About the Cooking Merit Badge
Scouts learn about food safety, nutrition, and cooking techniques while working on the Cooking merit badge. They also have to plan , prepare, and cook meals at camp, at home, and on the trail.
The Cooking merit badge is required for the rank of Eagle.
Cooking Merit Badge Resources
Requirement 1: Health and Safety
Requirement 4: Cooking at Home
Requirement 6: Trail and Backpacking Meals
Requirement 7: Food Related Careers
Help with Answers for Cooking Merit Badge Requirements
Find specific helps for some of the Cooking merit badge requirements listed below. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.
Ask Scouter Mom a question or share your ideas with others
Cooking Merit Badge Requirement 1: Health and Safety
Requirement 1 Helps and Answers
Allergies, Intolerance, and Illness
Burns: Be careful around hot surfaces. Do not wear loose fitting sleeves which might catch on fire.
Slips and Falls: Keep the area free of hazards. Clean up spills and wet floors immediately. Place a non-slip mat near the sink.
Cuts: Use knives and sharp objects as designed. Cut on a board on a stable surface. Be aware of those around you.
Food Poisoning: Wash your hands. Store foods at the correct temperature. Avoid cross contamination. Keep meats, eggs, etc away from fruits and vegetables. Check expiration dates.
Chemical Poisoning: Store cleaning supplies and other chemicals away from the food preparation area. Call for help immediately if you suspect chemical poisoning.
These websites will also help you with this Cooking merit badge requirement:
How to Treat Injuries
What to do if someone is choking
How to treat anaphylaxis (allergic reaction)
How to Store Food
Learn about keeping surfaces clean, cross-contamination, cooking to the right temperature, and storing your leftovers.
Allergies, Intolerance, and Illness
When preparing food for the Cooking merit badge is important to know about any allergies or food intolerance. You need to make sure that there are no ingredients which will cause adverse reactions in the people consuming the food. You must also be extra careful about cross contamination. This could cause a small amount of the ingredient to be present in the dish you prepared.
Reading Food Labels
Reading food labels is extra important if someone who will be consuming your food has an allergy or intolerance. It might not be obvious that one of your ingredients contains wheat or eggs. Check the ingredients list carefully. Many labels will clearly state if a product contains a common allergen.
Cooking Merit Badge Requirement 2: Nutrition
Requirement 2 Helps and Answers
Learn more about the My Plate model of nutrition.
Oils and Sugars
Learn how oils fit into the My Plate model
Activity Level and Calculating Calories for the Cooking Merit Badge
Click the Start button below to calculate calories based on your activity level.
Food Label Terms for the Cooking Merit Badge
Calorie: How much energy a particular food provides to your body.
Fat: Fats are needed for a healthy diet but they contain a lot of calories. So you need to be aware of how much you are consuming.
Saturated fat: Saturated fat is associated with cancer and heart disease.
Trans fat: Trans fats increase your “bad” cholesterol and decrease your “good” cholesterol, so they should be avoided when possible.
Cholesterol: “Bad” cholesterol can clog arteries and cause other problems. “Good” cholesterol produces vitamin D and other helpful substances.
Sodium: Too much sodium (salt) can lead to high blood pressure.
Carbohydrate: These fuel your body. Whole carbs, such as whole wheat bread, brow rice, and vegetables are better for you than refined carbs such as white bread, products with corn syrup, and junk foods.
Dietary fiber: This keeps your digestive tract working and keeps you from getting constipated. So you want plenty of fiber in your diet.
Sugar: Many foods naturally contain sugar. Foods with added sugar add calories with little benefit.
Protein: You need protein to build muscle and repair injuries. But some foods which are high in protein, such as red meats, are also high in fat. Some healthy options include beans, fish, and poultry.
Cooking Merit Badge Requirement 3: Cooking Basics
Requirement 3 Helps and Answers
Cooking Methods for the Cooking Merit Badge
Baking uses direct dry heat to cook food. Normally this is done in an oven. It is possible to do this at camp using a box oven. Temperature control is done by setting the temperature in a conventional oven or by the number of briquettes in box oven. Pumpkin Crunch can be baked in a box oven at camp or in a regular oven at home.
This method cooks in hot water or another hot liquid, such as broth. It is commonly used for pasta and soups. It requires a pot to hold the liquid and ingredients. Temperature control is by increasing or decreasing the heat source under the pot. Camp Spaghetti Dinner requires boiling water to cook the pasta.
This involves placing a heat source over the dish being cooked. Normally it is done in an oven. Often the dish is placed in a flat pan or baking dish. Temperature is controlled by increasing or decreasing the heat source above the dish. S’mores Nachos can be cooked by broiling.
Usually pan frying involves putting oil in a pan and heating it. If the food has a high fat content, such as bacon, then you don’t need the oil. Then the food to be cooked is added. Normally a spatula is used to turn the food. Keep an a eye on it or it will burn! Temperature is controlled by adjusting the heat source under the pan. You must fry some bacon to make Loaded Campfire Potatoes.
This involves cooking in a liquid, but less liquid and at a lower heat than boiling. It can be done in a Dutch oven or in a frying pan. Usually the liquid is brought to a boil and then the heat source is reduce so it is barely bubbling. Camp Chicken and Dumplings is cooked by simmering.
A small amount of water is placed below the food being cooked. The vapors cook the food. Often a steaming basket is used to hold the food above the water. The temperature is constant, provided you don’t let the water evaporate completely. Steaming is a good way to cook fresh vegetables.
The radiation created causes the food to vibrate and heat at the molecular level. Cooking dishes must be non-metallic. Most microwaves include a power setting. A lower setting delivers less energy, resulting in less heat. Microwaving is a good way to melt marshmallows for Rice Crispy Treat Trees.
This is cooking via direct heat. Normally the food is placed directly on a wire grill a few inches above the heat source. Temperature is controlled by adding or moving the charcoal or wood beneath the grill. This Honey Lime Pork Chops recipe is an example
Food is wrapped in foil and tightly sealed. Then it is placed directly on the heat source, such as charcoal or a wood fire. Temperature is controlled by the amount of charcoal or wood coals under the foil pack. See my Foil Pack dinners page for recipes.
Normally a heavy cast iron Dutch oven is filled with ingredients. Charcoal or wood coals are placed underneath and sometimes on the lid. The number of coals controls the temperature. This is one of the most fool-proof ways to cook at camp. See my Dutch oven recipes page for examples.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Camp Stoves
A camp stove is easy to set up and you can start cooking almost immediately. It can be used in wet conditions. The heat source can be turned up or down can be turned off as soon as cooking is complete. Most locations allow the use of a camp stove. But camp stoves do not provide a gathering space for warmth and bonding. And some meals, such as foil packs or grilled foods cannot be cooked on a stove.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Charcoal or Wood Fire
A fire must be lit and given time to heat up. This can be difficult in rain or snow. The heat is difficult to control. It must be properly extinguished to prevent starting a fire. It should be started in a designated fire pit to avoid damaging the area. Some areas do not allow open fires. But fires provide fun and encourage Scouts to gather and bond. Some cooking methods, such as grilling or foil packs, require a fire.
Before starting to cook for your meal, think about how much time you will need to prepare and cook each dish. Start with the recipe which takes the most time. Chop and prep other ingredients while your longer meal cooks. Don’t start cooking quick cooking foods until you have checked your longer cooking items for doneness. This will ensure that everything is ready at the same time and is served at the correct temperature.
Cooking Merit Badge Requirement 4: Cooking at Home
Requirement 4 Helps and Answers
Making a Menu and Shopping
The key is to plan ahead. First make a list of the recipes you will be preparing. If you are new to cooking, it might be best to start with foods you are familiar with and enjoy. I’ve added a few easy suggestions in this section if you are drawing a blank.
After you know what you are making, look at the recipes and write down all of the ingredients you need. Then go through the list one by one. Look in your home pantry and see if you already have the ingredient. If not, add it to your shopping list. Then take your shopping list to the store and purchase everything on it.
Breakfast Recipes for Home
Lunch Recipes for Home
Dinner Recipes for Home
Dessert Recipes for Home
Cooking Merit Badge Requirement 5: Camp Cooking
Requirement 5 Helps and Answers
Making a Menu and Shopping
Carefully planning your menu is even more important for camp meals than it is for home meals. At camp you won’t have a pantry and refrigerator full of ingredients to make substitutions if you forget something.
Once again look at the recipes you are making and write down all of the ingredients you need. Then go through the list one by one. If it is a staple which you keep in your patrol box, such as salt and pepper, then you are set. If not, add it to your shopping list. Then take your shopping list to the store and purchase everything on it.
Breakfast Recipes for Camp
Mountain Man Breakfast Casserole
Lunch Recipes for Camp
Dinner Recipes for Camp
Hawaiian Chicken and Rice Foil Pack
Ham and Sweet Potato Foil Packs
Cooking Merit Badge Requirement 6: Trail and Backpacking Meals
Requirement 6 Helps and Answers
Planning a Backpacking Menu
There are several factors to take into account when planning a trail menu. Since you need to carry everything, the food must be lightweight and not require refrigeration. Often you will not want to stop and cook, so food you can eat as-is can also be helpful. Consider that when working on this Cooking merit badge requirement.
Breakfast on the Trail
Dried oatmeal packets
Fruit (fresh or dried)
Lunch on the Trail
Scouter Mom’s Favorite Trail Mix
Shelf stable salami and cheese
Dinner on the Trail
Seasoned noodle packages
Cooking Merit Badge Requirement 7: Food Related Careers
Requirement 7 Helps and Answers
A chef must learn to safely prepare food for others to consume. Chefs work in restaurants, facilities such as schools, or even in private homes.
A dietician must know how to prepare a menu to meet specific nutritional needs. Schools and nursing homes are examples of places where dieticians work. A dietician might also help someone with diabetes, allergies, or celiac’s disease learn what they should and should not be eating.
Food scientists learn about biology and chemistry. Then they apply their knowledge to develop better ways to produce and process food.
A person who is responsible for running a restaurant must not only hire good chefs and wait staff. He or she is also responsible for ensuring that all health standards are met, that supplies are orders on time, and that the food is high quality.
Related Resources for Cooking Merit Badge
Here are some other ways to cook up some fun for the Cooking merit badge with recipes, ideas, and related achievements:
Dutch Oven Cooking
See some easy recipes to get you started with Dutch Oven cooking.
Foil Pack Dinners
Foil pack dinners (also known as hobo meals) are an easy way to cook at camp.
Cooking on a Stick
Nothing is easier than cooking on a stick! No pots or pans required.
The secret to trail food is simplicity, little weight, and no refrigeration required. See some ideas.
Cook Your Favorite Foods at Camp
Learn how to make pizza, Chinese takout, ice cream, nachos, and fresh baked bread at camp while you are working on the cooking merit badge.
Easy Recipes for Camp Cooking
See all of the camp recipes on this website.
Favorite Recipes for Scouts and Camping
See some recipes which are fun to make at home too.
Help for Grubmasters
Help your patrol grubmaster understand how to plan, shop, and pack for a campout.
Troop Program Features
Program features give youth leadership a start at planning a month’s worth of meetings and activities around a topic. These program features fit in well with the cooking merit badge:
- Cooking Troop Program Feature
- Fitness and Nutrition Program Feature
- Living History Troop Program Feature
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