Re: Cooking Skills
Bruce Harper (bharper@VT.EDU)
Thu, 7 Aug 1997 11:25:11 -0400
On 8/6/97, Gary McBain wrote:
>In reference to Judy Johnson's surprise at the lack of cooking skills. When
>my older son crossed over into his troop, they didn't even know what
>tin-foil dinners were! It seemed that the leaders did the cooking . . .
>Since we have a rather large (50+) troop, we've been trying to organize
>patrol outings to teach them some creative cooking . . .
>like this sort of thing, however some look at it as a one time thing and go
>back to PBJs and cold cereal.
Success with camp/backpacking cooking needs some help from home. If the
only time a Scout handles a skillet is in a campsite, then he probably
isn't going to be too gung ho about experimenting. If a Scout is a
picky eater at home, then there probably isn't much hope that he will
be adventurous in the woods. This has shown up in Troop 56 on several
occasions. Despite many suggestions and past failures, one patrol still
pretty much sticks to pita pockets/cheese/pepperoni for lunch, ramen noodles
with chicken for supper, and oatmeal for breakfast. It appears that most
of the boys in this patrol don't cook at home and Mom pretty much fixes
everything put in front of them. Another patrol does pretty good at trying
a variety of menus and isn't afraid of experimenting. I have a son in
each patrol and my older son is throwing his lot in with his brother and
the adventurous meal patrol; attempts to get the boring meal patrol to
branch out with different menus and bigger servings just haven't worked.
Both my boys are not picky eaters (plus, my wife is a good cook) and
they do some simple cooking at home. I think their knowing their way around
the kitchen helps reinforce and establish cooking skills in the woods.
Like any other skill, it takes practice to get better. If Mom doesn't let
(or encourage) her Scout son to participate in meal preparation, then
the Scout isn't going to get better at camp cooking when he is only exposed
to it once every two or three months.
Another part of _our_ role as leaders is to present cooking as a Life Skill.
If the Scouts learn even simple cooking skills around a camp stove, they
are at least somewhat equipped for the future, when they are living away
from home and eating out is an expensive option. My college roommates and
I ate well and cheaply because all of us knew something about reading
recipes and cooking. But there were many of our fellow students who hit
the grocery store on the way home from class to pick up a frozen pizza for
that night's dinner. I would hope that when our Scouts move on, that most
of them could survive in an apartment along with spending a night in the
woods, with a full stomach of good food.
Bruce in Blacksburg
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 56, Blacksburg, Virginia
New River District -- Blue Ridge Mountains Council
Bruce B. Harper (540)231-4360 firstname.lastname@example.org
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