Camp Cooking

Cambridge District Scout Archives

The following reports are clearly not all the occasions where the Archives record cooking.  The first selection, the least frequent category because it is the everyday, reflects aspects common to many camps but new to each generation.

Cooking methods records the changing technology and the rediscovery of old methods.  The gaps in the archives omit many new stoves and techniques.

The last category ‘Cooks’, tells of the introduction of cooking by patrols, but more interestingly the use of a cook.  Some are ‘borrowed’ with the suggestion that it was a paid post. 

Cambridge Archives


1916                5th Cambridge (Perse) Field Day        ‘At places lunch was cooked and where possible eaten.’

c. 1928 23rd Cambridge with a potential recruit

1930                5th Cambridge (Perse) Field Day         ‘On such occasions as this , every member of the troop is expected to cook at least some of his lunch, so it is quite a common spectacle to see two small boys struggling with a refractory damper while a scoutmaster looks on with infinite pity as he chews his ham sandwich.’

12th Cambridge 1930’s

1947                5th Cambridge             In house Cooking Cup competition

1953                5th Cambridge             ‘each patrol site was complete in itself, tents with kitchens’

1977                28th Cambridge           Cooked bread on open fire

1994                28th Cambridge           ‘Washed ourselves and cooked our own breakfast’

Cooking methods

1917                Cambridge Rally B-P’s report ‘cooked their dinner in a Maori oven.  There was a small pile of cut grass lying on the ground: when you put your hand into it you discovered it was boiling hot.  If you groped down lower you came on potatoes and meat baking among a lot of hot stones and hot earth.  This is where a fire had been made and then raked out, the food put in, covered over and left to cook itself.’       

1917                Cambridge Rally B-P’s report ‘A fireless cooker, cooking porridge for the mornings breakfast, was shown’            

1918                Fortheringay Flax camp          ‘True we were promised an Aldershot oven; it was said to be ‘on the railway; it probably still is.’    C T Woods’ album newspaper cutting

(A military ‘field’ oven probably for baking, of 66lbs and gradually bent when heated – at which point you took the oven to pieces and beat it back into shape with a maul.)

1920’s 9th Cambridge The pudding has been prepared and wrapped in cloth before being placed in the boiler.

‘Ready for boiling’ C T Wood’s album 1920’s

1941                5th Cambridge             ‘For cooking we had the luxury of a gas stove in the houseboat on the island, but it must be confessed that we were more successful in our trench fire. ‘                       Camping on the island at Hemingford Abbots

C T Wood album          1920’s

1943                5th Cambridge             ‘and the introduction of a haybox produced some good results.’

13th Cambridge Camp log

1948                12th Cambridge           Aboard the Adventurer (converted landing craft) cooking was on gas stoves with a full sized oven.

1954                5th Cambridge             ‘Eggs were scotched and pastry baked in an oven over a primus.’   (See separate page Activities/ Camping/ Camp Cooking/ Primus)

2008                28th Cambridge           Baked bread in cardboard box oven on open fire

2018                28th Cambridge           Baked bread in dutch oven with coals and pot roasted beef          


1918                Fortheringhay Flax camp        Mrs Stoakley, mother of a Scout, was in charge of cooking  Vere Stoakley attended aged 9 as he was too young to be left at home.  ‘Queens’ College Record 2008’

1930                5th Cambridge                          ‘The new cook worked splendidly, although we missed the jolly face of Sgt Tarbard we rejoiced in the fact that the porridge was not burnt once.’

1936                Cambridgeshire Rally Ely       ‘each patrol camped entirely on its own and did its own cooking.’            (From the 5th Cambridge but reads as if all Groups did the same)

1940                5th Cambridge                         ‘Some years ago he organised the scheme of cooking by patrols’

1968                54th Cambridge           Records report cooking by patrols and apparently some central cooking.   One ‘topsy-turvy’ day in which meals were eaten in reverse order

2nd Cambridge  Abington 1930’s

9th Cambridge 1927 hot plates (metal over pit fires) C T Wood’s album

JWR Archivist Feb 2019