aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Cooking up great memories

We had a great Winter Rendezvous. Just over 500 Scouts and leaders came to Maumee Scout Reservation. Our cooking team found itself facing this horde and discovered ourselves to be dangerously undermanned. In the end, we had only ten regular kitchen team members and one for half of Saturday; I had previously thought sixteen the right number for handling the task.

Jeffrey and I got out to camp early Friday and set to cleaning. Before others arrived, we got the two hog halves out and prepared them for roasting in the morning. To move around such large hunks of meat, we borrowed the backboard from the Health Lodge and covered it in foil.


Rub it in, rub it in
Jeffrey readies this little piggie for cooking

Once the rest of our Happy Crew arrived, we got down to the business of readying the Friday night Crackerbarrel. "Crackerbarrel" is Boy Scout lingo for an evening fellowship time and snack. We served up Summer Sausage, Cheese, Crackers, and hot pepper rings -- and also Sausage Balls and, this year, Choco-bacon minis (chocolate minis dropped onto hot bacon so that the pieces fuse together).


It's alive!"
T.C. gets into his work

The Crackerbarrel was a minor affair: probably no more than 150 people. They approved the food; meanwhile, we were already preparing the morning's chow. Seventy pounds of beef brisket was rubbed down and seared over an open fire. It went into the ovens, low and slow, at 11:00 p.m. A baker's dozen loaves of soda bread were quickly whomped up. Fifty pounds of sweet potatoes were cooked and mashed (to make pies with on Saturday). Gallons of hot coffee and hot water for cocoa had to be made, repeatedly. We finally got to bed around 11:30. I was up the next morning at quarter till five.


Above and beyond
We throw a Crackerbarrel like no other

Cooking for 500 requires an enormous amount of chow. We cooked a 160-pound hog, split in two; 70 pounds of beef brisket; twelve turkeys; forty-six rabbits; 60 pounds of onions; 50 pounds of sweet potatoes; 45 pounds of potatoes; 30 pounds of apples; 20 boxes of instant jambalaya; 20 pounds of summer sausage; a case of lettuce; a whole ham; a case of sausage links; dozens of eggs; gallons of milk; quarts of cream; bacon and butter and bread; and on and on and on.


This spud's for you
T.J. learns that leadership is not all glamor

We had a lot of adults who were very excited about our promise to cook rabbit. Most of the Scouts had never eaten rabbit, and quite a number tried it and enjoyed it. We get a lot of compliments on our cooking, but compliments and smiles from boys count for more than praise from adults. We fried the rabbit in cast iron over charcoal.


Wabbit fwy
Ben, Mysti, and Dakota work the cast iron

Lunch came and went for the staff: Coddle, Soda Bread, and Bread-and-Butter Pudding. We sent out lunch to the volunteers running events in the cold. Twenty-nine Scouters were judging Klondike Derby events, running B-B and rifle ranges, and other events. Re-enactors in period dress gave the Scouts an introduction to the days of trappers and traders. Meanwhile, the food kept coming off the stove and out of the ovens to be prepped for the Feast.


A well-done flock
Spatchcocked turkeys, golden brown and delicious

It takes two seatings to feed all the people who attend the evening Feast. We set up two serving lines as people start to return from chapel services. The first seating comes in at 4:30. About forty-five minutes later, they exit, we clean up and refresh the serving lines and bring in the second seating. We had a little alarm with the piggy. We had a hard time getting the hog roaster going in the morning, which put us behind. So we took the first side out an hour and half before the first seating and put it in the 450-degree ovens inside to finish it. When the first seating was chowing down, we put the second side in the ovens to finish them. It all came out beautifully.


Hungry Scouts
These three -- Tyler, Jarrod, and Alex -- are first-year Scouts from Troop 119 attending their first Rendezvous

Leftovers (not much of those) got put out for the Saturday evening crackerbarrel. I got up this morning at 6:00. The kitchen crew got up at 7:00. We snatched some breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, and were on the road by 9:30 a.m. It was a wonderful experience; I'm just glad I don't do it every weekend! That said, it won't be too many months before I'll be saying, "Play it again."
You must remember this,
a fish is just a fish,
a pie is just a pie;
the fundamental things apply
as time goes by.
Our kitchen staff consisted of: adults Art (me), Pat, and Kara; Venturers T.C., Jeffrey, Dakota, Rachael, T.J., and Thomas; Ben from Troop 190; and Mysti, a Venturer from another crew, who helped for a few hours Saturday. Other good Scouts volunteered to help serve the Feast and clean up afterwards.

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