Scout campouts have a specific cuisine not found anywhere else. You will not find it in a restaurant, you will not find it at home, and your mother would never cook it for you: Scouts call it Blackened Scrambled Pancakes. It may sound disgusting but you have to know how Boy Scouts make them before you can understand why Scouts love them.

Two things a Scout notices when he wakes up on a campout is that he is hungry and cold. Most Scouts think that cold trumps hunger so will first start a fire. This is not a small, low temperature fire. Scouts like big, high-energy fires that emit intense heat. Once a Scout has a roaring fire going he decides that it is time to take care of the second problem of being hungry.

A Scout never begins cooking thinking he is about to create such a famous dish. He is just trying to cook himself a pancake.

He starts out the usual way by going to the patrol box and opening the pancake mix and pouring it into a mixing bowl. Then he remembers that he needs a hot skillet and takes the frying pan and hurries over to the fire putting the pan right in the center  – after all the pan has to be hot, right?

Running back to the patrol box he gets some water to add to his dry pancake mix and begins mixing. One of his buddies standing by the fire to get warm yells to him that the frying pan is getting hot. The distraction causes him to stop stirring and go to the fire to begin cooking.

He pours some batter into the frying pan not realizing the batter is only half mixed. Recognizing he forgot to grab a spatula he rushes back to the patrol box. As he is heading back to the fire he smells a faint hint of burning pancake (After all, he wanted to be able to cook the pancake fast because he was hungry). He hurries back to the fire to turn the pancake, grabs the skillet, tries to force the

This must be this Scout's second try—burnt, but looks like a pancake

spatula under the pancake, realizes it is stuck, and thinks…”Hmmm, was I supposed to put oil in the pan before I poured in the batter?” Pushing harder on the spatula he succeeds in getting part of the batter off the pan in a scrambled clump, part burned part raw and turns it over. Putting the pan back into the center of the fire to cook the other side he realizes his mistake after getting a whiff of burning pancake from the other side. He immediately pulls the frying pan out of the fire and walks over to the patrol box grabbing a plate and scraping out what he can, scrambling the mixture as he does so.

Meanwhile an audience of his buddies is hungrily watching every move hoping he is going to cook one for them. The patrol leadership is watching in horror as the pancake debacle takes place. To their continued surprise the Scout calmly takes out the syrup, pours it on the delicacy, takes a bite and says, “Mmmmmmmm!!! Just like my mom makes at home!!”

Now we know his mother would never serve a blackened scrambled pancake at home. And if a Scoutmaster cooked something like this he would have to resign in shame. But when a Scout cooks it somehow it is alright. Not because it is a good pancake and not because a Scout would prefer it that way – In fact he will probably never cook one that way again. WHEN A SCOUT COOKS IT HE LIKES IT.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scouting is the greatest program on the planet to teach leadership to boys.

As adults we should never do something for a boy the boy can do for himself. Ironically, when a boy does something the whole standard changes from what he expects from the experience. By allowing Scouts to act for themselves we gain the opportunity of molding their character when it is more pliable.

We should encourage boys to cook everything in the program while providing direction. Self action teaches boys leadership by transferring learning to the rest of the troop. Blackened scrambled pancakes is just one of the important lessons a Scout learns. The pancakes may not taste as good going down but they do provide the desired results—better character.

Dave Pack
Serves as Scout Executive and CEO of the Utah National Parks Council. Prior to this post he served 5 years a Director of LDS/BSA Relations. He and his wife Sandy are empty nesters, but are still busy with kids and grandchildren, some of whom live nearby.

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