by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Jeff Silkman had high hopes for his “Chocolate Lovers’ Delight.”
It was one of several dishes that Silkman and his Boy Scout chefs, members of Troop 395 of Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood, were preparing for the third annual Holy Smokes Cook-off and Catholic Family Campout on Sept. 10 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kan.
“We won first place [in desserts] last year,” he said, pouring a batch of chocolate goo into an iron kettle. “This is something new we’re trying.”
Alas, it was not to be.
The winner in the dessert competition this year was a Dutch oven apple crisp from Troop 46, sponsored by Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka.
Don’t feel too bad for Troop 395. The Leawood Scouts triumphed in the foil dinner and dutch oven dinner categories.
The Holy Smokes camporee was all about good food and good fun for the Catholic Scouting family. The camporee was sponsored by the archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and is the brainchild of Father Shawn Tunink, archdiocesan Scouting chaplain and associate pastor of Curé of Ars Parish.
The idea for Holy Smokes came out of Father Tunink’s own Scouting experiences.
“I remember as a boy at camp when I got to [attend] Mass at summer camp with all the Catholic Scouts,” said Father Tunink. “I remember being blown away by how many of us there were, and how I realized for the first time that the Catholic Church supports Scouting — that the two really do go together.”
Approximately a dozen Scouting units camped overnight on the Savior grounds and were joined later Sunday afternoon by others for an outdoor Mass and concert by the Mikey Needleman Band.
The Scouts and Scout leaders set up their camps and cooking equipment just before noon. Despite intermittent and occasionally heavy rain, the outdoor chefs produced a number of entrees and desserts. It was difficult to choose winners.
“Barbecue judging is a refined skill that requires a lot of practice,” said Father Tunink with tongue planted firmly in cheek. “I may have to practice several times before I feel I’m in a position to be fully warmed up for the responsibilities.”
Father Tunink hopes the event will grow as more people learn about it. All Scouting units, even those not sponsored by Catholic organizations, are welcome to come. Also, Catholics in non-Catholic sponsored units are welcome to come as individuals.
“We want to get the word out that we’ll always have Holy Smokes the Saturday after Labor Day,” said Father Tunink. “Ideally, all our Catholic [units] will put this on their calendars as the Catholic camporee, so to speak, to begin the year.”
The cook-off winners
• Dessert category: Dutch oven apple crisp by Troop 46, Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, Topeka
• Foil dinner category: lasagna by Troop 395, Curé of Ars Parish, Leawood
• Barbecue: ribs, pulled pork and beans by Troop 194, St. Joseph Parish, Shawnee
• Best in show: teriyaki chicken by Troop 46, Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, Topeka