It was hard to miss John Frerichs at the Scout-O-Rama on Saturday in Blue Earth.
He was the guy standing outside on the sidewalk all day, cooking with charcoal.
Frerichs was demonstrating how to cook all types of meals with Dutch Ovens.
Even if you missed sight of John, you couldn’t miss the great smells emanating from his stand on the sidewalk.
First off, it is always hard to miss the smell of charcoal burning. It has a very distinct odor.
Secondly, the smell of food cooking was wafting across the area. That always gets my attention.
Frerichs was cooking egg dishes for breakfast in the morning, great recipes for lunch, and at the end of the day, he had a pizza casserole cooking that, well, was fantastic.
Best of all, he was giving the stuff away. That’s right – free food. That always gets my attention, too.
Inside Pemberton Auditorium a hundred scouts from around Southern Minnesota were doing all kinds of fun things at the Scout-O-Rama. And the canteen was open and selling pork sandwiches and hot dogs.
But outside, on the sidewalk, my-oh-my, it was yummy food being given away. Hard to top that gimmick.
What a lot of the folks who were there enjoying John’s food might not know is that he was a Blue Earth resident once upon a time.
Although he now lives in Welcome, and works in Fairmont, he grew up here and graduated from Blue Earth Area High School.
His mother is Thelma Frerichs, who retired from working many years at Zitnak Pharmacy about a year ago.
“She got out of the store before Dennis did,” Frerichs says with a chuckle.
John was a boy scout in Blue Earth, and has been active in scouting all of his life.
Some time ago he got interested in cooking with Dutch Ovens, and has been traveling around to scouting events like the one in Blue Earth last week, demonstrating the art.
That’s not all. He also enters Dutch Oven cooking contests, and recently took a first place and third place in a national contest in Central City, Iowa.
“The first place was just for an apple cobbler dessert, pretty common in Minnesota, but they sure thought it was special,” John says.
Of course, winning the contest now made him an ‘expert’ in many local people’s eyes, he says.
So much so that now he has been asked to run a Dutch Oven Cook-off Contest in this area.
The fundraiser event will be held on April 25 at the Cedar Point Boy Scout Camp in Fairmont.
There will be both adult and youth teams, with 1-3 people on each team. There will be three categories for the adults; main dish, side dish and dessert.
The cost is $10 per category, or $25 for all three.
Frerichs says he has 10 teams signed up already, but he would like to have 20.
The event starts at 9 a.m., with the foods to be done by 4:30 p.m. Cooks eat for free, but everyone else needs to pay $5. If you want to sign up, e-mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frerichs has a list of 13 rules for the teams to follow. They include such items as making only one dish per category, youth teams are not to have adult help, and each team needs to supply their own ingredients, utensils, and charcoal.
You can use charcoal briquets or wood coals, he says.
I liked rules No. 11 and 12.
No. 11 reads, ‘Don’t poison anybody!’ No. 12 states, ‘Don’t catch anything – or anybody – on fire!’
Seems to me these are two great rules which should be posted in every kitchen everywhere.
Definitely rules to live – and cook – by.