Cooking skills are fast disappearing in an age when preprocessed and precooked food products increasingly dominate the options found at the grocery store. Every time I turn on the television, I am bombarded with advertising touting the ease and tastiness of this meal in a box or that meal in a bag. Cooking has become a 2-step process: Take it out of the freezer and put it in the oven. Sadly, most adults today don’t have any idea how to prepare a meal using individual ingredients, let alone outdoors away from the microwave. These same adults lack the knowledge and the skills to teach their children anything about cooking indoors or out.
No matter what your skill level is in the kitchen, the purpose of this blog is to get you out of your conventional kitchen and into the outdoors, which is where I believe some of the best cooking takes place. Cooking in the camp kitchen is undoubtedly one of the most challenging situations to cook in but it is also one of the most rewarding. I’ve been a youth leader and an outdoor skills trainer and facilitator for nearly 20 years and after a hard day of hiking, canoeing, swimming, and working in the outdoors, nothing beats sitting down at the picnic table to a nice, hot meal followed by a relaxing campfire of songs, stories, and s’mores!
For youth in particular, outdoor cooking builds a vast array of skills, including leadership, service, cooperation, thoughtfulness, gratitude, planning, cleanliness, patience, creativity, resourcefulness, and so much more. Cooking for others, whether its your family, your buddies, your patrol or troop, or your community is a huge responsibility. People are trusting you to take care of them, to feed them something that not only tastes good, but that will meet their nutritional needs and not make them sick.
Ingredients for this blog will include techniques, safe food-handling, nutrition, equipment, recipes, experimenting, planning, cooking, cleaning, and whatever else we find along the way. And, I plan to talk a lot about Dutch oven cooking, which is one of my favorite ways to cook outdoors.
Welcome and let’s get outside and get cooking!