Portions for camping meals
Dan OCanna (ocanna@ALPHA.CAER.UKY.EDU)
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 10:19:27 EDT
Here's a few quick guidelines for planning camping menues.
First of all think of the planned activities and adjust the menu
accordingly. Choosing dishes that can be prepared with the gear
that will be available, keeping in mind trash disposal facilities,
is the first step. Of course you can be more exotic with meals
prepared on a car camping trip vs. backpacking. The other main
concern is any special dietary requirements for the individuals
The main nutritional item to worry about is energy. Carbohydrates,
proteins and fats are the primary energy sources to consider.
Carbos and proteins are about equal, but fats carry about 2.25
times the calories per pound. On most typical Scouting trips
that would not be important but I've read of climbers on extreme
mountaineering treks who took 70% of their daily caloric intake
as margarine (yuck). Carbos are easier to digest and "come
on line" faster than fats which often take a few hours become
Energy requirements increase with activity, of course, but one
should also take cold weather and water sports into account.
In both cases the body burns a lot of fuel just keeping warm.
Now a few of Dan's rules of thumb for menu planning:
1. Remember the 13th point of the Scout Law:
"A Scout is hungry."
2. For high activity outings like backpacking in mild
weather figure figure 4 oz (110 or so grams) of DRY
carbos per person per meal. That would include rice,
dehydrated potatoes, oatmeal, or pasta. Include anything
like spagetti sauce that accompanies the bulk carbos as a
condiment. You can cut back slightly with meals that
have extra fat like macaroni and cheese, but not too much.
Bulk is important particularly for the evening meal.
3. If a protein source is to be the main course of the meal
again figure about 4 oz of cooked meat or dry beans/peas
as a portion. For a trail lunch a total of 4 oz of summer
sausage or luncheon meat and cheese along with bread or
crackers make a good portion.
4. Meals should be planned around the "core" entry but just
like buying a car it's the extras that make it enjoyable.
Most boys like sweets and including candy or a few cookies
on the menu. When backpacking the guys I've camped with
really enjoy a cup of hot soup or bullion as a prelude
to dinner. As soon as a campsite is selected fire up the
stove and get some water boiling. A quick hot drink
perks everybody up while camp is being set up.
Point #4 makes the difference on how enjoyable camp meals can be.
And remember the lesson I learned when I took a crew backpacking for a
week for only $34 each (including gas for a 6 hr drive each way).
DON'T PLAN OATMEAL FOR BREAKFAST EVERY DAY.
Even oatmeal fans don't like it THAT well.
As for the cost, who plans the menu, and who buys the food:
I feel the cost of the outing should be what that outing costs. Our
troop usually charges a dollar or two for gas and the patrols buy their
own food from a menu that is planned by them and approved by one of the
adult leaders. That approval hinges primarily on whether the menu is
safe for the Scouts and the environment we'll be in, not whether it
sounds good (or even tolerable) to the adult. Usually the adults
function as their own patrol for meals and supervise the Scouts from
afar as much as safety will allow. Therefore, what the guys plan, buy,
eat and cook is pretty much their choice. I would counsel a patrol
not to cook pork chops on a hobo stove. I would be willing to let them
bring "toaster pastry" and bug juice for winter campout breakfast.
Scouting, after all, is supposed to be a learning experience.
Yours in the spirit of Scouting,
Dan O'Canna [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City