Ever wonder what it would be like to cook all of your food over a fire? At Allegany Boys Camp, the boys do exactly that two days out of every week. Friday through Tuesday they head up trail three times a day and enter chuckwagon where Miss Esther and Miss Sheryl have fabulous food waiting for them. On Wednesday and Thursday the boys get a chance to hone their own culinary skills at campsite.
Each boy takes a turn planning a menu and being in charge of cooking the meal when his turn comes. Education is incorporated into every aspect of a cookout. When a boy plans a menu and needs to choose an item from each food group he learns about nutrition. When he itemizes the ingredients and calculates how much he needs for his group, he practices Math skills. Just like the grocery store doesn’t deliver items to your house when you forget to pick them up, spaghetti doesn’t magically appear at your campsite just because you wanted it on the menu. By planning a menu, boys learn important life skills like planning ahead and thinking through details.
Learning to cook is the most obvious life skill. Cooking over a fire takes that skill to the next level! Best of all, it’s fun! Who doesn’t like gathering around a grill and enjoying a cookout with friends? The sense of ownership and accomplishment that comes with being successful in making food that others enjoy is indescribable.
Normally, each group of campers cooks food for their own group. On the first day of spring all of camp got together for a big dutch oven cookoff and what a feast it was! There were barbecued wings, pasta dishes, Japanese chicken, soups, and a fabulous apple pie dessert. You can bake almost anything in a dutch oven.
Just as with any cookout at home, the slower pace of outdoor cooking allows time to relax and enjoy the warmer weather ….
….time for your taste buds to tingle with anticipation every time you lift the lid
…time to chat with the people around you ….
…or arm wrestle with your neighbor ….
…if you’re lucky, you might even catch a ride …
…and of course, time to taste test …
“In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.” — Julia Child
At camp, we feel a bit the same way.