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Cooking Hints

When boiling a pot of water on the fire, do not jamb the lid on too firmly. When the steam forms inside the pot, it must have some means of escape. To find out when the water is beginning to boil, you need not take off the lid and look, but just hold the end of a stick or knife to the pot, and if the water is boiling you will feel the pot trembling.

Oatmeal Porridge-Pour into a pot one cup of water for each person. Add a pinch of salt for each cup. When the water boils, sprinkle oatmeal in it while stirring with a stick or large spoon. The amount of oatmeal depends upon whether you want the porridge thick or thin. Simmer the porridge until it is done, stirring all the time.

Don't do as I did once when I was a "tenderfoot". Tt was my turn to cook, so I thought I would vary the dinner by giving them soup, I had some pea-flour, and I mixed it with water and boiled it up, and served it as pea-soup. But I did not put in any stock or meat juice of any kind, I didn't know that it was necessary or would be noticeable. But they noticed it directly, called my beautiful soup a "wet pea-pudding", and told me I might eat it myself-not only told me T might, but they jolly well made me eat it. 1 never made the mistake again.

Hay-Box Cooking

Hay-box cooking is the best way of getting your cooking done in camp, as you only have to start it and the hay-box does the rest. You can then go out and play your camp games with the other fellows, and come back to find that your dinner has cooked itself- that is, if you started it right. If you didn't-well, you won't find yourself very popular with the Patrol!

This is how you start it: get a box. Line it with several thicknesses of newspaper at sides and bottom, then fill it with hay or more newspapers ; pack this all tight with a space in the middle for your cooking pot. Plenty of hay below as well as round the pot. Make a cushion packed with hay for the top, or a thick pad of folded newspapers.

Get your stewpot full of food, and as soon as it is well on the boil, pop it into the hay-box. Pack the hay or paper tight round it and over it, put on the covering pad, and jam down the lid with a weight on it.

Meat will take four or five hours to cook in this way. Oatmeal you should boil for five minutes, and leave in hay-box all night. It will be ready for your early breakfast.

Bread Making

"The three Bs of life in camp are the ability to cook bannocks, beans, and bacon."

To make bread, or bannocks, or "dampers", the usual way is to mix flour with a pinch or two of salt and of baking powder, then make a pile of it and scoop out the centre until it forms a cup for the water, which is then poured in. Mix everything well together until it forms a lump of dough. With a little fresh flour sprinkled over the hands to prevent the dough sticking to them, pat it and make it into the shape of a large bun or several smaller buns.

Then put it on a gridiron over hot embers. Or sweep part of the fire to one side, and put the dough on the hot ground left there and pile hot ashes round it and let it bake.

Only small loaves can be made in this way.


Still another way is to cut a stout stick, sharpen its thin end, peel it, and heat it in the fire. Make a long strip of dough, about two inches wide and half an inch thick and wind it spirally down the stick. Plant the stick close to the fire and let the dough toast, just giving the stick a turn now and then.

Baking Oven

If real bread is required, a kind of oven should be made, either by using an old earthenware pot or a tin box, and putting it into the fire and piling embers all over it. Or make a clay oven, light a fire inside it, and then, when it is well heated, rake out the fire, and put the dough inside, and shut up the entrance tightly till the bread is baked.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

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