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Scoutfish

Omlette in a bag

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Why is cooking in a ziploc not "real" cooking any more than foil or frying pan cooking? Do boys "starve to death" when they forget the authentic dutch oven? Or do you make them boil water by dropping hot rocks into hide bags? Geesh!

 

Plus it's fun, something a little different, and the boys enjoy it. Reason enough to give it a try.

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If your plates are plastic, I can understand why one would want to have hot water to clean them up. With the cuts on them, food borne cross contamination is a concern. No problem with metal mess kits. They cook well and can be cleaned just as easily as plastic plates with no contamination problems. Remember that food handling is throughout the meal cycle not just for food prep.

 

With utensiless cooking, the hide bag and rocks might be something fun to consider.

 

Hot water and oatmeal makes a fine Sunday AM breakfast for those troops that are just knocking out nights of camping. Unless one is getting up at 4:00 am to make 10:00 am church, it's pretty much a shot morning. Why not hang out, take your time, do a nice job instead of the Retreat from Moscow routine adopted by a lot of troops.

 

Teamwork also implies that half the boys could be doing meal prep while the other half break camp. Or as a worse case scenario, the Grubmaster and his assistant could knock it out for the 6 other boys breaking camp.

 

Lame excuses don't justify questionable nutrition.

 

Lets see here. Start charcoal/fire, hand out two eggs, lay out fix-ins. Break and stir up eggs in mess kit, drop in fix-ins of one's own choosing. Hold over charcoal/fire for about 10 minutes. Grab fork, eat out of the pan. Scrape clean, wash, put away. Should take about as long boiling enough water for the omelets.

 

Start stove and toss on biggest kettle with water. Bring to a boil, toss in plastic eggs, wait to cook. Grab fork, eat out of a bag, Wash fork, put away. I'm not seeing any real time-savings going on here. As a matter of fact I'm thinking mess kit cooking would be done and meal eaten before the wash water comes to a boil. And it would be at that point that baggy omelets would be started.

 

Of course with the mess kit, the boys could fry up some bacon, too but it would add a few minutes while one got their eggs and fix-ins ready.

 

Sorry, I don't see the advantage. Yeah, it might be fun, but one could cook their egg in an orange peel for fun too and then there's no need to even boil the water.

 

Maybe with the troop-method approach where 50 boys are getting fed like a mess hall, it would be okay. But for scout skills, I don't think many of the boys need to know how to cook for more than say 8 boys at a time anyway.

 

Your mileage may vary.

 

Stosh

 

 

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Well I've got another bag meal you probably won't like then. Take a paper lunch bag and line the bottom with bacon. Put hash brown patties on the top and crack some eggs over the top of that. Put that on a grate over hot coals (not flames).

 

That one will definitely take more time than a fry pan and you're wasting a paper bag to boot. But, just like the plastic bag omelette, it's something the boys think is pretty cool and "I didn't know that would work."

 

I guess we just like to try different things once in a while for a little fun and variety. If boys are happy with the mess kits & dutch oven routine every time, more power to them.

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Our adults do this now an then. Last time I brought some small spring paper clamps. Clamps the bag to a skewer to hang into the middle of the pan. This spread the bags out and they cooked faster.

 

Honestly, this takes longer than breaking out the griddle, but might be faster than cooking 10 individual omelets.

 

We do the breakfast in a paper bag on our troop summer camp, along with muffins in an orange peel half. Mostly to show how creative you can be with cooking.

 

Some of our patrol have learns that instead of heating their ravioli or stew in a pan that they can just pierce the can and put it into a pan of boiling water to heat.

 

Just because a scout uses a mess kit and can clean it in the sand, doesn't mean that they shouldn't do things to minimize clean-up. A scout is thrifty with more than just money.

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With clean-up it always astonishes the boys that I clean out my mess kit with sand and water from the river. Best scouring pad there is. Handfuls of grass work pretty well, but take a bit longer.

 

AAAAHH! What about sanitation? Hold the mess kit over the fire until it's way too hot (well above 212-F) That sanitizes it with no problem.

 

I never use soap on my dutch oven or cast iron fry pans, so why would soap and bleach be necessary on my mess kit? If food particles are all cleaned out and the items are heat sanitized, you're done. Soap and bleach are necessary for plastic silverware and plates.

 

And I don't have any zip-lock bags to pack out either. :)

 

Stosh

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Under the general heading of "Be Prepared", it's always nice to know that there are multiple methods of accomplishing the same task. This is more important than mastering one method, even if that method happens to be the best.

 

That's probably the most important thing I learned from Scouting. I've applied it many times to things totally unrelated to anything I learned as a Scout. Increasingly, I've noticed that people tend to become fixated on doing things one particular way. When, for whatever reason, they're not able to do it that way, they don't stop to think whether they can accomplish the same thing with what they have.

 

Someday, a Scout might want to cook an egg and not have a frying pan handy. It would be nice to know one method that does not require the frying pan.

 

Or more likely, he'll have some other job. Maybe he'll be a surgeon or an engineer or a ditch digger. For whatever reason, he won't be able to use the "right" tool to do the job. But chances are, the Scout will be more likely to look around and realize that there is some other tool that he can use as a substitue.

 

In my experience, people who were Scouts are more likely to be able to make these kinds of substituions, often in areas that have nothing to do with anything they learned in Scouts. And it's probably because someone showed them some trick like cooking an egg in a plastic bag, even though it took five minutes longer to do it that way.

 

Yes, the mess kit probably works better than the plastic bag. But it would work even better just to stay home and have Mom cook the egg.

 

We do it the harder way because it's more fun. And in the process, we learn how to Be Prepared.

 

Incidentally, I've cooked things in plastic bags before, but I'm definitely going to try the paper bag trick. :)

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JBlake,

 

My favorite clean up assistant is snow. After dinner, you pack your still warm cooking pot with snow, and leave it outside to freeze solid. (Well away from the tent in bear country...)

 

Before breakfast you turn the pot upside down, clank it on something hard to dislodge the ice block and all the burn-on noodles or whatever from last night, and put it on the Optimus stove to cook again.

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Well...I guess we will be taking all the boys pocket knives away and issuing chansaws instead. :)

 

Okay, I didn't clarify, but this is something we will do at/for CUB SCOUTS.

 

In the original post, I 'thought' I made it clear that you eat directly from the bag, no plates, no forks, no anything...but a pot of clean water that can be dumped out. Can be cooked on a true wood fire, or ....as we will do it...over a gas burner.

 

As for Real cooking - umm - we use real food that is really cooked when we eat it. I'm thinking that does qualify as "real" cooking.

 

But I'll clarify on that too. We have a scout trailer, It has 2 double burner gas cookers on legs, 2 single burner gas cookers on legs, 3 camp style stoves ( think coleman) that use 1 pound or adapt to 20 gas pound bottles.

 

By gas, I mean propane gas.

 

Now, we also have 3 120 quart Igloo marine coolers . On the last day of a campout, we do not feel like coooking masss quantities of bacon,eggs, and pancakes. We do not want to have to pass around 15 bottles of syrup, 10 shakers of salt and pepper, nor collect all the paper plates, plastic knives forks and spoons.

 

Nope! Use 1 single burner, heat a big pot of water and then set a couple cartons ( 2 1/2 dozen count) of egs , as well as a few bags of grated cheese, pre cooked and crumbled sausage on a table with 4 shakers of salt and pepper.

 

The eggs mix, cook, and are eaten DIRECTLY out of the bag. Toss the bag, toss the water, put away a clean pot and burner.

Then drive out of camp!

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**sigh**

 

"Courageous Cookery" by John Echo*

Once the convert backpacker or cycle camper has accepted the subtle gustatory nuances associated with sustained operations beyond the chrome, he should try the advantages of ultra fringe living so that he will realize what he is paying for his nested pots and pretty pans carried so diligently and brought home so dirty after every "wilderness experience". The following system works. It is dependable and functional. It works on the big rock. It even works when the weather has gone to hell, you are wet and cold and the wind is blowing down the back of your hairy neck. It is not for the timid. It consists of a stove, a six inch sauce pan, a plastic cup and a soup spoon. If you insist on a metal cup, you must never fail to mutter "I'm having fun, I'm having fun", every time you spill the soup on your sleeping bag.

Breakfast: Instant wheat cereal-- sugar and powdered milk added-- ready two minutes after water boils. Eat from pot. Do not wash pot. Add water, boil, and add powdered eggs and ham. You'll never taste the cereal anyway. In three minutes, eat eggs. Do not wash pot. Add water or snow and boil for tea. Do not wash pot. Most of the residue eggs will come off in the tea water. Make it strong and add sugar. Tastes like tea. Do not wash pot. With reasonable technique, it should be clean. Pack pot in rucksack and enjoy last cup of tea while others are dirtying entire series of nested cookware.

Lunch: Boil pot of tea. Have snack of rye bread, cheese and dried beef Continue journey in 10 minutes if necessary.

Dinner: Boil pot of water, add Wylers dried vegetable soup and beef bar. Eat from pot. Do not wash pot. Add water and potatoes from dry potatoe powder. Add gravy mix to taste. Eat potatoes from pot. Do not wash pot. Add water and boil for tea. Fortuitous fish or meat can be cooked easily. You do not need oil or fat. Put half inch of water in pot. Add cleaned and salted fish. Do not let water boil away. Eat from pot when done. Process can be done rapidly. Fish can even be browned somewhat by a masterful hand.

Do not change menu. Variation only recedes from the optimum. Beginners may be allowed to wash pot once a day for three consecutive days only. It is obvious that burning or sticking food destroys the beauty of the technique. If you insist on carrying a heavier pack, make up the weight you save with extra food. Stay three days longer.

 

 

*(( The true author of this article is unknown. It is here copied from the COME HOSTELING newsletter, Sept. 1980, of the Potomac Area Council of the American Youth Hostels, who received it from Dick Schwanke, Senior PAC Staff Trainer, who read it in the APPALACHIAN HIKER by Ed Garvey, who got it from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Conference Bulletin, which quoted it from THE RAMBLER of the Wasatch Mountain Club of Salt Lake City, which reportedly cribbed it from the I.A.C. News of Idaho Falls, which reported it from the 1966 PEAKS & TRAILS. I offer it here for your enjoyment and inspiration. Note that some of the ingredients are a bit dated. Adjust as necessary. Enjoy!))

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The 'Bug Out Special' - great for the last morning of camp. We tear down non-essentials, and pack gear the night before departure. Sure beats a cold donut.

Don't know why, but we always either set up or tear down in the rain.

 

Great post!

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:) I'm seeing zip-locks as a quick fix solution to expediency on Sunday mornings. So be it.

 

However, nothing beats a tin cup and spoon for any and all cooking needs. Heck, the mess kit is a luxury in my book.

 

A large metal cup can do any and all cooking with the use of a spoon and pocket knife. Soups, stews, eggs, oatmeal, coffee, tea, etc. all work in the cup, it can be cleaned up quickly and sanitized over the fire. The mess kit does the steak and eggs, and other "fine dining".

 

Cutting corners is okay as a means to play with one's food and/or teach alternative methods of preparation. However, Philmont oatmeal recipe might do on the trail, but for every day cuisine, I wouldn't recommend it.

 

A baked potato and steak can be prepared in a microwave oven. For me, it just isn't worth it for expedience sake. :)

 

Stosh

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Stosh,

 

I actually prefer the taste and consistency of eggs done in the ziplock bag, vs the ones done in a cheap aluminum pan/cup.

 

It's not always expediency.

 

Now, carry a well seasoned cast iron pan, and all bets are off...

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Actually I don't relish the plastic taste that one picks up off of items made of it. However, seasoning generally covers the off flavor for me.

 

I don't use an aluminum mess kit except where weight is a concern. The mess kits don't heat as evenly as steel/cast iron. Normally I use a steel mess kit (military) and works pretty much like cast iron. I do have a small stamped steel fry pan I use because the handle is longer than those on the mess kits. It's the next best thing to cast iron, it's a bit lighter in weight, but works pretty much the same.

 

The cup is not aluminum or stainless steel either, it is tin. The only concern is the heat on the lips when you want to drink coffee out of it. Generally I use it more as a boiler (which I also have, i.e. tin mug with cover) and transfer hot liquids over to a regular coffee cup to drink. It also gives a chance to avoid more coffee grounds that way.

 

Generally we emphasize the patrol-method and do NOT have adults eat with the boys unless specifically invited by them. Therefore the adults pretty much cook for themselves.

 

The one advancement requirement of cooking over a wood fire an individual meal is what I do all the time. Most troops that use the troop-method and/or patrol-method generally cook for larger crowds. This tends to induce people to use short-cutting processes in food prep that involves more simplicity. However, if the boys equate camping with simplistic foods, it's a shame. I equate camping with "gourmet" foods. :) If simple foods take better in the outdoors, "gourmet" foods are fantastic!

 

I do large group cooking and nothing's better than sweet-and-sour pork/chicken over fried rice when you're out cooking. Or maybe a nice pot roast in the dutch, or double boiler scrambled eggs, dang I'm getting hungry. :)

 

Stosh

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OK, can we please remember the OP was talking about CUB SCOUTS here, NOT Boy Scouts.

 

BIG difference.

 

Weird cooking methods are simply FUN for CUBS to do.

 

When they get to BOY SCOUTS then they can cook however they want, including in a ziplock bag if that is what the PATROL wants to do.

 

For ziplock eggs - This is NOT a fast, last morning, breakfast, by any stretch. This way actually takes quite a bit of time, especially if, like the OP, you have 100+ people. Using only 1 big pot would slow down the process even more.

 

If you want those bags to cook the water has to be at a full ROLLING boil. As soon as you dump in the bags of cold eggs the temp will drop, a lot. It is going to take about half an hour, at least, to get a big, industrial size pot to a full boil. Then, the more bags you put in, the longer it will take to cook them. Eggs MUST be FULLY cooked. Use tongs (rubber tipped high temp are best) to mash up the eggs in each bag periodically.

 

With lots of people, 2 or more pots works better, and if you have a high heat burner, or two, that will help cut down the time to boil.

 

Also, not a big fan of sucking the eggs out of the bag (or with using fingers). Maybe the adults can manage the clumps of egg this way, but the little ones (scouts and sibs alike) will end up with more egg on, than in.

 

When we do this, we will do it Saturday morning. Even with lots less than 100 people, we always do at least two pots. For the "fixins", we usually have sausage, cheese, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Folks add what they want to their eggs. We also have coffee, milk, and fresh fruit. Can't forget a properly balanced meal!

 

Sometimes we will do plastic silverware, that is then tossed in the trash with the used baggies. Other times we have everyone use their own "real" utensils.

 

When breakfast is over, the pots of water are used for clean-up. By then the water has cooled down a good bit, or we add a bit of cold to it. The trash is placed next to the pots. Trash gets dumped, and utensils (if used) get scraped. If we have dishes to be washed, soap goes in the first pot, and a bit of bleach goes in the second. Camper dumps, and scrapes, then hands their spoon/fork/cup to washer, and their dunk bag to rinser. Washer cleans then gives dishes to rinser. Rinser puts stuff in dunk bag, rinses in second pot, and gives dunk bag to camper to hang on line (we do two heights so everyone can reach). If there are no dishes the two pots are used for the washing, and rinsing, up of the campers. At the end, water is disposed of properly.

 

Left over "fixins" work well with sandwiches, or tacos, for lunch. Anything left over goes into the pasta sauce, or chili, for dinner.

 

For Sunday morning we will have a quick, no cook (OK we will have some hot water for coffee/tea/cocoa), or clean meal. Paper cups (or their own camp cups), plastic utensils, fruit, bagels, milk, and single serving boxes of cereal that turn into bowls (kids love that!). Everything is then dumped in trash, and rinsed out in hot water(to be properly washed at home). We usually have some families leaving early, and some staying around for additional activities, so this can easily accommodate both.

 

Remember, this is CUB SCOUT Pack family camping - NOT Boy Scout backpacking.

 

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