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Philzer

Cooking Merit Badge Worksheet and questions asked

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Hello fellow scouters,

 

I am the new Cooking MB counselor for my son's unit. After reviewing the worksheet, I am a little challenged on the worksheet and hoping for others input and advice.

 

  • Is it me or does question #1A and 1B seem to be redundant questions?
  • For a scout to respond to some of the answers on the worksheet there is no reference point to have them began the answer. Meaning usually you can find most answers in the MB books as they progressively read through the book. In this worksheet it looks like the answers can be randomly all over the book? Not necessarily answers to 1 in the beginning and so on. Would appreciate everyones thoughts and input.

Thanks everyone,

 

YIS,

Phil Aguilera 

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@@Philzer, long time no hear!

 

You need to be specific as to which worksheet. There are lots out there.

 

If I were you, I'd only counsel from MB Pamphlet. If the boys find a worksheet on their own, bully for them. Otherwise, if it's confusing more boys than it helps, encourage them to use garden-variety composition books or field notes to organize their thoughts. (Son #2 started using docs on his smart phone.)

For cooking, I'd also keep up to date with what's taught in the BS Handbook and Fieldbook ... as well as any interesting tips in Boy's Life or Scouting magazines.

 

To any Cooking MBCs out there: the online MB Pamphlet? Worth the expense?

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The "Work Sheet"   is not the thing you need to consider.   Go to the Merit Badge Booklet, either the "real" one, or the virtual one.   Read the requirements, do not read anything into them, just talk/discuss/do the requirements.

 

Often, MBCounselors take the so-called Work Sheet as the real requirements (and like quazse said, there are lots of them)  often are not on the Work Sheet..  There is no "official" BSA worksheet for any MB.   These are a tool developed by others to help in the instruction and meeting of the requirements, but they are NOT, per se,  "meeting the requirements".   

In my career as a MBCounselor, I have come across the Scout who brings in a "work sheet" and thinks that he has met the requirements by filling this out.  Can he discuss the subject in person?  Can he "tie the knot" in the real world, so to speak?    That's what is important.

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I am the new Cooking MB counselor for my son's unit. After reviewing the worksheet, I am a little challenged on the worksheet and hoping for others input and advice.

  • Is it me or does question #1A and 1B seem to be redundant questions?
  • For a scout to respond to some of the answers on the worksheet there is no reference point to have them began the answer. Meaning usually you can find most answers in the MB books as they progressively read through the book. In this worksheet it looks like the answers can be randomly all over the book? Not necessarily answers to 1 in the beginning and so on. Would appreciate everyones thoughts and input.

 

My advice would be to:

  • Toss out the worksheets. Develop your own curriculum for the badge based on the MB book.
  • Use the MB book. It is pretty good and allows you to develop your own approach to teaching the course while adhering to the requirements.
  • Meet with the PLC and see how they might be able to work in aspects of the MB in to their monthly program. For example, maybe they are doing a trail hike on an upcoming camp out where the boys can get in groups and cook for each other.
  • Think of fun competitions the boys can do that are cooking related (e.g., TopChef competition, Dutch oven cooking competition, etc.).

All too often when the worksheets are used, the boys (and counselors) stick just to the sheets and don't explore beyond them. It becomes like completing homework rather than actually learning something.

 

To answer your questions:

  • 1A and 1B deal with hazards in cooking and applying first aid while cooking. They may be somewhat similar in that the hazard requires first aid, but I would not consider them redundant in any way.

     

  • The detail of each requirement is in the book. No, it is not laid out in order, though if one uses the index they can find what they are looking for. BSA likely does this so that boys don't race through the book filling out a worksheet like it's some school assignment and BANG they get the MB. BSA wants the boys to take their time, read, learn, show, demonstrate, explain their answers....not just fill out a worksheet.

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As to the requirements  #1a and 1b being redundant,  I see them as being first  answering the question "what if"  and then "What do I do if".   Maybe they are somewhat overlapping, but , hey,  let the Scout  tell you about how not to get sick and then how to deal with food poisoning AFTER it occurs, despite the best efforts (have you really done your best?) to prevent it.

 

Advancement  Forum, perhaps?

Edited by SSScout

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For 1(a) - Some of the hazards are not injury or illness related.  For example, how to prevent and mitigate a grease fire in a kitchen (Cover or ABC Extinguisher) or a fire in an oven (Close Door).  How to avoid melting plastic utensils on cast iron, what to do with a hot pan (don't put it on Formica or a wood table), etc.  Also, some of the prevention ideas are more suited here than 1(b) --  I talk about where to position frying pan handles (toward the side of the stove so there is no chance of knocking it over), turning a flame or burner off before removing a pot (sleeve on fire anyone?), using pot holders or mitts, using proper tools when grilling (not kitchen flippers which may be too short), etc.

 

Honestly, #1(a) through (e) becomes a big discussion followed by a first aid demonstration and looking at food labels (which actually leads into a discussion of 2(e)).

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I dont see how with this course being so extensive can be offered and completed in one day via a merit badge day regardless of the scouts coming in with certain requirments done. It would take me at least 2-3 saturday sessions at 4 hours each session, to feel confident in offering this course from what Im gathering via researching and experience. This is a tough one because anything more then a 4 hours and I know I'll lose the attn span of today's scouts. Anything less and are we really doing them a service in helping them earn this badge??? Meaning them understand the basics of cooking as with the skills and knowledge? As a MB counselor for this course, we not only have to go over the basics of cooking but also lol be a a nutrionist knowing the food groups, and a dietician knowning how to effectively read lables and calorie count and consumption. This course shouldn't be offered as a saturday session from the way Im viewing it. If anything summer camp and several sat sessions. Thoughts?

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I dont see how with this course being so extensive can be offered and completed in one day via a merit badge day regardless of the scouts coming in with certain requirements done.

Depends if the Scouts can demonstrated they have completed anything as pre-requisites. How is an MBC to confirm? They don't. They usually take the Scout at his word and sign anyway.

 

It would take me at least 2-3 saturday sessions at 4 hours each session, to feel confident in offering this course from what Im gathering via researching and experience.

Home cooking will take at least this long. Trail cooking longer because, well, you are on the trail. The trail cooking req is best done on a camp out. Patrol cooking is another one done on a camp out.

 

This is a tough one because anything more then a 4 hours and I know I'll lose the attn span of today's scouts.

That's why you cover what you can in a class BUT make it interactive, hands-on. For example, while teaching the various cooking techniques, we actually SHOWED THEM each technique and they got a chance to try them.

 

This is a life skill, so we go deeper than we would, say, for Art or Music or another "softer" MB.

 

Anything less and are we really doing them a service in helping them earn this badge??? Meaning them understand the basics of cooking as with the skills and knowledge? As a MB counselor for this course, we not only have to go over the basics of cooking but also lol be a a nutrionist knowing the food groups, and a dietician knowning how to effectively read lables and calorie count and consumption. This course shouldn't be offered as a saturday session from the way Im viewing it. If anything summer camp and several sat sessions. Thoughts?

Our troop class is 4-6 sessions IN ADDITION to the work they do on their own, with their patrols and at home. At the end of the course we do a Top Chef competition. It is optional (can't add requirements) but no one has ever turned us down.

 

We also show them knife skills in addition to other cooking hacks. This is one of those MBs where, if you design a cool course, could really catch fire with the Scouts. But it HAS to be hands on or you will lose them.

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I dont see how with this course being so extensive can be offered and completed in one day via a merit badge day regardless of the scouts coming in with certain requirments done. 

 

 

The way I run the Merit Badge is to have an hour preparation session where they plan the "outdoor" menus and develop their shopping lists, a one-day session that runs from 8:00 until 5:30 where they cook three meals in the outdoors.  For breakfast, we cover knife skills and make bacon and egg omlets / scrambles.  Between breakfast and lunch we discuss and demonstrate.  For lunch, we grill sausages over a fire.  After lunch, they start cooking dinner.  The dinners involve a dutch oven main course and a dutch oven dessert.  Selections have been chicken pot pie, Italian short ribs, barbeque spare ribs, vegan chili, lasagna, beef stew, chicken caccatori and more.  Desserts have been apple pies, brownies, chocolate layer cakes, cheesecakes and cobblers.  The sides have included home make cole slaw, apple sauce made from apples, caesar salad with homemade dressing (including anchovie paste), cornbread, biscuits, noodles and linguini.  We then have an hour follow-up meeting to cover the career requirement (and anything else we didn't cover).

 

I give credit for any backpacking cooking they have done previously -- they just need to do the menu.  If they haven't gone backpacking yet, they have at least two opportunities a year in the Troop.  They also need to cook for their parents and turn in that menu.  At that point, they are done.

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The way I run the Merit Badge is to have an hour preparation session where they plan the "outdoor" menus and develop their shopping lists, a one-day session that runs from 8:00 until 5:30 where they cook three meals in the outdoors.  For breakfast, we cover knife skills and make bacon and egg omlets / scrambles.  Between breakfast and lunch we discuss and demonstrate.  For lunch, we grill sausages over a fire.  After lunch, they start cooking dinner.  The dinners involve a dutch oven main course and a dutch oven dessert.  Selections have been chicken pot pie, Italian short ribs, barbeque spare ribs, vegan chili, lasagna, beef stew, chicken caccatori and more.  Desserts have been apple pies, brownies, chocolate layer cakes, cheesecakes and cobblers.  The sides have included home make cole slaw, apple sauce made from apples, caesar salad with homemade dressing (including anchovie paste), cornbread, biscuits, noodles and linguini.  We then have an hour follow-up meeting to cover the career requirement (and anything else we didn't cover).

 

I give credit for any backpacking cooking they have done previously -- they just need to do the menu.  If they haven't gone backpacking yet, they have at least two opportunities a year in the Troop.  They also need to cook for their parents and turn in that menu.  At that point, they are done.

While a nice idea, where's the eating as patrol? To me this sounds like shoe horning the requirements to fit a one day session n

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While a nice idea, where's the eating as patrol? To me this sounds like shoe horning the requirements to fit a one day session n

 

The requirement is your patrol or "a group of youth."

 

"In the outdoors, using your menu plans for this requirement, cook two of the ve meals you planned using either a light- weight stove or a low-impact re. Use a different cooking method from requirement 3 for each meal. You must also cook a third meal using either a Dutch oven OR a foil pack OR kabobs. Serve all of these meals to your patrol or a group of youth."

 

The 8 boys that participate are "a group of youth."  For the dinner, the rest of the Scouts families (parents and siblings) are invited.  So they are actually serving the meals to a whole lot of youth and their parents.  

 

The bottom line is that the Scouts actually learn to cook.  That knowledge is evident on campouts, where the guys who have done the merit badge are working with the younger scouts to plan menus and teaching them how to cook with the Dutch ovens.  Plus, I've had several parents tell me that their children have started cooking stuff at home.  

 

I'll put the difficulty meals they cook and the amount of skills they earn at the one day session against what anyone else does for the merit badge.

Edited by Hedgehog

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Yeah I'm not a fan of things that take away from guy's doing all this during troop events. Sounds nice and all but seems another way for guys to avoid going camping outdoors. I'd prefer our guys do it while camping.

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Yeah I'm not a fan of things that take away from guy's doing all this during troop events. Sounds nice and all but seems another way for guys to avoid going camping outdoors. I'd prefer our guys do it while camping.

 

 

Just because they spend a day cooking in the outdoors, doesn't mean they don't cook as patrols on outings.  We don't have a problem with guys going camping.  We have 20 guys over 25 nights in the last three years and 5 guys over 45 nights.  In fact, I think it helps doing the Cooking MB ouside the camping context, because that makes camping something you do for fun, not for advancement.

 

Further, most of the cooking done on our outings are for the 2nd and 1st Class advancement.  The guys who have taken the Cooking MB now mentor the younger scouts in the menu planning and in showing them how to cook.  When there isn't a younger guy who needs advancement, these guys take charge and go beyond the ususal cooking.  Even at Summer Camp where there was a full menu including dessert, they wanted to make dump cakes in Dutch Ovens and pies in the pie iron.  How about hot pretzels after setting up on Friday night or hot freshly fried donuts in the morning for Klondike?

 

Also, doing it this way has the advantage that the boys can do more complicated cooking.  During the Cooking MB, they generally start cooking dinner at 3:00 to have it served by 5:30.  It is hard to have them spend two and a half hours cooking on a campout.  Plus, it is really cool to see 4 cooking stations set up and 8 scouts cooking.  It really becomes "Outdoor Stadium" for the Cast Iron Chef.  Not to mention the 8 dutch ovens stacked up (stacks of 3, 3 and 2) cooking dinners and desserts.  

 

Does what we do meet the letter of the requirements?  Yes.  Does it meet my goals of:  1) challenging the Scouts to cook something more challenging than typical camp food; 2) giving the Scouts a sense of accomplishments for cooking a camp dinner and serving it to their parents; 3) encourage Scouts to cook more often and more difficult meals at home; 4) teach the Scouts skills they can apply on campouts and teach to other scouts; and 5) share my love of cooking with the Scouts?  All yes.

 

How does your Troop do it and what are your results?

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I like the idea of cooking for other scouts, whether it be your patrol or another patrol.  If one opened it up just a group of people, the scout could figure it would be his family.  If he poisons them with his cooking, he could be in big trouble.

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