cooking-stock

Feast your eyes on the new requirements for Cooking merit badge

Cooking-EagleThe sound of the kitchen timer can only mean one thing: The new Cooking merit badge requirements are done.

For the new Cooking merit badge, which became Eagle-required on Jan. 1, 2014, Scouts will prepare meals using the MyPlate food guide, understand and explain food allergies, and learn about cooking food indoors.

This is important: there are two big, separate changes to Cooking merit badge as you know it. The first is that Cooking merit badge became Eagle-required beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The second is the new requirements, found below, which become mandatory for Scouts who begin the merit badge on or after Jan. 1, 2015.

The new Cooking pamphlets will be in Scout Shops by the end of January 2014. From now until Dec. 31, 2014, a Scout may use the old or new requirements — his choice. All Scouts beginning Cooking merit badge on or after Jan. 1, 2015, must use the new requirements.

Let me break it down: 

  • Scouts who already started Cooking MB using old requirements: They’re fine and may finish with the old requirements. They will not need to re-earn the merit badge with the new requirements, but they may switch to the new ones if they choose. There is no time limit between starting and completing a badge, although a counselor may determine so much time has passed since any effort took place that the new requirements must be used.
  • Scouts who already earned Cooking MB: They may purchase or be presented with the new, silver-bordered Cooking MB patch (regardless which requirements were involved). They don’t need to re-earn it now that it’s Eagle-required. But they can’t wear both the green- and the silver-bordered versions.
  • Scouts who begin Cooking MB in 2013 or 2014: They may use the old or new requirements — their choice.
  • Scouts who begin Cooking MB in 2015 or beyond: They must use the new requirements.

Make sense? Think of 2014 as a transition period for the merit badge. During this time, you’ll find both pamphlets in Scout Shops, and a boy may choose which to use. It’s easy to tell them apart:

cooking-mb-old-and-new

The new Cooking merit badge requirements

Requirements

  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in cooking activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    2. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur while preparing meals and eating, including burns and scalds, cuts, choking, and allergic reactions.
    3. Describe how meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products, and fresh vegetables should be stored, transported, and properly prepared for cooking. Explain how to prevent cross-contamination.
    4. Describe the following food-related illnesses and tell what you can do to help prevent each from happening:
      1. Salmonella
      2. Staphylococcal aureus
      3. Escherichia coli (E. coli)
      4. Clostridium botulinum (Botulism)
      5. Campylobacter jejuni
      6. Hepatitis
      7. Listeria monocytogenes
      8. Cryptosporidium
      9. Norovirus
    5. Discuss with your counselor food allergies, food intolerance,
      food-related diseases, and your awareness of these concerns.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Using the MyPlate food guide or the current USDA nutrition model, give five examples for EACH of the following food groups, the recommended number of daily servings, and the recommended serving size:
      1. Fruits
      2. Vegetables
      3. Grains
      4. Proteins
      5. Dairy
    2. Explain why you should limit your intake of oils and sugars.
    3. Determine your daily level of activity and your caloric need based on your activity level. Then, based on the MyPlate food guide, discuss with your counselor an appropriate meal plan for yourself for one day.
    4. Discuss your current eating habits with your counselor and what you can do to eat healthier, based on the MyPlate food guide.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Discuss the following food label terms: calorie, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugar, protein. Explain how to calculate total carbohydrates and nutritional values for two servings, based on the serving size specified on the label.
    2. Refer to “How to Read a Food Label” in the Cooking merit badge pamphlet, and name ingredients that help the consumer identify the following allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, and shellfish.
  4. Do the following:
    1. Discuss EACH of the following cooking methods. For each one, describe the equipment needed and name at least one food that can be cooked using that method: baking, boiling, pan frying, simmering, steaming, microwaving, and grilling.
    2. Discuss the benefits of using a camp stove on an outing vs. a charcoal or wood fire.
    3. Discuss how the Outdoor Code and no-trace principles pertain
      to cooking in the outdoors.

Note: The meals prepared for Cooking merit badge requirements 5, 6, and 7 will count only toward fulfilling those requirements and will not count toward rank advancement. Meals prepared for rank advancement may not count toward the Cooking merit badge. You must not repeat any menus for meals actually prepared or cooked in requirements 5, 6, and 7.

  1. Using the MyPlate food guide or the current USDA nutrition model, plan a menu for three full days of meals (three breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners) plus one dessert. Your menu should include enough to feed yourself and at least one adult, keeping in mind any special needs (such as food allergies) of those to be served. List the equipment and utensils needed to prepare and serve these meals. Then do the following:
    1. Create a shopping list for your meals showing the amount of food needed to prepare and serve each meal, and the cost for each meal.
    2. Share and discuss your meal plan and shopping list with your counselor.
    3. Using at least five of the seven cooking methods from requirement 4, prepare and serve yourself and at least one adult (parent, family member, guardian, or other responsible adult) one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and one dessert from the meals you planned.*
    4. Time your cooking to have each meal ready to serve at the proper time. Have an adult verify the preparation of the meal to your counselor.
    5. After each meal, ask a person you served to evaluate the meal on presentation and taste, then evaluate your own meal. Discuss what you learned with your counselor, including any adjustments that could have improved or enhanced your meals. Tell how better planning and preparation help ensure a successful meal.
    6. Explain how you kept foods safe and free from cross-contamination.
  2. Using the MyPlate food guide or the current USDA nutrition model, plan a menu for your patrol (or a similar size group of up to eight youth, including you) for a camping trip. Include five meals AND at least one snack OR one dessert. List the equipment and utensils needed to prepare and serve these meals. Then do the following:
    1. Create a shopping list for your meals showing the amount of food needed to prepare and serve each meal, and the cost for each meal.
    2. Share and discuss your meal plan and shopping list with your counselor.
    3. In the outdoors, cook two of the meals you planned in requirement 6 using either a lightweight stove or a low-impact fire. Use a different cooking method for each meal.** The same fireplace may be used for both meals. Serve this meal to your patrol or a group of youth.
    4. In the outdoors, cook one of the meals you planned in requirement 6. Use either a Dutch oven, OR a foil pack, OR kabobs. Serve this meal to your patrol or a group of youth.**
    5. In the outdoors, prepare a dessert OR a snack and serve it to your patrol or a group of youth.**

* The meals for requirement 5 may be prepared on different days, and they need not be prepared consecutively. The requirement calls for Scouts to plan, prepare, and serve one breakfast, one lunch, and one dinner to at least one adult; those served need not be the same for all meals.

** Where local regulations do not allow you to build a fire, the counselor may adjust the requirement to meet the law. The meals in requirements 6 and 7 may be prepared for different trips and need not be prepared consecutively. Scouts working on this badge in summer camp should take into consideration foods that can be obtained at the camp commissary.

    1. After each meal, have those you served evaluate the meal on presentation and taste, and then evaluate your own meal. Discuss what you learned with your counselor, including any adjustments that could have improved or enhanced your
      meals. Tell how better planning and preparation help ensure successful outdoor cooking.
    2. Explain how you kept foods safe and free from cross contamination.
  1. Using the MyPlate food guide or the current USDA nutrition model, plan a menu for trail hiking or backpacking that includes one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and one snack. These meals must not require refrigeration and are to be consumed by three to five people (including you). List the equipment and utensils needed to prepare and serve these meals. Then do the following:
    1. Create a shopping list for your meals, showing the amount of food needed to prepare and serve each meal, and the cost for each meal.
    2. Share and discuss your meal plan and shopping list with your counselor. Your plan must include how to repackage foods for your hike or backpacking trip to eliminate as much bulk, weight, and garbage as possible.
    3. While on a trail hike or backpacking trip, prepare and serve two meals and a snack from the menu planned for requirement 7. At least one of those meals must be cooked over a fire, or an approved trail stove (with proper supervision).**
    4. For each meal prepared in requirement 7c, use safe foodhandling practices. Explain how you kept foods safe and free from cross-contamination. Clean up equipment, utensils, and the site thoroughly after each meal. Properly dispose of dishwater, and pack out all garbage.
    5. After each meal, have those you served evaluate the meal on presentation and taste, then evaluate your own meal. Discuss what you learned with your counselor, including any adjustments that could have improved or enhanced your meals. Tell
      how better planning and preparation help ensure successful trail hiking or backpacking meals.
  2. Find out about three career opportunities in cooking. Select one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.

Photo from Flickr:  Some rights reserved by MC =)

110 thoughts on “Feast your eyes on the new requirements for Cooking merit badge

  1. Looking over the new cooking mb requirements I don’t see much benefit with the changes to really benefit the boys, I think we are still missing the opportunity to provide real life skills. I have suggested and will continue to suggest that the mb be divided into two different mbs: one that concentrates mainly on outdoor cooking (using campstoves, dutch ovens and oudoors equipment and skills) and another to concentrate on “cooking for life” more for indoors, for both formal and casual settings. It could still include planning, purchasing, preparing, serving, cleaning up and such but emphasize those skills needed for day to day cooking and could also include preparing foods for parties and special events using microwaves, ovens, and such. This is a huge merit badge and could easily be divided so that scouts are learning life skills for both outdoor and indoor day to day life cooking skills.

    • I think that you may have missed something in the requirements. Req 5 can cover indoor cooking, req 6 is outdoor patrol cooking, and req 7 is backpacking low impact cooking. I actually think that this provides a good structure and emphasizes the right aspects of cooking such as safe handling and allergies.

    • I agree with you Mr. Boyce. Two merit badges focusing on indoor and outdoor cooking would be a good idea. Also I feel that as important as the safety/ sanitation requirements are, they go a little overboard.

    • There are cooking ‘skills’ that are not easily taught outdoors, but are valuable for later in life. An indoor vs. outdoor focus could be one way to handle this. Example: We take 2 cooking knives with our troop on outings (large and small); but knife sets are sold in 8/12/15 item sets. Learning what each knife is actually for, and how to handle each one is something valuable.

      Another example would be greater understanding of either how professional food kitchens, grocery areas, and/or different levels in the food supply chain work today. If I take scouts to somewhere where they can talk to someone about how a professional deals with processing food – it only partially counts for one requirement. But the impact on learning what is in our food and where it comes from – that can be huge for a city-based scout. We have lost the ‘farm’ in a lot of our culture in the US – it was there in 1910 but just isn’t as accessible anymore.

  2. A tracking tool and meal rating card or guidelines would be helpful for the counselor and boys to help in tracking and evaluating the meals/snacks prepared. I’ll be interested to see when the merit badge worksheets and book are available if these are included.

    • Cooking is a life skill that everyone needs to know. Any individual will have more need for cooking then he will many of the other skills learned learning other required merit badges. I’ve wondered since when I was in scouting why it wasn’t required.

      • msradell are you serious? No wonder the boy scouts are declining in enrollment. This should stay as an elctive. We are slowly taking away the scouts choice. I can think of 10 other merit badges more important than cooking. Or how about we have some new ones like dress making or nail care.. Maybe we could have them take a trip to the mall. See the pattern here. We need to focus on letting the boys decide….

        • This merit badge was removed as an eagle required in 1972. As an eagle scout from 1987, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t a required and was surpised to see that it was an elective. I personally am very happy to see it back in it’s rightful place among the silver borders!

          Granted, why would a boy ever want to learn how to cook when they can just spend mom and dad’s money on fast food … wait, they won’t always have that wallet to dip into will they?

          I love to cook and am hoping to work with my scouts so they learn to enjoy it too. My Woodbadge Ticket is to teach them how to use the Dutch Oven. I hope YOU weren’t serious in your reply to msradell. How being able to cook relates to dress making (they should be able to sew on a button at least) and mall shopping I don’t quite understand!

          There are a ton of merit badges for them to still pick from, I don’t see it being too onerous for them to learn what most of them are already working on anyway.

  3. Thanks to discuss the new requirements for cooking. They will be really very useful to all the people who are reading this article. Some days ago, I have a thought to have such guidelines for cooking and luckily today I came across your article. I will definitely follow your instructions.

    Thanks again.

  4. If a scout is starting the merit badge in 2014, can he mix and match requirements between old and new? Or, must scout follow ONLY the old format or ONLY new format during this time?

    • All merit badges are signed off by registered merit badge counselors for that merit badge. Scoutmasters are not automatically a merit badge counselor for any merit badge. They have to register as a MBC for a badge they want to counsel. That isn’t anything new. It has been that way for years.

      If the requirements for any badge can be done on a camp site at summer camp by a SM then the SM should register as a MBC for that badge.

      For all badges: do what the requirements say to pass the requirement: no more, no less is required.

  5. I have a question that I’m hoping someone can clarify. My son’s troop does not have a MB Counselor for Cooking yet. Can he have his camp meals verified by his troop’s SM & have them signed off by a counselor who wasn’t there to witness it? I’m sure in time the troop will get someone, but right now there isn’t one and even when they do get one I doubt the adult will be available at every camp out.

    • That would be up to the MB Counselor. Don’t assume anything. No guarantees here. The first thing he should do is to talk with his Scoutmaster and have the Scoutmaster find and recommend a Cooking Merit Badge Counselor for him. Then he can ask his Counselor.

    • There are a few merit badges like Cooking & Camping that our Troop does as a group without the need of a counselor. We cover the majority of the requirements simply by attending outings. In the case of cooking, we actually cover everyone of the requirements (except for the new stuff) during our week long summer camp. Usually after 6-9 months boys have achieved the badges.

  6. My son completed his Eagle project in Dec 2013. He has to finish writing it up and present it to Eagle BOR. Does he have to earn the Cooking MB now that it is 2014? He has not earned it previously.

    • Hi Larry -

      The rule here is that if your son completed all requirements for Eagle, had his scoutmaster conference, and submitted his paperwork to the council office before January 1, 2014, he is not required to earn the cooking merit badge. This is true even if his board is scheduled for 2014. Congratulations and Good Luck!

      • Thanks Tom for the info. I have a feeling he will have to complete the cooking merit badge now. Luckily he is 16

    • My understanding is that if he completed his scoutmaster conference and ALL the requirements prior to January 1st, then he could complete and submit the paperwork later. As a scoutmaster, to me that means the scout would have had to have completed his Eagle project workbook and obtained the signatures of the beneficiary indicating that the project was satisfactorily completed. It means that the six months of leadership was completed prior to January 1st, and it means that the scout had participated in his Eagle scoutmaster conference prior to January 1st. We have one scout in our troop that elected not to finish his project write up and hold a scoutmaster conference before the new year began and must now earn the cooking merit badge.

  7. I am a merit badge counselor for this badge and I am not active in a troop. Is it OK to have the boy explain, take photo’s and have a signed verification for each of the items he cooked with his troop that are required to complete this badge?

  8. Minor nitpick: Subrequirements should be lettered or numbered in a different style so that one does not get lost/confused in the requirements. On my first read through, I got lost between where Req. 6 ended and Req. 7 started, especially with the two asterisks notes in the middle of Req. 6.

  9. My son thought he was done and submitted the paperwork for Eagle. It appears that he now needs to complete the Cooking Badge to complete Eagle……he has performed some of the tasks listed as requirements such as planning meals, cooking meals, etc. These tasks were performed many times when he and his troop went to camp-outs, hikes, etc. Would those activities count towards the cooking badge although they were not originally performed to obtain the cooking badge. Can someone comment/advise please?

    • Yes! Anything done since he joined scouting can count. The meal preparation required for rank advancement cannot be counted again, but any other experience that meets the requirement will count. You may find a MB counselor is skeptical if your son isn’t able to provide sufficient detail about what he did beyond “I did all of those already”.

  10. Okay i get that we need to use one pamphlet book only. But, Myplate.gov has taken over and there is no access to the old way. So we have to use the new version now. Am I right?

  11. I really see no reason as a scout to do this merit badge. I have already done the requirements several times over and now I have to do them again with only 6 months left till I get my eagle. Scouting has become feminized ever since the homo issue.

      • Hank, he’s entitled to his opinion just like everyone else. No wonder Scouts are declining in enrollment. Cooking should stay as an elective!! I can think of 10 other merit badges more important than cooking. Adding this as an eagle requirement will only hurt the boy scouts.. Let’s see play hockey or go cooking this weekend???? tough choice for a boy…

        • um. Sorry Jimbob. Our troop never has an event “to go cooking”. But when we’re out doing other things like hiking and kayaking, we have to eat. It’s nice to have a hot meal. I don’t know who you think is going to cook it. The cooking merit badge isn’t difficult to get. It’s one of those things that the scouts will accomplish simply be participating. It’s only difficult for those who didn’t pay attention for the 18 months prior to it becoming a required MB that are whining.

        • Who ‘goes cooking’? When the boys are camping, they have to eat. No one is doing the cooking for them, and they’re not ordering pizza. If you think cooking is ‘feminine’ then you’re about a half century behind the times. Also, I suggest you look to the top chefs in the world. THe majority of them are men, and they have a lot of the qualities that you’d look for in an Eagle Scout, as well.

    • Mark, if you’ve done the work, you should be able to get the merit badge. All you need to do is review it with your counselor and show you’ve completed it and you’re good.

      This has absolutely nothing to do with the political correctness. I too am an eagle scout and this was a very important skill that I learned. If you want to cook like a man, you can always learn to cook on a rock, in a garbage can or break out the old Dutch Oven.

      As a father and scoutmaster, I think this is a skill every young man should know how to do. I can assure you that your future wife will greatly appreciate your ability to help her in the kitchen! It will also make more of a difference in the lives of your family if you can set such a high standard for them to follow!

  12. I believe that as a 13 year old star scout I really admire this merit badge fully agree that this is a skill needed in life to push forward rather that just outside and camping skills, it hones the inner skill as well, it should be split in two one for out doors and one for in doors. if your a eagle scout you should agree with what im saying. what if your cooking and you make someone sick . Remember Always Be Prepared if that’s out doors or in doors it applies to it all.
    And I don’t see how learning how to cook and not kill someone is a homo and feminized act!

  13. There are 28 pages of details to fill out not to mention new “critiquing” activity and lots of extra work. Our troop conducted “cooking” camp out for this merit badge and several people are still struggling through paperwork and little else. I would like to hear from people who have actually completed this merit badge and what/how they got through all the paperwork.

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