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  • Just wondering....

    Do any of the troops still teach and use mess kit cooking skills? I know that troop-method troops have large kitchen/trailer setups, patrol-method have their dutch ovens and small stoves, but are there any yet using/cooking in mess kits?

    Stosh

  • #2
    Yep. We run the gammut. From D/O, to grill, to kit, to cup, to nuthun but coals (I can still taste the steak/fish). The boys are responsible for choosing the kit(s) they will use for a particular activity.

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    • #3
      We do mostly one-pot cooking on backpacking trips, although not necessarily using a traditional mess kit.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
        Do any of the troops still teach and use mess kit cooking skills? I know that troop-method troops have large kitchen/trailer setups, patrol-method have their dutch ovens and small stoves, but are there any yet using/cooking in mess kits?

        Stosh
        We try to use the old-school methods of trail cooking. Hard to find actual food to cook. Most food is dehydrated, so boil and eat. Some are reconstituted, cook and eat. It is hard to convince the boys to do the latter when the former is easier, faster and less clean up. The advent of JetBoil and instant food makes selling trail cooking tough. Philmont does not service to this with their potatoe and oatmeal menus.

        When we do trail cook we try to work in some fishing so the guys can do some actual messkit trail cooking. The downside is the recent mess kits are so cheap (read: Chinese excrement) that I would not want to eat off of them, let alone subject that metal to heat and my food. Lord knows what carcinagines we are ingesting.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
          Do any of the troops still teach and use mess kit cooking skills? I know that troop-method troops have large kitchen/trailer setups, patrol-method have their dutch ovens and small stoves, but are there any yet using/cooking in mess kits?
          Stosh
          We do patrol cooking with dutch ovens and cast iron skillets. On backpacking trips, we do instant mashed potatoes/stovetop stuffing/ramen with foil pouches of spam/chicken/tuna/beef crumbles or summer sausage. The problem with mess kit cooking is the poor quality of most mess kits.

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          • #6
            Does anybody or their youth make their own mess kits? My high school buddies would occupy their time in metal shop spinning bowls. An entire custom kit would not have been far fetched.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post

              We try to use the old-school methods of trail cooking. Hard to find actual food to cook. Most food is dehydrated, so boil and eat. Some are reconstituted, cook and eat. It is hard to convince the boys to do the latter when the former is easier, faster and less clean up. The advent of JetBoil and instant food makes selling trail cooking tough. Philmont does not service to this with their potatoe and oatmeal menus.

              When we do trail cook we try to work in some fishing so the guys can do some actual messkit trail cooking. The downside is the recent mess kits are so cheap (read: Chinese excrement) that I would not want to eat off of them, let alone subject that metal to heat and my food. Lord knows what carcinagines we are ingesting.
              ??? People have been using aluminum mess kits for years and not died from cancer. What carcinogens are there in aluminum? By the way, most troop pots are made of the same material.....

              And I've been to Philmont and it is obvious the menus are designed for calories, not flavor. I just don't like to suffer that much and tend to want to enjoy the meals on scout activities. And when seriously doing the hiking thing, I leave the stove, fuel and cookware at home anyway. I'll trade the weight of good food over the flavor of freeze-dried any day.

              Stosh

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              • #8
                Originally posted by perdidochas View Post
                We do patrol cooking with dutch ovens and cast iron skillets. On backpacking trips, we do instant mashed potatoes/stovetop stuffing/ramen with foil pouches of spam/chicken/tuna/beef crumbles or summer sausage. The problem with mess kit cooking is the poor quality of most mess kits.
                We're in a similar situation. With an aging set of camp stoves, and the need to invest more money, I (as CC) proposed to our SM that we start approaching a set of 3 cooking methods: 1) cast iron dutch ovens, skillets (a few new purchases, less than $200 total), 2) cooking one-pot meals over open fires (using the old 10qt trail chef pots we have), and utensil-less cooking ("meat on a stick", one of our favorites, and foil-pack meals), and 3) start using portable stoves, in cooking groups of 4, with 4qt and 2qt trail chef pots (backpacking stoves, new purchases, less than $300 total)

                So far, so good. We could use another set of cast iron for a new patrol, and we'll eventually need some more stoves. But our guys are really starting to love cooking on cast iron. They've been reinforcing fire-building every chance they get (and are pretty good at it), and the expenses haven't been too heavy.

                Would lave to have some renegades, even a patrol, say "hey, let's try using our mess kits".

                Guy

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jblake47 View Post

                  ??? People have been using aluminum mess kits for years and not died from cancer. What carcinogens are there in aluminum? By the way, most troop pots are made of the same material.....

                  And I've been to Philmont and it is obvious the menus are designed for calories, not flavor. I just don't like to suffer that much and tend to want to enjoy the meals on scout activities. And when seriously doing the hiking thing, I leave the stove, fuel and cookware at home anyway. I'll trade the weight of good food over the flavor of freeze-dried any day.

                  Stosh
                  With the chinese stuff, I don't think he's worried about aluminum. I think he's worried about other impurities, like lead or other heavy metals.

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                  • #10
                    You can say that about any of the products coming out of China these days.

                    Stosh

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
                      You can say that about any of the products coming out of China these days.

                      Stosh
                      I do, and try my best to at least avoid ingesting anything knowingly produced in China, or putting lotions from there on my skin. I won't buy utensils from China either.

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                      • #12
                        You bet we do. We don't recommend mess kits per se, but a kit of stuff purpose bought and stored in a gallon sized freezer bag. A metal plate; aluminum, stainless or titanium, whichever they can afford, a plastic cup, a metal bowl for boiling water and eating out of, a long handled metal spoon, pot holder and small green scrub pad. Use it for plop camping and hiking. It will last a lifetime, for just a few dollars more.

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                        • #13
                          When I go along on an adult outing as their GrubMaster, I have a plastic bin just he right size to fit into one of the old BSA Yucca packs. In that bin I have all the fixin's for a camp kitchen. Bowls, spoons, light-weight cooking utensils, etc. I have even taken it along on backpacking treks and worn it on the chest. Works really nice for weekend treks, but I'd leave it hope on an extended trek. There's also an ulterior motive for taking it. The other guys carry the heavier food items and I take the light-weight kitchen.

                          Stosh

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                          • #14
                            If you plan on doing any cooking on camp stoves, non-stick is a bad idea. Small camp stoves tend to produce hot spots on cookware, and if Teflon gets too hot, that is bad.

                            For a decent mess kit cheap, look for US Army mess kits at surplus stores.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rick_in_CA View Post
                              If you plan on doing any cooking on camp stoves, non-stick is a bad idea. Small camp stoves tend to produce hot spots on cookware, and if Teflon gets too hot, that is bad.

                              For a decent mess kit cheap, look for US Army mess kits at surplus stores.
                              The old WWII mess kits are steel. I use mine all the time and they are shaped such as to handle storing the knife, fork and spoon. The cup/boiler was added to the WWII canteen bottom. It's a nice setup if you can find them.

                              Stosh

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