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Who is Afraid of Dutch Oven Cooking?

Guest Author - Erik Moeller

Itís Saturday morning on your troop campout and you are getting ready for another egg and bacon breakfast burrito. Or itís dinner time and everyone is getting ready to eat burgers and baked potatoes. Have you ever looked over to the next campsite and seen a great Dutch oven breakfast or dinner being prepared and wondered what that meal would be like? If so, why havenít you tried some Dutch oven cooking?

If you are like most people, the reason you donít decide to try Dutch oven cooking is the fear of failure. What if something goes wrong? What if it doesnít taste good? What if it tastes great?

For years I wanted to try to cook in a Dutch oven, but I had those same fears. I had several of Dutch oven cooking books by John Ragsdale, but I hadnít ever attempted to cook any of the recipes. At one Scouting event I had the opportunity to attend one of Johnís demonstrations.

There were about 25 people there and Johnís first project was to roast peanuts for everyone. As it turned out, the fire was too hot and the peanuts got over cooked. Johnís only comment was, ďOh well. Those things happen.Ē A little later in the presentation John was making breakfast rolls. He mixed all the ingredients together, put the rolls in the Dutch oven to cook, and got ready for the next recipe. During the preparation he said, ďI have 12 eggs left and Iím only supposed to have 11. Did I forget to put the egg in the rolls?Ē A woman in the audience answered, ďYes, and you forgot the oil too.Ē

The rolls didnít turn out well. But what I got out of this demonstration was that even the best in the business makes mistakes. You make the best of it and go on.

On one campout with our Venture crew I was tasked with making dessert. I had made cobbler often so I thought I would try something different. I found a recipe that included tapioca in the cobbler. This sounded interesting, so I prepared the dessert. When we got ready to serve the cobbler I found the tapioca had not mixed in with the fruit. The tapioca had formed a thin, sticky layer between the fruit and the top crust. I thought the dessert was ruined. Everyone else thought it was great. The kids ate the cobbler right out of the oven.

Dutch ovens are not expensive. There are lots of good recipes. Try cooking something on your next campout- maybe a dessert to start. Donít be afraid. Even the professionals make mistakes.
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