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  • Pack cooking

    Currently we cook individually at our Pack campouts and I would like to try cooking as a Pack for several reasons.

    1) It teaches teamwork and cooperation with the boys.
    2) They get involved in the process
    3) It makes it easier to cook at the same time and allow more time for other activities.

    Has anyone tried this and has it been successful or any suggestions on how to start it? I was going to start with my den by cooking as a den and then the rest of the pack would see how easy it is. I know that there will be some push back because some will say, my son is very picky or we have tried that and it didn' work.


  • #2
    Done this. Our lesson was the foil packet method taught at Baloo took too long for a large group and used way way too much foil. Yikes! We converted to dutch ovens. A few can feed many. Spagetti casserole or Chili with cornbread topper followed by cobbler worked.

    What level is your den? If Webelos tie it to the program, "this is how Webelos do it". We cook and eat together.

    If younger den you might find the parents undermining by providing snacks and treats son will eat (therefore not hungry, therefore doesn't like it.) So some parent education is important.

    Borrow from the boy scout program and involve the boys in menu choice.

    Might want to practice at some den events first. Cook hot dogs on a hike followed by bannana boats. Dutch oven desert at a longer den meeting, etc...

    Good luck, a great change for your pack.

    -- AK


    • #3
      Don't be surpised, but the Age-Appropriate Guidelines has outdoor cooking on it and limits it to Webelos and above. No, I don't have the guideline memorized, but the AAG was just covered in RT so it's fresh in my mind. I think the concern is about knives, stoves, cleanliness, etc. with the younger scouts.


      • #4
        When I was in the pack, we cooked and ate as a group. Mix of foil pack, dutch oven, griddle over the fire, and griddle over camping stoves. I picked the menu, purchased the food, and brought the cooking equipment. Parents and scouts helped with cooking & cleaning duties (age appropriate duties for the kids). Note that we always had healthy snacks out for the cubs, and then didn't expect them to eat a huge supper. Snacks were stuff like fruit, veggies, and pretzels, and we rotated between them throughout the day. Because the kids were running around all day, we figured that snacking all during the day was more important than eating a huge supper. Parents took turns with snack prep, like cutting up apples & veggies.

        Meal planning for a large group is key so that you achieve a good balance of low cost, variety, and speed of preparation. You don't want anything hugely complicated, but you don't want anything too boring, either. Don't attempt stuff that takes too long to cook, especially for lunch, unless you know you'll be able to get it started early enough (i.e. desserts in dutch ovens). We had 3-4 things at each meal, so finicky kids or adults always had something they would eat. Get an experienced camper involved in realistic meal planning, or check with a Boy Scout troop if you need feedback.

        As someone else mentioned, you must educate the parents not to bring crappy snacks along, like chips, pop, and candy. If that stuff is around, that's all the kids will want to eat.

        If you don't have cooking equipment available for a large group, borrow from your local Boy Scout troop.


        • #5
          I should clarify: We ate lunch and supper as a big group, but people ate breakfast at different times after they got up. We had cereal, fruit, and oatmeal available, and typically pancakes or french toast and sausage or scrambled eggs. And coffee, of course. If you have the right equipment available, it's easy to cook a lot of that stuff quickly on somewhat of a make-to-order basis. It worked better for us to allow people to sleep in if they wanted, as long as we had people that were willing to cook breakfast over a period of a couple of hours. Plus, not everyone likes to eat breakfast the instant they get up. Breakfast and dishes were always completely done by about 9 a.m. or so.


          • #6
            When we joined the pack (like 12 or 13 years ago now) everyone in the pack cooked and ate individually. It really limited campout attendance. For non-camping families, sleeping in a tent was enough of a stretch, but cooking over a campfire was a bit much.

            We started doing meals as a pack including all the purchasing, cooking and cleaning. We usually charged a per person price to cover the cost.

            It was a big success. We went from maybe 30 people -- a fraction of the pack's membership -- to sometimes 200 folks. Wrap your head around catering a meal for 200 people while camping!


            • #7
              We always cooked/ate as a Pack. It helps the folks from different dens to get to know each other. It fosters camaraderie, and is more fun.

              Use Kaper Charts, and have small groups (mix your dens, and include adults and youth) do different chores. Even youth that are to young to do any actual cooking, can help with prep, serving, clean-up, etc.

              As to how to start your Pack doing group cooking -

              Get to know the BALOO leader in charge of planning/running the campouts.

              Get on the planning committee.

              Convince those folks, and plan/advertise it as Pack meals from the get go.


              • #8
                It's interesting that the Age-Appropriate Guidelines say Webelos and above but in the Wolf book Achievement 8e is to help prepare and "cook" and outdoor meal and clearly shows a wolf cub (yellow shirt)cooking over a grill. Another reason to update the books I guess. lol
                I'll be wrestling with this, this year. We have always cooked as a pack, but we were a tiny pack. We trippled our size this year. So, I have some learning to do and soon.


                • #9
                  Our Tiger Cub or Wolf Den makes an afternoon snack --- apple slices, pieces of banana, carrots and such.

                  Webelos cook diner --- spaghetti and frozen meatballs, baked potatoes and choice of toppings, tacos and choice of topping or other choices like that.

                  Bears cook the hotcake and sausage breakfast. Sausages baked in a Dutch Oven using charcoal.

                  I also like to do some kind of cooking exercise to cap off a hike or other activity. Roasting ears of corn is good this time of year, or roasting hot dogs on a stick.(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)


                  • #10
                    We always do group meals, but we have access to a kitchen and a large grill, so we can cook pancakes or 40 hamburgers all at once.

                    One trick to making this work over camp stoves, is to make things that are "pre-cooked", so all you're doing for the group is reheating. For example, you can make sloppy joes ahead at home, pack the mix in bags or containers and just re-heat on the stove top.

                    Here's a resource from the Scout Shop which may be helpful:


                    • #11
                      We have always done group meals at Pack campouts. We just did a campout last weekend with 70 people.

                      I believe the keys are a simple menu and proper cooking equipment. For meals we use two double-burner propane cook stoves and one big griddle top that completely covers one of the cook stoves. We traditionally make dutch oven fruit cobbler one night, and used four ovens this time.

                      Typically breakfast is pancakes and sausage or scrambled eggs and bacon, with cold cereal available as well. We use uncooked sausage but pre-cooked bacon. Lunch or dinner meals are usually soup and sandwiches, hot dogs and sides, or pasta with sauce and meatballs.

                      We buy as much as we can at Sam's Club. A giant bag of pancake mix costs around $7 and will make enough pancakes for the entire group. You can buy a large bag of precooked frozen meatballs to throw in with a couple giant jugs of spaghetti sauce.

                      We don't go so far as assigning cook or clean-up duty, but always have volunteers for either duty at each meal. We let scouts help cook, even the Tigers, but they are under adult supervision.


                      • #12
                        It seems to me that the issue you are facing isn't so much how to cook for a large group, but how to change the pack culture and tradition of everyone cooking for themselves. I think cooking as a Webelos den is a good start, making the change first where you have the most influence. You could also suggest having your den cook for the whole group for one meal during a pack campout, maybe breakfast since it is a relatively simple meal and most people like breakfast foods. Dinner will be a tougher sell, I think, because people tend to be pickier or have more food restrictions around dinner foods. Going with menus that maximize choice like foil dinners or tacos where everyone assembles their meal from a buffet of ingredients will meet the most needs.

                        Is another issue the cost of providing food for the whole group? Everyone doing their own thing certainly simplifies accounting. We've also had families that didn't want to pay the campout fee because they didn't like the menu. We just try to work with them as best we can.

                        Most of my friends in other packs have the total opposite problem, no one in the pack wants to cook or knows how to cook outdoors for a crowd so they order in pizza. One den leader has started using den time to do simple outdoor cooking during den meetings so his scouts can learn the skills they need for campouts. The scouts love it!


                        • #13
                          We did this same thing last year. We cooked as a den for our 10 tigers to show the pack that it could be easily done. We did breakfast/lunch/dinner/breakfast for our weekend campout (friday night when people were showing up was free for all since many ate before coming out).

                          We did eggs/sausage/toast for breakfast and had frozen hamburger patties + hotdogs for dinner. Lunch we had bread and lunchmeat. The chips and grapes did double duty for lunch and dinner side items. You just have to look at whats economical and realistic to make for a large group of people. Hot dogs are incredibly easy to start with as you can make a ton of those in a pot of boiling water in no time.

                          Now our pack always does the Saturday dinner meal together at camp, so it works if you can show other people that it does work to cook for everyone.


                          • #14
                            I like to do a hot dog roast occasionally to cap a Cub Scout hike or other activity.

                            The CORRECT way to do that (in my opinion) is to have boys and adults roast hot dogs over a fire, which provides a nice communal atmosphere.

                            It's also one of the most basic introductions possible to the idea of boys learning to cook.


                            • #15
                              >>"The CORRECT way to do that (in my opinion) is to have boys and adults roast hot dogs over a fire"