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Eagle76

Ketchup - and efficiency

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Wow, who would have thought that ketchup could become such a hot issue! But this has become an "issue" in our troop as well.

 

In the past, there were many leftovers after campouts, and they were divied up among the boys and taken home. My son was elected PL last fall, and was the patrol cook at the next campout, and he decided it would be more thrifty to save the less- or non-perishable leftovers for future campouts. Thus, we have in storage a started bag of pancake mix and yes, a started bottle of ketchup in the extra fridge.

 

Shortly thereafter, an adult announcement was made that everyone should bring extra ketchup packets home from McDonald's, Burger King, etc., to stock the patrol boxes, to avoid the recurring problem of always buying more ketchup than needed, and having the extra go home with one boy. I suspect our Committee Chair came up with the plan, and sold our Scoutmaster on it. I won't spend much time on the subject of whether this adult involvement is appropriate; I think this is a matter for the patrols to deal with, and the original thread contained many suggestions.

 

I had another idea, for the patrols to buy refillable squeeze bottles, as found at some snack bars or hot dog wagons. For the campout, the patrol would purchase smaller quantities of ketchup, mustard, mayonaisse, etc, from someone's family, calculating the fair value of the amount obtained. My question is, is this solution acceptable in the context of Scouts procurring their food, or must the purchasing be done at a grocery store?(This message has been edited by Eagle76)

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There are certainly no "rules" about how to go about obtaining food for campouts. It's perfectly reasonable to bring smaller portions of some items (like Ketchup) that are "donated". I don't think it's worth any complicated measurements. Just, whoever is responsible for the food for the campout should look for ways to avoid making purchases that will create waste. Typically, if the menu calls for something like an unusual spice or a teaspoon of something, we'll bring it from home. Otherwise, your scout food boxes get overrun with one-time-use items that will eventually go bad.

 

Of course, one of my favorite food purchase stories was when the shopping list said 4 things of Lipton Onion Soup (for spicing up hobos) and the guy doing the shopping bought 4 boxes of 10! We're still using Lipton Onion Soup! You know, it can be used in just about anything, even omelettes.

 

Finally, the idea of having guys grab ketchup packets from McDs and other food places could create an ethical issue in my mind. While I have no issue of saving the "extras" that are thrown in the bag, I could see the ever exuberant young scout stuffing his pockets with ketchup packets in order to fulfill the need for the next campout. That, as small as it might be, is a form of theft. So, be careful on what you encourage them to do.

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My reaction to getting the condiments from fast food places is great, lets teach the scouts its ok to steal. But that may be a separate issue.

 

The issue of where the patrol provisions comes from is intriguing. I know of no rule that says provisions need to be bought at a grocery store. I see no reason why the food couldnt be provided by the patrol's family, then again the idea of paying your own way should be part of the overall experience and if you have people grabbing mustard from MickeyD's to save money or space I dont want to be around for the conversation on how much this 1/3 jar of Smucker's grape jelly is worth.

 

Why not have the boys investigate why there is so much food left at the end and what could be done to lessen it?

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I agree with the Old and the KY Eagle's. I don't like the idea of the boys (or adults even) getting packets from restaurants. There definitely seems to be an ethical issue there.

 

As far as buying from the families that just seems a bit silly. How much is 1/3 of a jar of Suckers worth. I personally think strawberry is worth more than grape.

 

Generally we buy the smallest containers we can and at the end of the event whats left goes home with someone (usually myself or the Scoutmaster). If they are still good by the next outing we use them. If not we buy more. Sometimes the old stuff gets used and replaced by the person who takes it, depends on how much is left. Either way we rightfully purchase everything.

 

I also think its a good idea to let the boys sort it out. If they can't figure it out them maybe some subtle suggestions might help.

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Why not have the Quartermasters read the condiment labels and see what actually needs refrigeration?

 

Heinz ketchup doesn't.

 

The next time someone works on Cooking Merit Badge, have him ask a professional about refrigeration.

 

8 b. Visit a professional cook, chef, food service manager, or Registered Dietitian and learn what this professional's duties are. Discuss the person's education and training, techniques, and means used in professional food preparation, and local health regulations and licensing requirements that must be followed. Report to your counselor your findings.

 

Kudu

 

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I also agree with previous posters about not having the scouts help themselves at McD and other places.

 

How about just going to a restaurant supply store and buying a box of 10,000 ( or whatever ) packets? This stuff has a half-life mind you, so you may be using these things until 2030.

 

But with regard to the efficiency debate, more careful menu planning might be in order, so as to reduce such waste. Or perhaps sharing between patrols...

 

 

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Have to laugh...my son's patrol had exactly this exchange the other night while trying to plan a menu for their upcoming campout. Last time, due in large part to poor planning and execution on their part, they ended up with a lot of extra food, much of which was perishable. Additionally, they took ice cream with them and ended up storing it in their patrol box all weekend rather than eating it. Surprise surprise, it melted all over everything, made a mess, and ruined some of their dry goods too. The boy who ended up taking the patrol box home and having to clean up the mess was quite verbal about why this wasn't a desirable experience to repeat.

 

So...this time they put a good deal more effort into proper advance planning. I'm all for efficiency and cutting down on waste but nothing I could say to them would have driven this lesson home any better than their own (admittedly wasteful) experience.

 

Lisa'bob

 

 

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Good story Lisabob, the best way to learn is almost always from our mistakes.

 

CA_Scouter, buying 10,000 packets is a better idea than borrowing them but I am still concerned. It is probably not the most thrifty was to buy ketchup. It also creates a lot of unnecessary extra garbage from the packets helping to fill up your local land fill. Also, knowing scouts, they all prob wont make it to the garbage.

 

Kudu, I have this sudden urge to the fridge and look at the ketchup bottle. I had no idea it didn't need to be refrigerated! Thanks for the info.

 

Tim

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Thank you all for your thoughts. I had the same ethical concerns as all of you, but I didn't state them in my original post because I wanted to see if this opinion would come up without any prompting from me.

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Tenderfoot

 

3. On the campout, assist in preparing and cooking one of your patrol's meals. Tell why it is important for each patrol member to share in meal preparation and cleanup, and explain the importance of eating together.

 

Second Class

 

2d. Use the tools listed in requirement 2c to prepare tinder, kindling, and fuel for a cooking fire.

2e. Discuss when it is appropriate to use a cooking fire and a lightweight stove. Discuss the safety procedures for using both..

2f. Demonstrate how to light a fire and a lightweight stove.

2g. On one campout, plan and cook over an open fire one hot breakfast or lunch for yourself, selecting foods from the food pyramid. Explain the importance of good nutrition. Tell how to transport, store, and prepare the foods you selected.

 

First Class

 

4a. Help plan a patrol menu for one campout that includes at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner and that requires cooking at least two meals. Tell how the menu includes the foods from the food pyramid and meets nutritional needs.

4b. Using the menu planned in requirement 4a, make a list showing the cost and food amounts needed to feed three or more boys and secure the ingredients.

4c. Tell which pans, utensils, and other gear will be needed to cook and serve these meals.

4d. Explain the procedures to follow in the safe handling and storage of fresh meats, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, and other perishable food products. Tell how to properly dispose of camp garbage, cans, plastic containers, and other rubbish.

4e. On one campout, serve as your patrol's cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in requirement 4a. Lead your patrol in saying grace at the meals and supervise cleanup.

 

 

By the time a boy has reached First Class, he should know how to plan a nutrishious menu that includes all food groups, the proper quantities for the number of people, how to prepare it, store it and clean up. Sure, mistakes happen and sometimes you get a little more or a little less than you should have. Something is wrong if you are ending up with large quantities of leftovers. Some things you can't help like having to buy a whole loaf of bread when only 4 boys in a patrol are going on an outing. They can either take what they need and freeze the rest or freeze leftovers when they get home. they can also plan a menu that requires bread for more than one meal. Condiments can be stroed between outings.

 

This actually speaks some to having mixed age patrols. Experience counts. The younger boys can learn how it is done and work their way into the process instead of fumbling thru it, eating burnt dinners or bad menus. I remember where we hd a new boy patrol that had planned for beef stew. When it was time to cook, they couldn't find the meat and decided it had either not been bought or left behind. They ended up having vegetable stew. They found the meat underneath other items in the ice chest the next day. They also cooked everything backwards and put the potatoes in last which needed to cook the longest. They all have a story to tell now, but sure complained a lot during the campout. It was a valuable lesson about taking responsibility and being organized. Perhaps that wouldn't have happened with older boys involved.

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Kudu makes a good point about what can be stored and what can't.

I'm not in favor of stealing stuff. But if the manager of the local fast food restaurant is asked and he or she wants to donate I'm fine with that.

Our patrols all had their own patrol box.

Pete our adult Quartermaster would meet with the Troop Quartermaster and the Patrol Quartermasters a couple of times a year and they would have a good sort out.

We found that Tupperware containers helped out a lot. The sugar still got hard and lumpy, but it didn't end up all through the box and the teabags didn't get messed up too bad.

We used to buy a lot of the staples in bulk from places like Sam's Club.For Summer Camp when we would have 12 patrols camping for two weeks, we had one menu, so this worked out well.

At the end of a Campout the food that was left over and couldn't be stored was up for grabs.

Strange thing was most of the Scouts didn't want to take it.

I'm a registered Dietician and certified food service manager.I'm constantly amazed at what people eat and when they eat it!! With this in mind it is sometimes hard to get Scouts to plan menus.

We have Scouts who hardly ever eat at home and Moms who don't know or don't like to cook and then at the other end we have the Mather Stuart types who want to send linen napkins to camp.

Not to change the subject but....

Some years back we were doing a research project into people with renal failure. We thought that maybe adding aluminum phosphates to their diet might prevent their bones from becoming so brittle.

The bad news was that the participants had to eat the same thing every second day for six weeks.

We tried really hard to give them food that not only worked for the study but food that they liked.

I had an little old man in his 70's. He was a coal man. He delivered coal to houses using a horse and cart.

I asked him what he had for lunch?

He said "Well, I parks the horse and I goes for a drink". When it came to supper he said "Well I parks me horse goes for a drink and then I goes home has a couple of kippers and then me and the wife goes for a drink."

By the end of the interview I had worked out that this little old man who didn't weigh 120 pound soaking wet was drinking about 18 pints of Guinness every day!! I wasn't able to get him the full 18 but he was happy that I managed to get him 8.

Eamonn.

 

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We went through this problem several years ago. The adult patrol chuck box has a box of little packets of everything that can come in little packets: ketchup, mayonaise, mustard, sweet relish, instant coffee, sugar, boullion powder from ramen packages, salt, pepper, you name it. We know that the stuff is there, and our grupmaster for the upcoming campout will usually take a peek at what is there and use it to supplement.

 

Once when I was grubmaster, I made a big pot of soup and used all of the ketchup for "tomato paste and assorted spices" It worked. Well, what is in ketchup?

 

Getting boys to donate extra ketchup packets to their patrol chuck boxes is a bit of a stretch. They just don't think to do it out there in the real world. Do yoou know how geeky it looks to pocket a couple of packets of ketchup at Mickey D's?

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I have seen variations of almost all of the ideas presented here at one time or another. Seems like somebody always has a complaint no matter what approach you take. The important thing is that the boys learn there is more than one way to get a job done, and there are positive and negative points that can be brought forward for almost all of them.

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Much ado about ketchup (or do you say catsup?).

 

Our solution for leftover food was to put the name of each individual food item on a slip of paper and put them in a hat - each scout in the patrol chooses a slip from the hat and they take home whatever food item(s) they choose from the hat - to make sure everyone brought home the same number of items, we would split easily splittable items (like soup packets or hot chocolate packets) into two or three separate piles and put that food name in the hat three times.

 

We never saved food items from one trip to another - our gear storage was provided by our sponsoring institution and they requested that we not leave any food in our kitchen boxes after our trips (to prevent bugs in our locked storage closet - the exterminators could not get in there on a regular basis unlike the kitchen)- the only exception they made was spices in the spice kits (which were supplied and replenished as needed by the troop quartermaster).

 

Some units in our district followed the same no food left in kitchen boxes because experience taught them that most patrols never double check their boxes before menu planning to see what they already had available so when it came time to pack the boxes, shelves were loaded with surplus items from the boxes. Many times, those that did check their boxes ignored what was there anyway and planned menus that didn't use what they already had. One unit was sponsored by a church that ran a weekly soup kitchen for the homeless and they donated their surplus foodstuffs to the soup kitchen - the kitchen was always grateful for what they received, even half empty bottles of jams and ketchup. I suspect this works best if you already have a connection of some kind to the soup kitchen - I just don't know how a local soup kitchen not affiliated with the same sponsor would react to open containers of food.

 

As for the shelf life of ketchup - it is an acidic food often full of preservatives so it takes a while for it to spoil once it is opened. But, it can spoil so opened ketchup should be refrigerated even if the bottle doesn't have the "keep refrigerated after opening" label on it, My bottle of Heinz does not have that label on it but Heinz' website recommends that to retain freshness, it should be refigerated after opening. If you use ketchup a lot, you could be pretty safe keeping it in a cabinet. If you're like me, you might use it once or twice a month - then you should refrigerate it because you won't go through the bottle fast enough to prevent spoilage. All opened food has the potential for bacterial growth which causes spoilage - the acidity in ketchup slows that growth tremendously but doesn't stop it (not that refrigeration stops it either). Scouts face a second obstacle to storing opened ketchup long term - no way to guarantee the storage space will maintain constant temperature, especially those units whose storage units are outside.

 

Another way to avoid the question - there was another thread that talked about hot dogs as meals - my opinion, ban hot dogs and hamburgers from menu planning - there are hundreds of great recipes for foods that can be cooked on campouts - and they don't need ketchups and mustards that are bought as condiments. Challenge your patrols to be more creative - or use the campouts as opportunities for scouts to earn their cooking merit badges.

 

CalicoPenn

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"ban hot dogs and hamburgers from menu planning"

Wow!

Talking as a true Brit, that sounds un-American to me.

Can you make Toad in the hole with hot dogs??

I really like burgers that are stuffed with Roquefort cheese. Most Scouts I know are not mad about blue cheeses,but camembert works well.

Eamonn.

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