And guess who gets to organise the food? The resident nutritionist of course.
So how do you go about planning food for 100 people ranging from 6 to adult with three different programmes going on at the same time? A few of the things I have learnt after many camps:
A groovy spreadsheet that calculates how much you need to order depending on who you have coming is a very useful thing. There is nothing wrong with recycling menus!
Make the menu simple. Find out all the dietary requirements and minimise the need for separate meals as much as you can.
Make sure all your kitchen helpers understand the dietary requirements you are catering for – what they can and can’t eat, who they are, where their foods are kept, no stirring pots with the same spoon etc
There can be no short order cooking going on so fussy kids get what everyone else is getting – active, hungry children eating with all their friends often eat more than their parents expect them to.
No child goes hungry – a child with a lot of trouble with foods can be worked around with dignity without creating lots of extra work, giving them some control and avoiding a hungry, grumpy child who never wants to come to camp again.
Lots of food with lots of energy as the young people will be active all day and outdoors, sleeping in tents. Yes there is cake, puddings and biscuits. Plenty of drinks and snacks through the day to keep them going.
Always cut fruit up – quarters of apples, oranges and cutting bananas in half makes such a difference to how much gets eaten.
If you get some cooking happening on a fire then all the better. Even little beavers can get a go cooking with fire – campfire pizzas are such a hit.
Order on-line and then get a volunteer to go collect the food. Some camps you can even get the food delivered direct to the campsite! Oh joy!
It takes a a ridiculous amount of time to get a large billy of water to boiling point on a stove outdoors especially it is a little breezy. And get chopping for the next meal as soon as you have finished your cup of tea after clearing up from the last one.
Boil in the bag rice is the way to go – I hate the extra plastic but it really makes life easier.
Pasta goes cold and sticky very quickly – always cook al dente and the chuck the pasta in the sauce and keep it warm.
Never do the washing up if you are doing the cooking. Ever! There is always someone around to hand it to.
AND STAY OUT OF MY KITCHEN UNLESS I LET YOU IN!! I am a mild mannered scout leader but you come in my kitchen and ask the wrong question at the wrong time you will know all about it. I have big dirty pots and you may well be given them to clean!!