By Kimberley Roy, Pack Scouter 2nd Highland Creek

When someone says “camp food,” the very idea usually conjures up thoughts of hot dogs and spaghetti. Maybe pancakes and chilli. Definitely s’mores.

And while classic camp fare has its place at 2nd Highland Creek’s weekend Cub camps, our dedicated cooks take pride in their ability to exceed everyone’s expectations of what makes for a satisfying meal. Even the basics are reimagined as something unexpected and delicious.

Feeding 40 hungry campers and their Scouters is no small feat, particularly when dealing with a multitude of food allergies and restrictions, but our cooks take it all in stride, encouraging Cubs to expand their palettes and try something new (more often than not, Cubs discover that they really do like whatever is on offer).

At January’s (F)Art Camp (the F is silent), campers awoke on Saturday to the aroma of breakfast cooking. They were in for a treat as our cooks served generous portions of breakfast strata, a baked casserole that combines cubes of bread, sautéed vegetables and crumbled bacon mixed in an eggy custard and topped with shredded cheddar. Served with fruit and cereal, our campers were ready for a day of activity!

Later that morning, our campers focused on edible art by making pancakes with squeeze bottles containing coloured pancake batter. Everyone had a chance to create masterpieces that looked almost too good to eat. Accompanied by maple syrup sourced from Woodland Trails Scout Camp, these creations were several tiers above standard pancake fare.

By lunchtime, campers were famished and ready to dig into a thematically-correct lunch of chilli dogs! Homemade, not-too-spicy chilli topped grilled hotdogs and made for a rather musical meal. Even Cubs who weren’t too sure about chilli were quickly won over.

Cubs had the opportunity to flex their artistic muscles later that afternoon when they decorated homemade sugar cookies. All that sugar kept them going through the rest of the afternoon while preparations for an artistic dinner were underway. The piѐce de résistance was our backwards meal of cupcakes for dinner followed by a dessert of spaghetti and meatballs. Confused? So were the Cubs, until they discovered that the cupcakes were actually individual portions of meatloaf covered with a swirl of mashed potato frosting and topped with a cherry tomato. Dessert, meanwhile, consisted of vanilla ice cream put through a ricer to create noodles, and then topped with strawberry sauce and mini brownie bite “meatballs.”

Sunday morning breakfasts are generally low-key as we need to focus on cleaning and packing up, but our cooks surprised us with both egg muffin sandwiches and an annual camp tradition: chocolate oatmeal. Chocolate oatmeal, a rich concoction of oats, butter and chocolate chips, is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of breakfast food, but for those who come down on the side of “delicious,” they can’t get enough.

With meals like this, it’s no wonder that when asked about their favourite part of camp, many Cubs are quick to answer “the food!”