1st class cooking is okay, as long as
you add the canned ingredients to something more elaborate. For
example, you can add canned red beans to a DO full of chili, but you
can't open a can of hormel spicy, dump it in a mess kit and sear it
over a fire for a few minutes and call that fulfilling the cooking
I also don't think it's right to take several cans of stuff and mix
them together and heat it up and call that cooking, either. At a
minimum I think the scout needs to prepare some uncooked meat, some
uncooked veggies, and add some spices to fulfill the cooking
requirements for 2nd and 1st class. Or prepare something for
breakfast that you can't eat right out of the box or package. This
would rule out sweet rolls unless you had to bake them first, juice
boxes, cold cereal like cornflakes, etc.
I also heartily agree with my colleague Paul Brown that it's a great
idea for a kid to learn how to make pancakes and other semi-elaborate
items at home on a stove, before attempting them on a camping trip.
Now, the cooking merit badge specifies that several of the meals have
to be of the no-cook variety; this is to give the guys experience at
preparing trail meals when you don't have time to cook. Not the same,
of course, as 1st class cooking requirements--but valuable skills
Anyway, just a few random thoughts on a subject dear to my heart (and,
unfortunately, to my waistline too).
SM, Troop 113
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City