Camping Day Eight: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Diary: Friday 17 July

“When all issues of space, time, matter and the nature of being are resolved, only one question remains: Where shall we have dinner?”


The Restaurant at the End of the Universe* provides the ultimate gastronomic experience…perhaps it is run by enthusiastic Scouts.

It is a tradition at camp that for one of the dinners, the boys are allowed to plan, buy, cook and present their own menus. We call this the Patrol Special Meals. There is always a flurry of excitement before the event. Details are spoken of in hushed tones, lest another Patrol steals the idea.

Some ideas are complicated, others are simple but effective. One year there was a reverse fondue: instead of dipping marshmallows in melted chocolate, the boys melted the marshmallow and dipped in whole pieces of chocolate.

There is a budget of around £25 to cook a three-course meal for the whole Patrol. Topping up the budget from your own pocket money is not permissible but asking a leader for eg a clove of garlic is encouraged, in order to save some money. This year I had two patrols asking for brownies to make up part of their dessert. Other items that were requested included soya sauce, sesame oil, onions, eggs, bread, cream, lemon, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, butter and fish sauce (!).

Here are some pictures of the food that the boys created. This counts as one of the happiest evenings at camp.


A lot of chopping is involved beforehand





Some of the main dishes








Some of the desserts







Welcome to our restaurant






I admired the Patrol which had the confidence to buy some very fresh tuna and cook it to perfection. One of the best dishes was the lamb curry and rice, followed by the Brownie and Oreo Chess Board. I will write about this in a separate post after I have tried to recreate it at home. The Scout whose idea it was to cook the lamb curry actually brought the recipe and the spices to camp. I asked him how he made it and to my surprise he unfolded a piece of paper from his trouser pocket. We have external judges to award points for the best meal and I am glad his Patrol won…


*The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams, is available through Amazon and all bookshops.