scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: Meal Time
Bob Lazell (rlazell@QED.NET
Mon Apr 03 2000 - 19:48:24 CDT
Wow! A chord has been hit on Scouts-L! You can almost smell some of the
great cooking! (and it would be a good moment to just mention obvious: It
is so valuable to hear what other Troops do. Even if I KNOW <VBG> that the
way we do something is the best in the universe, I always benefit from at
least re-evaluating a Troop practice, and, as I always tell the boys, there
are many good things in life that you'll never know about unless you try
We basically have cooking and eating plans that are geared toward the
specific activity. At Camporees (we attend the 2 each year in our District)
It is boy planned, cooked and served all the way. Adults eat whatever the
boys cook. As for cooking instruction, the older leadership boys mentor the
younger scouts. I and other adults who can cook (rare in our troop dads)
also just float about the cooking area giving pointers and tips when asked.
Sometimes the boys have planned a meal that requires some instruction, so an
older boy or adult will plan on teaching that skill) (someone on the list
mentioned the boy's "first Roux" I am quite famous for my teaching the boys
how to "deglaze the pan" for gravy and stews) We find that we have never had
to resort to hot dogs and other fast food. The only time adults cook for the
boys is when Camporee activities or other constraints don't give the boys
enough time. This has only involved breakfasts and while the adults may be
flipping pancakes, they are being helped by Scouts.
One of the things that I insist upon, is that all the adults eat with the
boys. On another subject, someone on the list mentioned bonding. Well, a
shared meal is central to so many rituals that bind us together. From
family meals to the breaking of bread in the Christian Communion, we share
food with our fellow humans and it's a powerful instrument of togetherness.
If you reflect on all your Scouting stories (and face it we Scouters love
our stories) I'm willing to bet that more than a few involve food (both good
and bad!) One of the goals of scouting is to provide boys with "positive
male role models" the sharing of food and comradeship is a way to do that
in a most natural and enjoyable way for all.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, much of our camping is what we call
"personal backpacking" We call it that not because we don't hike and stay
together as a troop, but, because the emphasis is on each boy developing the
independent skills that will allow him to enjoy a lifetime of backpacking
(the exception is some High Adventure Trips where planning for the group,
splitting loads, minimizing cookware etc. makes sense) This is where we
experience what many of you described as having the boys learn by seeing
adults (and never forget older boys) cook. Each boy plans, shops (we hope)
packs (again we hope) carries (we're sure) and prepares all his own meals.
It is one of the most enjoyable times for all of us in the troop. We do
share backpacking stoves to avoid requiring each boy to purchase one
(however, the number of really inexpensive gas bottle stoves on the market
means many of our boys have them) The amount of borrowing back and forth of
cookware, condiments and the sharing of food is truly phenomenal. The more
flamboyant cooks among us (yours truly included) always cook enough for the
inevitable numbers who ask for a taste. The range of what has appeared in
the pots and pans of scouts on our backpackers would amaze Julia Child!
Yes, the little guys do bring the inevitable hot dogs to burn in those cheap
aluminum mess kit pans, and there is always one genius who blows his soup
out of the can by trying to cook it without a pot, but, those guys always
learn, and never go hungry because there is always an old gourmet scout
ready to share.
Gee, I went on a bit endlessly didn't I! Well, SMs and food a truly
SM Troop 127
Valley Cottage, NY