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Getting Started (updated for 2016)

Assuming you have contacted your scout leader and received a blue card for the Cooking Merit Badge here is some information to help you know what to do next.  

1. ORDER: It is part of requirements 4-6 (meal planning and prep)that you use the information you learn in requirements 1-3 (food safety, MyPlate and cooking methods), therefore you MUST do 1-3, FIRST.
We've also learned from experience that while it is not necessary, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you also do 4-6 IN ORDER since they get progressively more demanding and detailed as you go.

2. WORKSHEETS: I have designed new worksheets for this merit badge that are more user-friendly than those linked from the BSA site.  To print the Cooking Merit Badge Worksheets go HERE. This will take you to the Document Center for this blog that has several documents to help you with this Merit Badge. It will take a bit of effort to familiarize yourself with them, but they will save you a LOT of trouble and frustration in the end.  
Since there are so many pieces to this merit badge start by printing the Cooking MB Tracker so you can keep track of your progress more easily.

3. REQUIREMENT HELP: Posts to help you with each requirement can be found listed in the "Table of Contents" Box. Each post breaks down each requirement and offers Tips and Resources to help you complete it.  These are meant to guide you through and offer you some clarifications, and address frequently asked questions, but do not just give you all the answers.  
4. NO "DOUBLE-DIPPING": FROM THE BSA:  "The meals prepared for Cooking Merit Badge requirements 4, 5, and 6 will count only toward fulfilling those requirements and will not count toward rank advancement or other merit badges.  Meals prepared for rank advancement or other merit badges may not count toward the Cooking Merit Badge.  you must not repeat any menus for meals actually prepared or cooked in requirements 4, 5, and 6."
5. BSA RESOURCES: To access a list of helpful links from the BSA you can go HERE.
Sadly, this is not a well-maintained list (it's really hard to keep up with that sort of thing) so keep in mind the following tips to make it more useful.
--The BSA video links, put out by the BSA don't work so you have to google the video title to find it and, last I checked, it seems you have to download it in order to watch it.
--The ehow videos automatically go to whatever their featured video or home screen so you have to type the name of the video you actually want into their search box.
--Also they haven't updated and it has MyPyramid instead of MyPlate links. I have details on finding what you need on the entry for MyPlate, HERE for requirements a & b and HERE for c & d.
--I have started my own list of food-related BSA video link HERE.

If you are in unit 1826, view the flow chart for blue cards HERE.

Here is a step by step list for this merit badge (It is specific to Unit 1826, but should be similar for other units).  If you want a printer friendly version of this chart click HERE (it can also be found in the Document Center)
Parents and/or Leader
Scout lets his leader know he’s interested in doing the cooking merit badge.
Scout keeps blue card in a safe place
Leader gives scout Merit Badge Counselor’s (MBC) contact information.  He also fills out, signs and dates the front of the Blue Card and gives it to Scout.
Parents make sure he doesn’t lose the card. 
BEFORE he begins to work on the merit badge the Scout contacts the counselor and schedules a meeting.
This 1st meeting (and preferably all) should include a parent (whichever one will be most involved in the process)
Parents observe meetings whenever possible. 
Scout comes to meeting with the Printed Worksheets and a parent. 
This first meeting is an introduction to explain all that needs to be done and to make sure they understand the process.  It takes about an hour.
Parents come to meeting.
After we have met the scout can begin work on requirements 1-3.  The information they learn doing these requirements are to be integrated into requirements 4-6 so they really must be done FIRST.  This blog is to help you with these requirements so use it.  You may do requirement 7 whenever. 
When finished with requirements 1-3 contact the Counselor again for a meeting. 
Meeting.  This one will also be about an hour. We’ll go over what you’ve done for 1-3 and discuss what needs done next.  You may also schedule shorter meetings with your counselor after each of requirements 1-3 if that works better for you.  
Parents come to meeting.
These next few steps will be repeated as needed to get requirements 4-6 completed.  It is recommended that you do these requirements in order, but they may overlap some. 
Plan your menus using MyPlate, also keeping in mind food restrictions of any you are cooking for. Provide menu and ingredients list.  This portion of the requirement usually has some changed that need to be made so it is best to save yourself extra work by getting meals approved BEFORE you make the make shopping, cost, equipment and supplies lists so you don't have to redo them as your menus change.
When you have planned your menus and made an ingredients list and double checked that you've actually done the entire requirement up to this point . . . email that menu and list to your counselor or meet with me again briefly for a quick check that it’s sufficient. 
Make sure you really have planned with MyPlate in mind.
Once your counselor has approved your menu go ahead with the remaining lists (shopping, cost, equipment and supplies) 
Meet with your counselor again to pass off all you’ve done so far.
Parents come to meeting.
Prepare the required meals using the safe handling practices and consideration of the outdoor code and leave no trace as discussed previously
Parents let them use your kitchen and drive them to the store as needed
Get an evaluation from those you served the meals to including yourself (best to do this in writing at the time)
Offer real feedback.
Do requirement 7, if you haven’t already.
Meet with your counselor yet again, with your evaluations and to discuss how your meals went.  This is a good time to discuss requirement 7 if you haven’t before. 
Your counselor completes your blue card and keep one portion of it. 
Parents come to meeting.
Scout returns completed, signed Blue Card to Leader. 
Leader reviews, signs records and returns to Scout.
Scout delivers final approved Blue Card (2 parts) with all the information filled in and all signatures to the Advancement Chair (Sister Lewin).
Unit records & reports advancement, secures awards, retains Unit copy of Blue Card, and prepares award for Scout Court of Honor.
Scout receives his portion of blue card and an award card with his merit badge and must keep them for his records.
Beam with pride!
(and make sure the blue card is stored safely and you get the new merit badge sewn on)

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