Cooking Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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    Cooking Merit Badge

    Aids for the Boy-Led Scout Troop
    Part of great outdoor program is having an awesome experience at mealtime. Get hands on experience preparing meals that are safe, healthy and tasty.


    Sample Activity Plan

    Since Cooking Merit Badge requires scouts to take turns preparing meals for others, we have organized this Patrol Leader Guide quite a bit differently.

    More Information

    Cooking Merit Badge A) Orientation

    "Anyone who has spent much time in the outdoors knows that eating is one of adventuring's greatest pleasures." (Scout Handbook - Pg 314)

    In 2014, the Cooking Merit Badge became a requirement for Eagle Rank advancement. Cooking Merit Badge by itself requires preparing 20 meal plans and cooking 11.

    This orientation meeting should be held everytime your troop gets new scouts. Your goal is to explain how your troop handles food assignments and why this is relevant to passing advancement requirements and having outdoor fun.


      Earning the Cooking Merit Badge can help Scouts learn a skill that will be useful throughout life.

      WCTV-Chesapeake Television corespondent Heath Covey shows off his culinary skills by whipping up some tasty vittles with only the Boy Scout basics.

      Merit Badge Cooking Requirements

        Req #5 - Plan 10 meals for home / cook 4 - using at least 5 different cook methods
        Req #6 - Plan 5 meals for camp / cook 3 - (2 on lightweight stove / 1 on either Dutch Over, Kabob or Foil Pack)
        Req #7 - Plan 4 meals for the trail / cook 3 (at least one on an open flame)

      Camping Merit Badge
      Requirement #8 - Plan 7 meals for either camping or on the trail, prepare 3 meals.

      Backpacking Merit Badge
      Requirement #8 - Prepare at least three meals using a stove and fuel you can carry in a backpack.

      Tenderfoot Requirements:

        2a. On the campout, assist in preparing one of the meals. Tell why it is important for each patrol member to share in meal preparation and cleanup.
        2b. While on a campout, demonstrate an appropriate method of safely cleaning items used to prepare, serve, and eat a meal.
        2c. Explain the importance of eating together as a patrol.

      Second Class Requirements:

        2b. Use the tools listed in Tenderfoot requirement 3d to prepare tinder, kindling, and fuel wood for a cooking fire.
        2e. On one campout, plan and cook one hot breakfast or lunch, selecting foods from MyPlate or the current USDA nutritional model. Explain the importance of good nutrition. Demonstrate how to transport, store, and prepare the foods you selected.

      First Class Requirements: Cooking Merit Badge

        2a. Help plan a menu for one of the above campouts that includes at least one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner, and that requires cooking at least two of the meals. Tell how the menu includes the foods from MyPlate or the current USDA nutritional model and how it meets nutritional needs for the planned activity or campout.
        2b. Using the menu planned in First Class requirement 2a, make a list showing a budget and the food amounts needed to feed three or more boys. Secure the ingredients.
        2c. Show which pans, utensils, and other gear will be needed to cook and serve these meals.
        2d. Demonstrate the procedures to follow in the safe handling and storage of fresh meats, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, and other perishable food products. Show how to properly dispose of camp garbage, cans, plastic containers, and other rubbish.
        2e. On one campout, serve as cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in First Class requirement 2a. Supervise the cleanup.

      Cook Assignment Rotation

      • Required for Rank Advancement
      • Cooking is an important part of camping

      1. To maximize cooking opportunities many scout troops now run a regular meal rotation for their outdoor events; alternating between campsite events and on the trail events.

      2. On all cooking requirements, scouts prepare the meal not just for themselves, but for others also. These assignments should alternate between dinner, breakfast, lunch and dessert.

      Patrol leaders (and their scribes) should keep a record of who has cooked which meals and make new campout meal assignments accordingly. Patrol cooks should be aware of any food allergies in the group and plan meals accordingly.

      Mess Kit

      Every scout should be prepared with the following gear:

      • Mess Kit - (Recommend Stainless Steel - its sturdier than aluminum)
      • Utensil - (Recommend the Spork)
      • Trail Stove & Fuel - For self cooked meals when backpacking

      Planning Meals

      Use this guide to plan tasty boy scout meals, including costs, ingredients and equipment needed. Save completed meal plans to help track your progress.

      Cook Fire Plan

      Many outdoor venues now restrict or prohibit open fires. Always check ahead to know what cooking resources will be allowed.

      Also note that more boy scout summer camp venues now emphasize patrol cooking instead of cafeteria plans.

      Record Your Progress

      Meal Plan Checklist: Excel / PDF

    Cooking Merit Badge C) Camp Meal Recipe Central

    To earn this merit badge you will need to plan, prepare and eat (!) a number of meals in various settings. This Scout Meal Plan is a neat tool (better than the Merit Badge worksheet) to help you. Look for opportunities at home and outdoors with your troop to get Cooking experience.

    Home Meal Plans

    Scoutmaster Hall had lots of experience helping even finicky eaters develope great boy scout meal plans. Here were some of the best ideas - the boys can work on some variations as needed.

    • Mac & Cheese - avialable freeze dried at outdoor adventure stores
    • Pancakes
    • Scrambled Eggs
    • Peanut Butter Sandwiches
    • Chicken Nuggets wrapped in foil
    • Fruit mix
    • Banana Chips

    Camp Meal Plans

    Trail Meal Plans

    Cooking Merit Badge More Meal Plans

    This session can also get even the finikiest eaters some great ides for meals.

    Roadkill Patrol Classics

    Some of my favorite scout camp recipes:

    • Army M.R.E's
    • Camp Stove Pizza - wrap foil over the stove and turn it into a mini-pizza oven.
    • Taco Pie -
    • Hot Dogs - roast a weiner on a stick over an open fire
    • Tin Foil Surprise - wrap food items in tin foil and throw into an open fire and shuffle all of the items.
    • Dutch Oven Cobbler Pie

    Extreme Scout Recipes

    • Pizza Oven - I know of at least one California scouter whose troop would backpack with a large pizza oven to a mountain top.

    Cooking Merit Badge D) Study Hall

    Purpose: Help each Patrol Member learn key concepts on this subject. Include the following resources:

      Study Session #1

      Troop 160 Cooking Slideshow
      Great, colorful slide show to cover what you should know for requirements #1-4.

      Req #1: Cooking Safety
      Do the following:

        a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in cooking activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
        b. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur while preparing meals and eating, including burns and scalds, cuts, choking, and allergic reactions.
        c. Describe how meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products, and fresh vegetables should be stored, transported, and properly prepared for cooking. Explain how to prevent cross-contamination.
        d. Describe the following food-related illnesses and tell what you can do to help prevent each from happening: 1. Salmonella 2. Staphylococcal aureus 3. Escherichia coli (E. coli) 4. Clostridium botulinum (Botulism) 5. Campylobacter jejuni 6. Hepatitis 7. Listeria monocytogenes 8. Cryptosporidium 9. Norovirus
        e. Discuss with your counselor food allergies, food intolerance, food-related diseases, and your awareness of these concerns.

      Req #2: Best Nutrition Food Guide

      Warning: was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote purchasing habits to support farmers and is not supported by many nutrition experts.
      Healthy Eating Plate - created by nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health and editors at Harvard Health Publications, was designed to address deficiencies in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s MyPlate.

        a. Using the MyPlate food guide or the current USDA nutrition model, give five examples for EACH of the following food groups, the recommended number of daily servings, and the recommended serving size: 1. Fruits, 2. Vegetables, 3. Grains, 4. Proteins, 5. Dairy
        b. Explain why you should limit your intake of oils and sugars.
        c. Determine your daily level of activity and your caloric need based on your activity level. Then, based on the MyPlate food guide, discuss with your counselor an appropriate meal plan for yourself for one day.
        d. Discuss your current eating habits with your counselor and what you can do to eat healthier, based on the MyPlate food guide.
        e. Discuss the following food label terms: calorie, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugar, protein. Explain how to calculate total carbohydrates and nutritional values for two servings, based on the serving size specified on the label.

      Study Session #2

      Cooking Merit Badge

      Req #3: Food Labels -
      Do the following:

        a. Discuss the following food label terms: calorie, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugar, protein. Explain how to calculate total carbohydrates and nutritional values for two servings, based on the serving size specified on the label.
        b. Refer to “How to Read a Food Label” in the Cooking merit badge pamphlet, and name ingredients that help the consumer identify the following allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, and shellfish.

      Req #4: Cooking Methods -
      Do the following:

        a. Discuss EACH of the following cooking methods. For each one, describe the equipment needed and name at least one food that can be cooked using that method: baking, boiling, pan frying, simmering, steaming, microwaving, and grilling.
        b. Discuss the benefits of using a camp stove on an outing vs. a charcoal or wood fire.
        c. Discuss how the Outdoor Code and no-trace principles pertain to cooking in the outdoors.

    G) Final Meeting

    After completion of the above activities you may need a work session to finish completion of the merit badge worksheet to document the results of your visits, activities and the people you interviewed.

      Review Cooking Activities -

        At this point scouts present their completed cooking checklist and meal plans (Reg #5-7) for review by the counselor.

      Req #8: Careers in Cooking -

        Find out about three career opportunities in cooking. Select one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

      Roadkill Patrol Scout Cooking Tips -
      Just a few tips to have fun planning your next boy scout meal.

    H) Extra Credit

    Never add to or take away from the stated merit badge requirements. The material presented below is intended only to add fun for the patrol by way of either activity or community service.

    35 Incredibly Easy Dutch Oven Recipes - - "If you are a camping enthusiast, but are getting tired of having to eat the normal camp food, then you need to be well acquainted with the Dutch oven. "

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Cooking Famous Quotes:

    Do you know where chicken nuggets really come from?
    - Scoutmaster Hall
    Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors - it's how you combine them that sets you apart. - Wolfgang Puck
    If you're cooking and not making mistakes, you're not playing outside your safety zone. I don't expect it all to be good. I have fat dogs because I scrap that stuff out the back door. - Guy Fieri
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