I’ve been involved in the Girl Guide movement for over 35 years now. I started as a Brownie, and went all the way through. I have been a leader for every age group at one time or another, and am currently a leader in a Ranger (15-18 year olds) unit.
While not a collector of Girl Guide memorabilia I do have a huge collection of badges, crests and patches I’ve earned or traded for over the years, and I also have the Girl Guide Cook Book, compiled and arranged by the Guides of Greater Vancouver, British Columbia. While it’s undated, it seems to be from the mid 1930s.
While it’s mostly recipes contributed from BC members, it also has information about the program and Guiding statistics of the day a the bottom of each page. It also has a section on camp cooking at the back.
The promise and law have changed a bit since this book was published, but when I was a girl, it was very nearly the same, though of course we mentioned the Queen in our promise, not a king. Queen Elizabeth was still Princess Elizabeth at the time of this book, and the recipe for her birthday cake was included in the book.
Several of the bottom-of-the-page blurbs talk about taking risks: Be plucky, be handy, be cool, and do the right thing no matter what the risk to herself; or be useful and help others, and do her duty, even if it interferes with her comfort, pleasure or safety. These days, we put more of an emphasis on staying safe, and have risk assessment forms to fill out. Safety before duty these days, and probably just as well!
I combed through the book looking at the names of contributors, since I did have relatives living in the Vancouver area at the time the book was published, but none looked familiar. Oh well, it’s still a really neat little book to have!
The camp part is neat, and of course camping is still a big part of Guiding. I wish there was more information on camping than just the menus. Where they camped, what camp rules were back then, equipment they used, et cetera. All we get from this book is food.
We no longer have camp menus planned by dietitians, nor have I ever been at a camp with such an elaborate menu! We do less open fire cooking these days, and more camp stove cooking. We do still cook on open fires, but between health and safely regulations, and fire restrictions, it’s mostly stoves. More’s the pity, I think.
Angels on Horseback sound like something fun to try, and Dampers sound like what we called bannock as kids. Cheese Dreams still show up at most of our camps, but we call them grilled cheese sandwiches.
A normal lunch (we have lunch and dinner, rather than dinner and supper) for my unit is bagel sandwiches, each girl making her own to her liking, or grilled cheese sandwiches and instant soup with fruit, raw veggies and whatever drinks we brought. Some of these menu ideas look tasty enough – though I’m not convinced about creamed devilled eggs and green peas! – but they all seem unnecessarily complicated, and a lot of washing up to do!! The menu for campfire hasn’t changed much, though!
I have baked cakes without an oven, but never using this method. The homemade egg slicer perplexes me… Were egg slicers so critical that you couldn’t manage without one for camp, and if so, why not pack one? I’ve used a tin can lid and stick to make a pancake turner, once, when one was forgotten. That seems far more practical to me than an egg slicer.
Some of my very best Guiding memories are of our frequent hammock camps at a beautiful Girl Guide camp about an hour from where I live. When I was a Pathfinder, my unit camped very frequently, and I’m still friends with many of the girls I camped with there. I still camp there, and I still think it’s the most beautiful place on earth.
It was hard to narrow down the parts of the book I wanted to use, so a lot of pictures this time! Are any of my readers involved in Guiding or Scouting? I’d love to hear about your experiences!