A new recipe: What to expect from the Cooking merit badge redesign

cookingWhat’s on the menu for the revamped Cooking merit badge, served up later this year?

The BSA’s volunteer-led team isn’t ready to dish on the main course just yet, but I was authorized to give you a taste — an appetizer, if you will.

OK, enough cooking puns. Here’s what I know: 

Eagle required

As I mentioned in October, Cooking MB is set to become Eagle-required on Jan. 1, 2014. Any Scout who has already earned Cooking will not need to re-earn it. His existing, Cooking merit badge will count toward the Eagle rank beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.

A Scout who has sewn the green-ringed Cooking merit badge onto his sash may replace it with a silver-ringed version beginning on Jan. 1, if he chooses. It’s not required.

release date for redesign

The volunteer-led team hopes to release the revamped Cooking MB before Thanksgiving 2013. Hey, just in time for all those teenage boys to help Mom and Dad prepare their family’s feast.

What are the big changes?

The new requirements will merge four sets of materials into the improved Cooking MB:

  1. The best parts of the existing badge pamphlet
  2. Insight into nutrition from the Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation’s top heart hospitals
  3. Suggestions from the BSA’s volunteer-led team
  4. Additional content, including indoor/life-skill cooking, more information about careers in cooking, better nutrition and menus, new material on food allergies, and more on preventing food-borne illnesses

Types of cooking

To better prepare Scouts for life, the new Cooking MB will focus on three kinds of cooking: indoor, outdoor, and backpacking. That makes sense, because not every meal is prepared outside, and encouraging a complete understanding about food will make for better-rounded Scouts.

And the emphasis on healthy cooking will make sure Scouts don’t become too well-rounded, if you know what I mean.

What else is new?

Other expected additions include:

  • Cutlery kits: How to create one for home use, personal use on a campout, and patrol use
  • Heating: Home appliances, fires, at-home grills, and camp/trail stoves
  • Cooking methods: Baking, roasting, broiling, pan frying, stir frying, microwaving, foil packs, and more
  • First aid: Choking, allergic reactions, food allergies, and food-related diseases
  • Choosing what to eat: MyPlate, serving size, limiting fat and sugar intake, special diets
  • Planning/shopping: Considering whom you’re cooking fot
  • Backpacking/trail food: Leave No Trace, weight considerations, special equipment

Keep up with merit badge changes

Be sure to bookmark my Calendar of New Merit Badges to keep track of changes to Cooking merit badge and other merit badge news.

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