Monday, September 10, 2012

Iron Chef Scouts

I'm sitting here with my sliding glass door slid a bit open though the breeze is too cool, 54 degrees.  I'm listening to our barred owl calling.  After hearing these guys when we were on Diablo Lake, I like the sound.  It does sound a little lonely though. 

I should be in bed.  I hate the effects of procrastination, yet I do it anyway. Why is that? Tomorrow, Mike's Scouts are having an Iron Chef competition and I blithely volunteered to pick up supplies for it even though I'm scheduled to get a big hunk of skin cut off around some skin cancer tomorrow morning.  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be good for much the rest of the day.  So, this morning after I dropped Nick off at school, I half-slept through a bad movie before I got my act together.  Then I was behind for the rest of the day.  I ran to the doctor's office for my annual (bleach), stopped at the store and the library, picked up four bottles of propane, and had a meeting with Nick's cross country coaches.  Oh man, I am proud of my boy.  He's the slowest member of the team and he's struggling with his asthma and his quadruple-E width feet, yet he's managed to capture the hearts of his team members and coaches and wants to stick with the program.  After that, I helped Nick with his homework while I distractedly made dinner.  It's a wonder I didn't burn anything, going back and forth the way I did.  Nick is learning exponents using factoring techniques.  It all comes down to the basic math.  Then, after Nick was safely tucked into bed, I ran back to the grocery store and picked up ingredients for this cooking competition.  I bought four of everything except onions.  Mike said I wouldn't need more than three onions. Hmmm.

The premise is that we give each team the same basic ingredients and they make us dinner. Sounds like a good plan to me, except that I've seen the way these boys cook. On a camping trip last spring, they didn't tell the new Scouts to drain the noodles before adding the cheese to the boxed macaroni and cheese they were making.  Reading the directions might have been useful there.  I didn't have to be a guest at that table, but Nick told me it was pretty bad.

Then, at WashJam, some of the older boys bought about twenty dollars worth of candy, added some water and tang, and cooked it down for three hours on the stove on that really hot day, the day none of the rest of us found the strength to unstick our legs from our camp chairs.  Remember those 97 degree days this summer? They said the candy-making was a tradition.  Interesting tradition.  This stuff came out a gummy green mess.  I tasted it.  It was actually good, like sour candies, only drippy and green.   The other adults looked at me as if I'd just taken a swig of wood alcohol laced with hemlock and slug bait.  I didn't even get a little bit sick.

On that trip, I also watched them chipping their pancakes out of the 'nonstick' pan because no one brought oil and they didn't think to cook their bacon first and save some of the grease for the pancakes.  Then, they forgot that they were supposed to cook up twice the amount of bacon at breakfast so they could make bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches for lunch.  They jammed bacon until they were sick of it, experimented with making bacon pancakes, then threw out the rest.  For one meal, they simply ate hot dogs.  Most of the boys didn't even bother with a bun or condiments.  At least they got some protein.  I didn't see a vegetable on their side of camp all week.

Meanwhile, the adults ate jambalaya one night and peanut chicken the next.  There were pies, apple and chocolate, which were lustfully eyed by the Scouts.  Many meals were accompanied by a salad.  Mike even made chocolate chip/cranberry pancakes for breakfast one morning. 

I'll be interested to see how the four patrols manage with a what's-in-the-fridge approach.  Shoot, it'll be fun to see them divide the three onions for the four groups.  I could tell them that if they cut each onion into fourths and hand out three bits to each group, everyone will have the same amount.  Basic math.  Time will tell if they will think of that.  Time will tell if any of the Scouts has any idea how to use spices.  Mike is also supplying cayenne pepper.  I have visions of tall glasses of iced Pepto Bismol for the judges later in the evening. 

So I'm not quite thrilled by the thought of having dinner out tomorrow night, at least not if the Boy Scouts are hosting. Unfortunately, the leaders aren't in on the competition. Now, that would be a camp stove I'd like to visit.

Thank you for listening, jb 

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