BACKPACKING MENU AND COOKING INFORMATION Menu Planning, the Biggest Weekend Challenge What do you suppose is the hardest part about getting ready for a week-end campout? Program? Transportation? The answer is “None of the above!” Menu planning — That seems to be the hardest thing in which to train the leaders in the troop, both adult and Scout. Yet menu planning should be the easiest and most natural thing to do. Our wives do it everyday. Maybe you should pay a little attention when she is making out her shopping list and then tag along with her when she goes to the supermarket to buy this stuff and watch an expert at work. At camp there is no substitute for good, nutritious meals. Without them, no camping program, no matter how well prepared or presented, will be a success. Here are a few menu planning tricks. The next time you go to a restaurant for a meal, pay close attention to what the meal consists of. This is the first step in planning a meal. Chances are that what you have on your plate is food that you can identify. First, plan all meals — in detail and in writing. Second, from this written menu, develop a buying list, again in writing, containing all of the ingredients that make up the menu. Then go shopping. Take advantage of all sales, promotional items, and clip coupons from papers. Third, fit the cooking equipment to the menu. Just because the B.S.A. cook kit and tool roll is a nice neat package, there is no reason for taking all 12 pounds of it if you do not need every item. Fourth, in these days of “Sky High Prices” do your shopping early and leisurely; read the labels, know what you are buying. Buy only what you need and check your list frequently to make sure that you have every item before you leave the market. Many times patrols plan meals that are bought at the last minute are too costly and, most of the time, something is not bought or left behind that is needed to complete the meal. A few things to remember for the future; make a file of all written menus that were good. Try all new menus at home first. If they are no good throw them out. Where do you get all of the ideas for these good meals or menus? Look at some of the cook books your wife has in the kitchen. If the meal you choose is good, remember that if your wife can cook it at home, you can do the same at camp. Try buying the larger packages and repacking in the amounts that you will need for your menus and store the rest. This may be the cheapest way to go. Be innovative, don‟t be afraid to experiment, but do it at home that first time, not at camp. Following the above steps and in a little time you will become an expert. When you feel that you have “mastered” the art, then you can pass it on to the Junior Leaders. That way the whole troop will be “experts.” This will give more time for program without spending the whole week-end cooking and “burying” the mistakes. A Scout is Thrifty. Don‟t waste food. Eating Utensils Select ultra-lightweight - yet strong - Lexan utensils. Do you really need anything other than a spoon and bowl? NOTE: The new titanium utensils & the Lexan utensils appear to be, at least, equally lightweight and strong, for most camping purposes when using backpacking lightweight stoves. Carry Less Stove Fuel Test how much fuel your stove uses to cook your favorite meals & drinks, plan accordingly, and only take the necessary amount of fuel. If you are using white gas, factor in extra for priming purposes. Also, regardless of what kind of fuel you use, factor in a little extra if you are going to higher altitudes where the air is thinner. Always cook with a lid on your pots. This enables better heat retention, so the water boils faster, which uses less fuel, which reduces the weight on your back! Also, try to take foods which don't require cooking. Lunches and snacks, especially. This will reduce the amount of stove fuel you will need to carry. Blacken Your Pots! Another tip for using less fuel is to blacken your cooking pots. A blackened pot will absorb heat faster than a shiny surfaced one. Most pots do not come pre-blackened, but over time may become that way, especially if you use them in an open fire. The black surface absorbs and distributes heat faster than a shiny surface. NOTE: Heat resistant black paint can be procured at hardware stores - look for stove paint or BBQ grill paint - and at automotive supply stores - look for engine block paint. These paints should have a temp rating of 2000 degrees F. Here's a couple other cooking pot tips that help maximize the efficiency of your stove: ROUNDED BOTTOM EDGES: Flames/heat from your stove can more easily move up the sides of the pot, thus more surface area is covered. TIGHT-FITTING LID: A tight-fitting lid is critical in order to maximize the efficiency of your stove. If you have a tight-fitting lid, the contents of the pot will heat faster and, thus, you'll consume less stove fuel. Use Sugarless Drinks! Use energy drinks, hot chocolate, etc., either unsweetened, sugar free or lightly sweetened. Sugar is very heavy. Gatorade powder--laced with processed white sugar--weighs 2.3 oz per quart. Eat Heavy Foods, First! Foods such as, meal pack bars, fresh fruits & veggies, canned foods, semi-dried sausages, etc., add the most weight to your pack. Eat them first to lighten your load. Tips for Pot Cleaning Any suggestions to use sand or fine gravel instead of a scouring pad for dirty pots and pans invites disaster. This idea is a hold over from World War II boot camps and long outmoded Scout books. Too many soldiers and Scouts have suffered anything from mild stomach upset or diarrhea, to debilitating dysentery, dehydration, or worse. Sand or gravel scrubbed into a metal pot or pan will leave coarse and irregular scrapes, scratches and gouges in the metal surface. These scratches will eventually collect trapped food particles, soap film, etc., and be next to impossible to clean, especially if particles have become dried or burnt onto the surface at some time. Also, these scratches take longer to dry out due to capillary action within these small surfaces. Old food and moisture invite every awful bug, known and unknown, to breed with abandon, waiting only for the addition of more food and moisture in tepid conditions to allow them to explode in number. Let's face it, the "trots" is no fun at anytime, let alone miles from the trailhead. Lying under a pine tree, wondering which end of one's aching anatomy is going blow up next is not my personal idea of enjoyable backpacking. Did you count out enough squares of "all-purpose paper" when you packed? In a worst case type of scenario, a backpacker may be unable to eat, control themselves, travel, or even keep down water for a period of several days. Just 2 or 3 days of dehydration, combined with a weakened condition, in a desert, mountainous, cold, or other type of remote area can too easily become a life threatening condition. Carry a small corner of a green Scotch pad type scouring pad in its ever present little zip lock baggie. They don't rust, dry fairly quickly and will hold up for a full season. A piece of 3 or 4 square inches in area at the most is all you‟ll need. Other techniques include using a wood chip to scrape away most food stuffs from pots, even stuck on foods, without scratching. Since almost no one carries an ax anymore a whittled end of a green stick might be used, and still not cause the scratching or gouging problem. Soaking a pot with a bit of water over a low heat goes a long way to making even the cheesiest, eggiest, burned on mess softer and easier to clean. If the hard stuff is scraped out, then only a corner of a wash cloth will be needed to keep those high dollar titanium pots looking shiny and well cared for. Pot cleaning is always easiest when food is well prepared, not burned, and pots are quickly wiped out before anything has a chance to dry or stick to the pot. Warm wash water and fingertips can even get a pot clean in these circumstances - to be followed up by the hottest rinse water that may be had. How to Cook in the Rain When Backpacking In rainy conditions, it's important to have a hot meal to warm the body and prevent hypothermia. You can get it done, even when a storm is relentless. 1. Bring waterproof matches and fire starter, and pack these inside a sealed plastic bag. 2. Pack any dry food items, spices, and cardboard boxes in zipper-lock bags or garbage bags to avoid water damage. 3. Choose your campsite carefully. You want to sleep and cook somewhere slightly higher than the surrounding area so that the rain isn't draining into your camp. 4. Cover any gear that will not fit in your tent with your backpack cover or a tarp. 5. Consider waiting until the storm dies down a bit before attempting to cook. It will probably ease up a bit in intervals, making your task much easier. 6. Select the easiest meal you have with you ' preferably a one-pot meal. 7. Do any necessary prep work inside your tent before starting your stove. 8. Set the stove outside your tent ' as far from the door as your arms will reach. You can squat at the entrance of your tent to remain dry, while cooking outside of the tent. 9. Prime the stove as far away from the tent as possible. 10. Bring the stove into the vestibule of your tent only after it is fully lit and not sputtering. Do not bring it all the way into your tent. 11. Leave the door of your vestibule unzipped for ventilation. 12. Hang a tarp to create a covered kitchen. This will make cooking much easier than crowding into your tent. Overall Warnings: Do not cook inside your tent. This poses a serious risk of fire, burns and asphyxiation. You should never cook near your tent or take food into your tent if you are camping in an area where bears may be present. How to Choose Food for Cold Weather Backpacking You burn about twice as many calories backpacking in the winter than you do during your normal daily life. You'll need to eat plentiful amounts of hot foods and calorie-rich foods to keep warm, so forget about starting that diet until you're out of the woods. 1. Plan on carrying more food than you would for backpacking in warmer climates. You will need at least 2 1/2 lbs. of quick preparation foods daily for each adult. 2. Choose foods that require a minimal number of steps for preparation. You will be cooking with gloves on, and tasks like cutting or measuring ingredients will be more difficult. 3. Choose foods that cook quickly and don't require long periods of simmering. You will need more fuel to bring water to a boil and keep food warm in a cold climate. 4. Pack butter, margarine or a bottle of olive oil. This will add necessary fat and additional flavor to just about any meal you're likely to prepare. 5. Bring instant soup mixes. These are easy to prepare and may save you from hypothermia by warming you quickly and helping you stay hydrated. 6. Pack lots of small, carbohydrate-rich snacks such as dried fruit, granola, energy bars, GORP, candy, corn chips and crackers. You'll need to eat these at regular intervals in cold conditions to keep warm. 7. Pack an emergency stash of sugar snacks, such as candy bars or M&M‟s that will metabolize quickly and can be eaten if someone begins to show signs of hypothermia or hypoglycemia. 8. Pack foods high in fat such as cheese, peanut butter or soy nuts. Dinners higher in fat will help keep you warm in your sleeping bag throughout the night, and keep you from waking up from hunger. 9. Bring spices to jazz up the flavor or prepackaged meals. Curry is great with rice; onion flakes, powdered garlic or tamari are good with soup, rice mixtures and stews; sage and basil are nice mixed with butter. Backpack Cooking Hints and Tips Powdered milk seems to taste too "chalky"? Add a couple of tablespoons of "Coffee-Mate" or "Cremora" and reconstitute as usual. Makes a difference in taste. The "Old Time Standby" in the kitchen "Baking Soda" has many camping uses, as follows: Itchy bug bites and stings, smear a small amount on the bite or sting. Use for tooth paste - no smell to attract bears and other critters. Upset stomach, use as directed on the box. Use in the water while rinsing those smelly socks you wore on the trail. Carry in a watertight container in your pack. Take it fresh on each trip. It‟s cheap and light. Make your Bug Repellent go farther, simply wet your skin before applying, makes it easier to apply evenly. Carry a couple of large plastic garbage bags in your pack. You will find lots of uses for them. A bag over your pack will keep the pack dry overnight. With a little cutting, you will have an emergency poncho or pack cover to keep you and your pack a little dryer while hiking to the next camp. Crossing a stream, slip one over each boot, pull up and tie at ankles and above your knees. Uses for 35mm film containers: Carry needles, thread and buttons; matches, cut to size; useful for fish hooks, and line sinkers; extra clevis pin and rings for pack repair. We are all "experts" in the use of our compasses, right? Yet with all of the bits and pieces of knowledge we cram into our memory bank, we sometimes come up with a "Double Zero" when we need that expertise. What to do? Remember that sheet of instructions that was in the bottom of the box the compass came in? Reach down in the waste basket and rescue it. It can be a simple remedy to most of your troubles. It is light in weight and heavy in knowledge - place it in your map case and carry at all times. What’s For Dinner Home Dried Pasta Sauce Ingredients Pound lean ground beef Medium yellow onion - chopped finely Garlic cloves - minced finely Tsp salt 1/8 tsp Black Pepper 5 oz. cans tomato paste Procedure Brown the meat and onion together. Set the pan on a slant until the fat collects in the bottom of the skillet, then spoon off as much of the fat as possible. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. It won„t seem like sauce since you haven„t added any water. Divide the mixture, if necessary, into two parts. Spread as thin as possible in greased cookie sheets. Dry the sauce in the oven set at 140 degrees for about 6 hours with the oven door propped open about 4-5 inches. The dried sauce will be crumbly, but be sure not to over dry. To reconstitute, add and equal amount of water, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. This is the original recipe as printed in Boots and Blisters a few years back. Variations 1 Medium green pepper chopped. 3-4 Small mushrooms chopped. 1 tbsp Italian seasoning 1 More large clove garlic minced. Oatmeal Trail Mix Ingredients 1-1/4 Cups of Oats (or combination of Oats, Bran, Wheat Germ.) 3/4 Cup of powdered milk 1 tbsp Plain gelatin 1 Cup of dates, apricots, or other dried fruit chopped. 1/2 Cup of raisins 3/4 Cup of chopped nuts and sunflower seeds. 6 tbsp Honey 1/4 t Grated orange or lemon peel. 4 tbsp Water. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix honey, water and citrus peel. Combine second mixture with the first. Knead with hands until thoroughly mixed. Press into a baking pan to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Bake at 150 degrees for about 6 hours. Don't let it brown! It burns easily. Cut into bars 1" x 2" or larger, wrap in wax paper. Store in a cool place until needed. May be eaten in bar form or crumbled in water or milk as a breakfast cereal. Hit-the-Trail Frittata Ingredients 1/2 cup diced onion 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 tsp. oregano 1 zucchini, sliced in rounds 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped 2 baked potatoes, sliced 3 eggs, beaten olive oil 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese salt and pepper Instructions At Home: Sauté onion, garlic and oregano in oil till onion is translucent. Add zucchini and basil and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sliced baked potatoes, Parmesan, and beaten eggs. Season to taste. Pour into an oiled 8" square pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and slice into squares Makes 9 squares Protein-power Cereal Bag together: 1 - Cup Quick oatmeal 1/3 - Cup Toasted Wheat Germ 1/3 - Cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts 1/4 - Cup each; raisins, dried apples or apricots, sun flower seed kernels chopped 1/2 - Cup instant dry milk 1 - tbsp. date sugar In camp: Either add 1-1/2 cup cold water mix and eat OR add mix to 2 cups boiling water, stir and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Serves 3. Cashew Rice Curry (Makes 2 generous servings) Ingredients: 1/4 cup dried milk 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp curry powder 3 1/2 cups water 2 cup instant rice 1/4 cup cashew pieces 2 oz grated cheddar cheese Directions: Mix dry milk and enough water to form a paste. Add remaining water, mix well and bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is soft (about 20 minutes). Stir in nuts and cheese. Serve when the cheese is melted. Turkey Tetrazini (Makes 3 servings) Ingredients: 3 cups water 3 servings dry mushroom soup mix 1 can turkey (5 oz) 1 pkg Ramen oriental noodles Directions: Mix water and soup mix until smooth. Add turkey and noodles. (Don't use the sauce mix from the Ramen package. You can leave that at home.) Cook 2 minutes and serve. Lentil Dish (Makes 2 generous servings) Ingredients: 1 cup dried ground lentils (crack in blender) 1/4 cup dehydrated mince onion 1 1/2 tbsp cumin 2 tsp garlic powder 2 tbsp sugar 3 cups water 1 tbsp salt 4 tbsp margarine 4 oz Jack cheese Directions: Place lentils, onion, cumin, garlic powder, sugar, water and salt in pot. Boil for 2 minutes. Cover and let stand 1 hour. After 1 hour, bring to boil again, add margarine and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Garnish with thinly sliced cheese. Beef Stroganoff (Makes 2 generous servings) Ingredients 4 1/2 cups water 2/3 cup instant powder milk 1 pkg sour cream mix 1 pkg Stroganoff mix 2 cups egg noodles 1/2 cup dried beef (see "Dried Beef," below) 2 tsp salt 4 tbs margarine (optional) Directions: Mix 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup powder milk. In pot, add milk to sour cream mix and Stroganoff mix. Heat until sauce thickens. Place noodles, beef, salt, and 3 cups of water in 2nd pot. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in sauce, add margarine and serve. Dried Beef (Use for Stroganoff, above, or other meat dishes) Ingredients: 2 lbs lean meat (round or flank steak) 2 cups cold water 1/2 cup salt 1/2 tbs. black pepper 1/4 cup vinegar Directions: Trim fat from meat. Slice meat into 1/4 inch strips, slicing with grain of meat. Combine water, salt, black pepper, and vinegar in deep pot and bring to boil. Divide meat into 4 lots. Boil each lot for 5 minutes. Meat will be gray when done. Press out juice with rolling pin and paper towels. Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Place meat strips on metal oven racks. Keep oven door slightly ajar. Meat will dry in 1 1/2 hours. Meat should crack but not be brittle when done. If it bends but does not break, cook a little longer. Store in bag. Dried meat should keep about 10 weeks. (or use a dehydrator) Chicken Rice Almondine (Makes 3 generous servings) Ingredients: 4 cups water 1 6 once can, chicken 4 cups instant rice 1/2 tsp onion salt 1/2 tsp celery salt 2 tsp chopped dried onion 1 pkg slice almonds (2 3/4 oz) 2/3 cup raisins Directions: Place chicken and water in pot, bring to boil. Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil. Remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve. Super Power Bars (Makes eight 2" x 4" bars) Ingredients: 1/2 cup margarine 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup oats 1/2 cup unsifted whole wheat flour 1/2 cup unsifted white flour 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ 2 tsp orange rind 2 eggs 1 cup blanched almonds 1/4 cup coconut 1/2 cup chocolate chips Directions: Mix margarine, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, flour, wheat germ, and orange rind. Put into ungreased 8" x 8" pan. Beat eggs with 1/4 cup brown sugar, nuts, raisins, coconut, and chocolate chips. Pour over base. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars. Wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
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