I spent Saturday with Boy Scout Troop 4 from Jefferson City. We got rained out of our intended campsite at Van Meter State Park Friday night, but we didn’t let that stop us from pumping some iron the next day.
I’m not talking about weight lifting. We got our exercise hefting Dutch ovens ranging in size from a pint to 5 gallons. We roasted five enormous chickens, baked double batches of camp beans and cheesy bacon pull-apart bread and a quadruple batch of pecan muffins that would have made a French pastry chef weep with envy.
The mountains of fabulous food were a great payoff for the boys’ hard work. For the dads and me, the best part was watching innocent, un-self-conscious 11-year-olds and super cool 17-year-olds discovering the excitement of making a meal from scratch.
Well, almost from scratch. The bean recipe involved opening some cans, but also quite a bit of measuring and some cooking of vegetables. The pull-apart bread started with store-bought biscuits, but also required dicing and cooking onions and bell peppers and carefully monitoring baking temperature in finicky pioneer cooking implements.
The muffins, with lots of butter, eggs, brown sugar and a king’s ransom in pecans, were the meal’s crowning glory. Crispy, moist and crunchy all at once, they exploded with flavor that spread bliss across everyone’s faces.
I wish you could have been there, but we would have needed a lot more ovens and charcoal!