Bruce and I drove up to Prescott on Friday to finish preparing for and present a cooking class. We don’t do this nearly as often as we used to, but it was a blast none the less. I thought I would share some random thoughts on the trip with all of you…
The class was at Willow Springs Program Center, one of the camps for our local Girl Scouts (Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council ). We were invited to do the class by the Fiesta neighborhood. They were doing a Fall Encampment on Outdoor Skills. Bruce and I did 6 sessions of outdoor cooking classes on Saturday. (Yeah, it was a long day.)
One of the best memories I will carry from the weekend will be watching Bruce teach a group of girls “Rock Rock”. This is an action game you play in a circle with any number of kids. The object is to pass an object from one person to another without the person in the middle figuring out who has it. The girls were a little wary at first. (“Who is this guy?” type of looks.) Once they realized he was part of the staff for the weekend, they really got into it. The funny thing is, as long as he was there – they let him sing the song and they were quiet. Once he stood up to do something else, they got loud with the song. Took me a few to realize why: Bruce’s voice was way too low for them to sing along. Once he stopped, they naturally moved the tune up to the range they were used to singing.
Saturday’s recipes came primarily from our outdoor cooking Web site, OutdoorCook.com. They were:
- Plastic Bag Ice Cream
- Chocolate Chip Brownies (Dutch Oven)
- Apple Squish (Foil Packets in the coals, but can be done in the microwave as well))
- Popcorn (stove top)
- Pineapple Upside Down cake (Dutch Oven)
The girls came in waves of 25-30 per hour, with appropriate adults to help out. In addition, one of the older girls (Camp Name: Dolphin), cam e to help and stayed all day.
When we set up the menu, I knew that few of the girls would have made any of these recipes before. The Pineapple Upside Down cake is a camp staple, but not the way we do it. For the sessions that made popcorn, we started the session by asking who had made popcorn not in a microwave. In each group there were at least three or four who had made popcorn on the stove before. By finding this out, we ensured that the girls who made the popcorn came from the ones who hadn’t done it before. Some of the adults hadn’t either, so it was fun for all. We went through an entire jar of popping corn. We probably could have gone through a second if we had had it.
One of the premises of our outdoor cooking classes is that the girls do the cooking. Adults can help, if the girls ask, but they are mostly there to supervise and do the dishes. The girls love that part: they can have fun and get a little messy, but know that things will still be re-set in time for the next class. After all the recipes were on to cook, the girls made the ice cream and then got to eat it and snack on the food made by the previous group.
Since all of the cooking was done on charcoal, or on a propane or butane stove, there wasn’t much worry about fire danger. The wind did kick up pretty good in the afternoon, so we compressed down to one fire ring instead of a ring and a platform grill.
All in all, it was a great day. The last group stayed to help us clean up and to help Bruce pack the car. By that point, all I could do was sit and point. We had originally planned to stay Saturday evening, but I was too tired. We did leave a bit of ourselves behind though. For many years, Bruce and I have acquired a fairly large collection of cast iron. Now that we don’t do as much outdoor cooking, we decided that we would leave three of the Dutch Ovens used during the class up at camp to be given to deserving troops at the event. Hopefully, the winning troops will give them a good home.
Update: I now know that the Dutch Ovens went to a good home. The girls voted to keep the three ovens as neighborhood-wide resorces. This means that any troop in that neighborhood can check them out and use them. Way cool!
[tags]dutch oven, outdoor cooking, girl scouts, arizona cactus pine, cast iron, apples, brownies, popcorn, ice cream in a bag, prescott[/tags]