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Cooking Extravangaza

On Saturday, April 21st, I had the pleasure of working with Beth Arnold and Gerry Saunders.  We spent the day creating culinary delights with a group of fantastic people from Maine and raising money for the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, SRLT .

Gerry taught the finer points of using a Dutch oven and fry bake. Folks worked together creating  biscuits, cinnamon buns, brownies, and apple crisp. Beth worked the fire pit. She helped folks create some pretty amazing chili and pesto scrambled eggs.

Pesto Scrambled Eggs. Can you tell which one is from the carton?

Cinnamon buns fresh from the dutch oven!

We did a comparison of fresh eggs and eggs from a carton…hmmm.  We learned eggs from a carton take longer to cook, have more water and have a very different texture.  Colleen and Sandy Smith, from Bangor, shared with us that they crack and freeze eggs in ice cube trays. They thaw and cook them just like regular scrambled eggs. I’ll have a try and report back.  Sandy and Colleen have been involved with the scouts for years. It was fun to have them as part of the group.

I took care of logistics and taught folks how to use a reflector oven. We made delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookies. We also had a variety of stoves, did a quick overview, and talked about pros and cons of each. We introduced Leave No Trace (LNT) Principles, focusing on Plan Ahead and Prepare and Minimize Campfire Impacts. LNT Minimize Fire Impacts

By Maine standards the weather held out for us. Started out sunny, had some snow flurries, got windy and cold, sun came out, wind died down, warmed up….typical spring day in Maine! Hot coffee, tea, and a warm inside space were available when needed.

I’ve worked in Outdoor Education for a long time and I’ve worked with many groups of wondeful people. Every now and then you get a group that really clicks with each other, is particularly excited and engaged in the event, laughs,  respectful of each other, and really works together well. This was one of  those times.  We had a variety of experience levels, from folks who have been teaching outdoor cooking with scouts for years, to others who had no experience. Everyone, including myself, learned something new and is excited about creating more learning opportunities.  Based on feedback we are going to develop a variety of outdoor cooking events geared toward specific activities. We haven’t nailed down a schedule but here is a idea of what to look for: Menu planning and meal preparation for backpacking, sea kayaking and canoeing (three separate events). Events may take place on an island or we may do a short hike with full backpacks to a specific site…details will be announced later, but we are creating a series of events based on experience and what people want. Please feel free to offer your suggestions. The best programs often come from the suggestions of those involved. I always welcome ideas and feedback!

Tom samples tempeh chili! He’s even smiling about it!

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies from the reflector oven.


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