Camp Cooking Lesson 2

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Planning is the most important part of any function. A well-planned campout will be a success- ful campout! When planning what food, and cooking equipment to take, we must first consider the type of campout we are going on. Then you must determine the types of food, you would like. When planning, you should consider tastes, nutrition, individual diet requirements, costs of foods, and methods of cooking. You should also consider the number of people to cook for,  and their ages, the method of transportation, and the number of meals to prepare. (A Junior Leader can almost always eat much more than a Recruit!) The time of year, and the seasons, also need to be considered when determining the type of food, and the cooking equipment you will need!

In addition to basic foods you will bring, you should also consider other things which are neces- sary in cooking: fats, butter, margarine, salad dressing, sugar, flour, ketchup, mustard, salt, pep- per, jelly, and any other type of flavorings, or spices.

You also need to plan the size of the meals! Appetites are always larger than normal when camping. Breakfast should be a hearty meal. Combinations of bacon and eggs, pancakes or hot cereal along with dried, or fresh fruit, dry cereal and milk, will make a good breakfast. The fire must be started early so that there is a good bed of coals to cook upon. Remember to put a pot of water on the fire as soon as possible for dish washing!

A nourishing light lunch should be planned which will require little or no dishwashing. This will allow more time for other day-camp activities. Sandwiches, served with fruit drinks, raisins or a candy bar are good when the weather is warm and dry. If the weather is cold or rainy, serve some hot foods with the sandwiches, like soup, or hot cocoa.

Supper should be your feast! This is a meal that offers the opportunity to try all those camp recipes. And gives you the opportunity to practice your newly acquired camp cooking skills. Begin preparations early. Late suppers are no fun, and doing dishes in the dark is a real chore! Again, remember to put a pot of water on the fire as soon as possible for dish washing.


OVER-NIGHT CAMPING – Most over night camping is done at established campsites, and you arrive by automobile. Planning meals for this type of camping is easy! Most of the food  you bring will be raw or pre-cooked. Packaging the food is not hard, and refrigeration is mini- mal. When you are over-night camping, nutrition is not as important as the well-balanced meals you will need for other types of camping. Normally you need to plan just two meals, supper and breakfast.

WEEKEND OR WEEK LONG CAR CAMPING – With this type of camping, you normally arrive at pre-established campsites by automobile. Generally you eat fresh, and canned foods. Many perishable foods are brought, and these are the biggest problem! You must make sure these food items stay frozen or cold until needed. To make this easier, buy and freeze your meat in the portions you’ll need for preparing individual dishes. Keep all frozen foods together in a cooler; this will help keep them frozen longer. As you pack the cooler, put the foods you will use first, near the sides, bottom and top of the cooler. Put the foods you will use last in the cen- ter of the cooler. (This will keep these foods frozen longer.) If frozen solid, a chicken or ground beef will defrost in about a day. Beef will stay good longer than chicken once it has thawed, if keep cold! Vegetables and fruits must also stay cold in a cooler, until used.

BACKPACK OR CANOE CAMPING – Planning, preparation, and packing are very important when doing this type of camping! When backpacking or canoeing, you must carry, on your back and in your canoe, all your food and cooking equipment. Packing all items as compact as possible is a must. Because you have to carry everything, bulky coolers are not practical. Fresh meats should be frozen before your trip, and packed in cardboard, inside your food pack. These frozen foods will not stay frozen long, and should be eaten first! Prepackaged, dehydrated, and freeze dried foods are most practical. But these foods are very expensive, and they never actu- ally serve as many as the packages list! Many dried and dehydrated foods can be bought in bulk, in your local grocery store at a much lower price. These foods include; pancake mix, dry soup, dry stew mix, muffin mix, quick breads, powdered milk, and eggs, freeze dried hash browns and potato slices, fruit drinks, and many other items. Just walk the isles of the grocery, and use your imagination! Cooking utensils must also be lightweight and compact. Leave the cast iron frying pan at home! When backpacking or canoeing, you will need foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates to keep your energy level high.


Ok, so your wagon has been put in charge of the menu for the next campout. Where should you start? Start by determining how many meals, of what type, you will be planning for. Will there be one breakfast, one dinner, two lunches? And what about a quick energy snack?

Once you have determined how many meals you will be planning for, decide what you would like to eat! Remember variety is the spice of life, don’t have the same things over and over, try new ideas. And remember that you must also have well balanced meals, not just something to fill your stomach! Use the “Food Guide Pyramid” to help you plan! Sit together as a wagon, and just start listing ideas on a piece of paper. List every idea, and then read over the list. Take off the ideas that just won’t work on this trip.

Now that you have decided what foods you want, you need to make a food list! List everything you will need to make each dish. Don’t forget things like seasonings, cooking oil, etc.

Next you need to determine the amount of food to bring for each meal! The following chart lists serving sizes. Take the serving size for each item and multiply it by the number of people you are feeding. This will be the quantity you will need to purchase for each item!



Bread                                                  4 slices

Cookies                                               2 oz.

Cakes                                                  2 oz.

Cereals – oatmeal                                2 oz.

Cereals – cold                                     2 oz.

Pancake Mix                                       1 1/2 oz. mix

Rice, precooked                                  1 1/2 oz.

Spaghetti                                             3 oz.

Macaroni                                             3 oz.

Pudding Mix                                       1/2 package


Orange, Apple, Banana                       1

Fruit, Canned                                      5-6 oz.

Fruit, Dried                                         2 oz.

Grapefruit                                           1/2

Tomatoes                                             1

Fruit Juice                                           6 oz.

Cabbage                                              1/6 head

Carrots                                                1

Vegetables, Canned                            4 oz.

Vegetables, Dehydrated                     1/2 oz.

Potatoes, Raw                                     2 medium

Potatoes, Instant                                 2 oz.

Sweet Corn, In The Husk                   2 ears

Onions, Raw                                       1 medium

Soup, Canned                                     5 oz.

Soup, Dry                                            1 ind. pkg.

MILK AND CHEESE                     AMOUNT

Milk, Fresh                                          1 pt.

Milk, Powdered                                     1/2-2 oz.

Cocoa, Instant                                       2 packets

Cheese                                                 2 oz.

Ice Cream                                            1/2 pt.


Steak                                                   6-8 oz.

Pork Chops                                         6-8 oz.

Stew Meat                                           4 oz.

Hamburger                                          4 oz.

Hot Dogs                                             2

Chicken, With Bones                          12 oz.

Ham                                                    5-6 oz.

Lunch Meat                                         3-4 oz.

Meat, Canned                                     3 oz.

Fish, Fresh                                           6-8 oz.

Fish, Canned                                       3 oz.

Eggs, Fresh                                         2

Eggs, Powdered                                  1/4 oz.


Well, now you know what types of food you want, now which meals should you plan for which days? The best way to do this is to get a list of the activities, and the times which they are planed for. Light, quick meals are normally planed for the middle of the day, when it is imprac- tical to stop all your activities and spend two hours making a meal. If you have a big activity planned for an evening, make that dinner less elaborate, and easy to clean up.

A planning chart will help you stay or- ganized and will prevent you from for- getting items.


Before you go to the store to price your food list, look to see if you have any leftover staples from your last trip. These would include things like seasonings, cocoa, soap, matches, napkins, toilet paper, and aluminum foil. Think of all the things you don’t have, and the things you will need. Combine this list of items with the list of food items from your planning chart. Now you should have a complete shopping list!


Now that you have a complete food list, it’s time to find out how much the food will cost! It’s important to try to keep the cost as low as you can, while still providing good tasting, nourishing food. Remember, the cost of this food will be split between everyone in your wagon, or train! You will have to watch quantity, weight, volume, and servings per package very closely. Most Grocery stores have many different brands, of the same item, in dif- ferent packages. Sometimes one brand name, and one package size can be a better buy than the others. Quantity, and quality can affect prices. And don’t forget to look for “discount sales” on the items you need! Meats, and convenience items will be the most expensive. For the type of cooking you will be doing, it pays to have “good” or “choice” grade meats. Lower grade meats will not be as tender when cooking over an open campfire!

Stew Meat
Salt and Pepper
Dinner Rolls
Graham Crackers
2 lbs.
1 lb. Of each
1/4 cup  
1 dozen
16 oz.
(2) 5 oz. Pkg.
1/4 lb.
(1) 2 qt. Pkg.
Frying Pan
Slotted Spoon
Sharp Knife
Dutch Oven
(2) Pie Tins
Beverage Container

Make sure you read the labels on all packages. What is in the package, how much, how many will it feed? Do you have to add anything to the packages ingredients…milk, eggs, sugar? Keep in mind the type of storage you will have for perishable items. And don’t forget that when pack- ages say they have 3-4 servings, they may actually serve only 2-3 hungry Pioneers at camp!

You may want to take your list to the local grocery store and show it to the owner or store man- ager. Sometimes the owner or store manager will be willing to help you with the pricing, and they may offer you a discount! Get all the advice you can from your parents, trainmaster, and the grocery store.


Once you have determined the food list, the quantities, and the prices, you can determine the cost per person. Add the cost of all food, and other staples together for a total cost. Now take this total cost and divide it by the number of people going to camp. This will be the cost per person. If the cost is too high you may have to change your menu slightly.


After the all the planning is done, it’s time to buy the food. Make sure to take your wagon part- ners along to help you out; this should never be a one-man job!


The best way to have great meals at camp, and have fun cooking, is to share the work. There are all kinds of jobs to be done if you want a successful, tasty meal. There is wood to be gathered, fires to start, food preparation, and dishes to wash. All of these are important jobs, and one per- son cannot do them all. It’s important that we take turns and share the work. Everybody at camp should have a job to do, and nobody should be stuck with the same job, meal after meal, and day after day! The best way for everybody to learn is to rotate the jobs and take turns. When you’re at camp, everyone, including you, will benefit from camp chores which are done cor- rectly. When camp chores are done efficiently, and quickly, there is more time for other activi- ties.


It’s nice to have someone you can share your work with. Partners who can help you carry wood or help keep the fire going. Its great to show someone what you have learned, and to learn things from your partner. To handle most camp jobs, two people are best. You will probably find that two cooks are not too many, but any more than two, and you are tripping over each other. Assigning partners to different duties each day, or each meal, will help share all the du- ties fairly.


What are the most important things you need to do when cooking at camp? Gather firewood, and water; prepare and cook the food; and clean up after your done. No meal can be eaten, without successfully carrying out these chores. Duty rosters can be flexible, schedule by the meal or by the day.

Fuel and Water Partners keep a good supply of clean water, tinder, kindling and firewood in camp. They should make sure the firewood stays dry, and is split to size for cooking. These partners should also start the cook fire in plenty of time to have a good bed of coals for the cooks.

Cooking Partners prepare and mix food items. They follow the menu planning charts, and recipes. Cooking partners warm a pot of water on the fire for dishes, serve meals, and put food away.

Clean-up Partners set up a dishwashing area with warm wash water, and rinse water. They clear and clean off the table, properly dispose of any trash and put out the fire. Clean-up part- ners also maintain a wash area for their fellow Pioneers.

Once you have determined what part- ners will have what jobs, put this list on a duty roster chart:

  Fri. FUEL

Make the chart big enough for every- body to see, and hang it near the kitchen area. Make sure everyone knows what his job is.


Knowing the temperature of your cooking surface is important! When the recipe says, “preheat to 350F”, how do you do it? The palm count method is best used when trying to determine what the temperature is. Place hand, palm facing the heat, at the cooking location. Now start counting seconds: “one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, and so on. Note the time it takes before you need to pull your hand away. This is not an endurance test; so when your hand gets hot, pull it away! Use the following chart to determine the approximate temperature:

Time Before Withdrawing Hand   Coals/Fire are: Approximate Temperature
2 seconds hot 400 degrees
3 seconds Medium-hot 3?5 degrees
4 seconds medium 350 degrees
5 seconds Medium-low 325 degrees
6 seconds low 300 degrees


Earlier, you read how green sticks, with the bark peeled off can be used to make a set of tongs. In this section, you will read about ways to cook with sticks. Stick cooking can be fun, because you involve each camper in the preparation of his own meal.


Green sticks work best for creating utensils. The moisture inside green sticks prevents the wood from burning as fast as dry sticks will. Don’t use soft wood such as pine, spruce fir, or cedar. These woods will make your food taste like the resin contained within them. The following are some examples of stick utensils:

Forked Stick Frying Pan – Find a stick with forks with prongs wide enough to contain the food, and a handle that is at least 12 inches long. Center 2 sheets (for strength), of aluminum foil over the crotch of the fork. Roll the foil diagonally, starting at the bottom corners. Crimp the foil securely around each fork, and roll the top edge down. Turn the stick over. Depress the center slightly to form a well to hold the food and liquids from running off. This frying pan can be used for just about any simple fried food.

Skewers – A wooden skewer is just a stick that is about a 1/2 inch thick, and between 1 to 4 feet long. The bark should be peeled off the stick in the section where the food is to be placed. Skewers can be used for cooking many different types of food, all of which are roasted over or near the fire. Examples; hot dogs, marshmallows, bread, whole fish, shish-kebab, etc.

Stirring, Poking – A green stick, with the bark peeled, can be used in the preparation of your food to stir or mix. You can also use green sticks to arrange wood, and coals in your cooking fire. The great thing about using green sticks, is you don’t have to wash them. After you get done using them, and after you are done cooking, just throw them in the fire to dispose of them!

Tongs – Refer to an earlier section of the manual.


1 – ? oz Tube Of Soft Bread Stick Dough Butter

Let your campfire coals reach a medium-low temperature. Cut a finger thickness green stick to about 1 to 1 1/2 feet long. Peel the bark from the stick, and preheat over the coals to make bread cook more evenly through out. Unroll the tube of bread sticks and separate the individual pieces. For each green stick, roll one piece of bread stick dough between your hands until the dough is long, and narrow. Now wrap the dough around the bread stick, starting at the top of the stick and angling down. The edges of the dough should touch each other but not overlap. Bake the bread over the coals, turning frequently to prevent burning. Remove the stick from the heat when the bread is golden brown. Brush the bread with butter, and eat!

Alternatives: Roll the buttered stick in cinnamon & sugar, or garlic powder. You can also use instant mixes, in- stead of the tube dough.


Chunks Of Beef, Chicken, potatoes, onions, green peppers,

Pineapple, or any other meat and vegetable you like.

Let your campfire coals reach a medium temperature. Cut a 1/2 inch thick green stick to about 2 1/2 feet long. Peel off the bark and sharpen one end. Alternately slip small chucks of the above ingredients onto the green stick. Roast over the coals until cooked throughout.

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