By Ian Chien, Rico Tan, and Lucas Loh
The troop gathered at 8.30am for a day of Food preparation and cooking training, in order to equip them with the skills for the upcoming March Camp.
The Secondary 1 scouts were taught on how to cook an orange egg, as well as bake an orange cake. First, they watched a demonstration on the cake making process, where flour is added to egg in a mess tin to form a batter. Attention to detail, one skill every scout should have, was very important as the mixture couldn't be too thick as it was supposed to be a cake and not bread. The scouts were then taught firefighting and the relevant safety precautions, such as how the solid fuel is poisonous and that they should never handle food after touching the solid fuel. Next, the scouts were allowed to put what they learnt in practice under the watchful eye of the ventures. For many of them, this was their first time cooking in such a setting and hence, it was important for them to remain calm and courageous while working with hazards such as fire and heat. In the end, the scouts had their food cooked successfully with no injuries.
As for the Secondary 2s, having not gone through any food preparation lesson in the past, were tasked simply to de-gut and filet a fish. Although there was a quicker and neater trick to de-gut the kuning fish given to them, they were told to use the more universal method so as to train and set them up to tackle larger fishes in the future. Additionally, they were also taught the full process of filleting a fish to get a clean filet of a fish which they then proceeded to cook in a way each patrol thought best fitting to their palate. Skills like these allow our scouts to train their patience and precision, because only through these two can scouts maximise the meat they fillet.
Perhaps the most common meat in a typical camp meal, chicken was the focus for the Secondary 3s. First, they were given a brief summary on the anatomy of a Chicken, before being taught in the various ways to use their knife, such as slicing, piercing, peeling and shaving. They then watched a demonstration by one of the Ventures on how to fully deboning a chicken, taking special care to note which exact technique was to be used in each case. After the demonstration, they were tasked to do it themselves, in order to consolidate their learning. This also helped them by allowing the Ventures to pick out their mistakes on the spot, to clear away any misconceptions. The scouts learnt to not only do, but also think actively, as each part of the chicken had specific knife skills unique to it. Scouts had to be careful to use the correct knife skills, so as to prevent themselves from piercing the carcass or ruining their fillet. After successfully deboning all the chicken, they were allowed to cook it to their own liking.
Last but not least, the Secondary 4s were tasked to plan budget and cook a meal for 4. They were given a budget of $25 and were told to buy their own ingredients. This allowed them to see through the entire process from start to finish, and they exceeded expectations by cooking efficiently and safely. They presented their food in a mini cooking competition, before enjoying their stove cooked food.
On the overall, the scouts learnt today not only how to cook, but also how to manage a kitchen. Cooking meals is not just about the food, but also about safety and hygiene. Through this process of communal cooking, scouts learnt to work with each other while keep the area neat and perform tasks efficiently while staying safe. In this way, cooking also requires discipline of the chefs. This will ensure that camp food is as safe as it is tasty.