The Grubmaster is one of the most important jobs on a Scout campout; he makes sure that the patrol has everything it needs to prepare the delicious menu they've planned together. It is not the Grubmaster's job to plan the entire menu. The Scouts in the patrol are responsible for working together to come up with a menu and help make the shopping list; it's the Grubmaster who goes shopping and is responsible for bringing the food!
Patrol menus must be reviewed by an adult leader before the Grubmaster buys the food. Leaders will be looking for a well-balanced, healthy menu that will give your patrol the fuel it needs to be successful at camp. Not sure what to put on the menu? Click here for some sample menus and recipes!
Here is another link to a Troop 1 Patrol Cookbook.
Here are some important guidelines for Troop 1 Grubmasters and patrols who are planning their menus:
KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS. Scouts on the trip will divide the cost of the meals evenly; you need to keep the receipts to make this possible. Please bring your receipts to the first meeting after the campout and give them to Mr. Needleman.
A SCOUT IS THRIFTY. Aim for $10 ($12 max) per Scout for the entire weekend campout. This may mean hamburger instead of filet mignon, or it may mean that you scale back to PB&J at lunch to make room in the budget for a bigger supper. Know how many Scouts you're buying for, and read the serving size information on the package! Always plan to host a guest for a meal but don't buy much more than you need, and make it clear to your patrol leader how many servings each Scout should have. Shop the sales, and use coupons, and don't be afraid to change your menu a little bit if you see a great deal! Did the patrol put ham sandwiches on the menu, but there's an awesome sale on turkey? Take advantage of what you find!
REPACK YOUR FOOD. Often your recipe will call for a smaller amount of an ingredient than you can buy--for example, you may only need 3 cups of pancake mix for your patrol's breakfast, but the box comes with 12 cups; or you need half a cup of salsa, but can only buy a 3 cup jar. To avoid waste, repackage only what you need; put your 3 cups of pancake mix in a ziplock back, or your half a cup of salsa in a reusable container.
Repacking food also reduces the waste at camp, and makes for a lighter bag of food--get rid of extra boxes and cans, and put the ingredients into smaller, lighter, more durable containers. This isn't a huge deal for a weekend outing to a state park or council camp, but when you're grubmaster for a High Adventure trek to the Boundary Waters or the Superior Hiking Trail, you'll be glad you got into the habit of repacking!
AVOID FOOD THAT CAN SPOIL. Refrigeration at most campsites is very limited--once the ice in your cooler melts, it's not doing anything to keep your food fresh. Avoid milk, butter, eggs, and other ingredients that require refrigeration, or plan your meals so you use up those ingredients early.
CONSIDER PRE-COOKING SOME ITEMS. Are you having tacos with hamburger that needs to be browned? It's harder to keep raw hamburger fresh at camp, and messy to clean up that frying pan after you've cooked it. If you brown the meat at home and pack it into a ziplock bag or other container, it will keep longer, be easier to clean, and (more importantly!) be ready faster--just heat it up and you're good to go. This works for most meats, and many other dishes as well; it isn't "cheating" to prepare your camp food in your home kitchen, it's smart planning!
SHOP THE CLOSET. We sometimes have a shelf or two of dry goods and canned foods in the Troop closet left over from previous trips. Take a look at these items--Hamburger Helper, sun butter, pasta, rice, etc.--and see if you can plan your menu around them. It will mean less to buy if you can "shop" the closet first!
KNOW YOUR PATROL'S TASTES AND RESTRICTIONS. There may be Scouts in your patrol who are vegetarian, or are allergic to dairy products, or have a gluten intolerance. The Scouts in your patrol need to speak up about these issues (and if there's a health concern, it will be known by the adult leaders reviewing your menu, too). And the menu needs to reflect those issues. It's OK to have a different option for some Scouts--say, a vegetarian chili for one or two Scouts, when the rest of the patrol is having a chili with meat--but keep that to a minimum; you don't want to spend all of your time at camp cooking special orders! Find menu items that everyone can enjoy; you may find yourself surprised that you actually LIKE a gluten-free vegetarian chili if you give it a try. Or choose items that Scouts assemble themselves--tacos, sandwiches, salads--so they can choose their own ingredients.