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camping - cooking question - is this OK?

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Sounds like a bit of creativity is needed here. And Bob, no offense, but the meal you describe sounds horrible. When we have a small turnout, 6-8 boys, we take the MSR and a 12 quart aluminum pressure cooker pot without the lid. Set up the pot, brown some meat, add water and instant veg soup mix, cut up fresh veggies for a nice beef stew. Chili is also easy. Spanish rice, even chicken and dumplins. My family (5 of us) rode bikes thru France for a month and hiked in the Italian alps for a month with just this setup, large aluminum pot, MSR, creativity. The setup for high altitudes is the same, just take the lid. Makes rice or taters in 10 minutes, beans in half hour.

Toss the cheap little mess kit pans, they're junk.

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John the requirement was for a trail meal, everything you listed for your meal can be obtained as a freeze dried product that would stay fresh longer, take up less room in the pack, require smaller cooking containers, and the food itself weighs less. All these elements make freeze dried a better choice on the trail.

 

 

 

 

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In ten days, we are going to go to North Manitou Island (National Park). We are going to bring a "camp stove" - in reality as BW indicated, an efficient water boiler!

 

The crux of the problem is that the MB counselor, the only one with a vote so to speak, possibly dedicated the requirement approval authority to others. For myself, I read requirements and take them literally. "Do the following: Cook for your patrol a trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove." Now what constitutes a trail meal - the content or the location? What does cook mean? These simple questions have been debated! For me - trail meal is defined as a meal eaten on the trail. Cooking - involves at least two ingredients and the application of heat.

 

 

 

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A key question here seems to be, what is cooking? Have our standards fallen so low that boiling water and adding it to a packet of freeze dried powder is cooking? Not in my book. A kid might as well make ramen noodles with a snickers bar on the side and call that cooking. IMHO cooking should involve preparation of fresh ingredients , using simple tools, and following a recepie. It teaches an important life skill. I would never accept the "freeze dried glop" preparation as a cooking requirement. Now if you are 5 days into the 100 mile wilderness of Maine with no supplies you have no choice. Most scout camping is not like this and "glop cooking" is just another watered down requirement, greasing the path to Eagle while teaching the kid nothing useful.

Bob, how is the lad expected to make french toast for mom on Mother's day if all he know is the glop method?

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There are many styles of cooking, and it is the MB councilor's call as what he deems acceptable. I agree with the aplication of heat being required for cooking, and whether it is adding hot water to a freeze dried meal or packing in steaks and griling over a wood fire, both are cooking.

This should not be the only time that a scout cooks, so the specfic menu on this one meal shouldn't be a major concern.

 

A related cooking observation: our troop had always gone to a patrol cooking summer camp. About 4 years ago they switched to a dining hall camp. We observed not only poorer cooking skills among our scouts that had only been to the dining hall camp, but also less cooperation and cohesiveness as patrols in general. This carried over from summer camp to weekend campouts as well. Thus, this year the troop returned to a patrol cooking camp.

 

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"Bob, how is the lad expected to make french toast for mom on Mother's day if all he know is the glop method?"

Is this mother's day feast going to be made on the trail? Doesn't his family cook at home all? What does making French toast for mother's day have to do with the Camping Merit Badge?

Yep, that's right, we are talking about the Camping Merit Badge here folks. This badge helps teach boys about needed skills for camping. This particular requirement is to familiarize them with the safety & use of camping stoves. Specifically lightweight stoves used when backpacking. Freeze-dried "glop" would work fine to help them get the idea of cooking on the trail.

If the boys are interested in learning more about different & varied means of cooking & foods, then they should take the Cooking Merit Badge.

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What about my example of Ramen noodles and a snickers bar (a time honored Appalachian trail meal), does that satisfy the requirement? What is the point, check off boxes on a form and rush guys thru or teach a useful and enjoyable skill? Reminds me of my trip across Mt Kenya a few years ago. I hired a local farmer to haul my pack with a small pressure cooker, we had beef stew, red beans and rice, corn meal mush for breakfast. A British school group we encountered had labelled packets of British glop for each day, each meal, pots for water boiling and propane stoves. I would argue these kids knew nothing of cooking at the beginning and learned nothing on the trip. Just like a lot of scouts I meet.

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Ummmm.

 

I've done several thousand miles of backpacking. A common and favored meal at the end of a long day was Kraft mac&cheese with lots of butter in it --- an easy to fix and tasty calorie bomb.

 

My most common food for other meals was a sack of ham & cheese sandwiches made up before leaving on the trip. I could happily eat these for days, they survived in my pack and again were great calorie bombs.

 

 

The main challenge on long, multi day backpacking trips is to be able to keep eating enough calrories to keep your energy level up. Fancy cooking is a waste of time under those conditions, in my experience.

 

Now, car camping type camping is quite different. I favor eating well with Dutch Oven cooking in those circumstances.

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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Hopefully these boys are not just participating in a Troop to work on their Camping Merit Badge & then get out.

 

This one requirement for this one merit badge should NOT be the only time they learn anything about cooking while camping. This should be an ongoing process (even if they do not do the Cooking Merit Badge).

 

This requirement is more about stove use & what/how to plan for eating on the trail during a camping trip than about creative cooking.

 

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Perhaps it is beyond the scope of the current topic but seems to me a lot of Troops need to update their menus a bit. The thread on obese scouters touched on this a few months ago. Do people cook anything other than grilled meats (suspected of causing cancer), Dutch Oven (tasty but essentially an iron pot of fat) and freeze dried glop (full of salt and preservatives)? No wonder the scouters and scouts are overweight. Have we forgotten about vegetables? I got so frustrated over this a few years back I wrote my own cookbook. Anybody read "One Pan Gourmet" by Don Jacobson? Lots of good iseas for hikers & bikers who want to eat well.

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