|Retro Ranch Talk
No guide to ranch-style cookin' would
be complete without a little glossary of cowboy cookin' lingo. If you're
new to these parts, it's good to know that a goncho is a steel rod
used to lift hot lids from Dutch oven and a slick is an unbranded
cow. Don't confuse chuck, which is the grub you're cookin', with
the chips or dried cow pies used for cooking fuel. And, of course,
those Rocky Mountain Oysters you're being served are not really
the meat of mollusks.
The Cookie's Chuck Wagon Staples
"During the spring and fall roundups or
on a trail drive to a northern railhead, the camp cook, or 'cookie,' as
he was sometimes called, did not have the opportunity to saddle up and
head for a grocery store to replenish the supplies for his chuck wagon,"
C.W. Welch explains. Instead, the chuck wagon was provisioned before leaving
the home ranch with mostly dried foods and a few canned goods. "Staples
consisted of dried beans and fruit, flour, coffee, sugar, salt, cookie's
sourdough starter, and a few spices such as dried chilies, pepper, cinnamon,
and nutmeg." Without refrigeration, the cookie would only butcher enough
meat for a couple meals and "jerk" the rest into jerky.
How to Use a Dutch Oven
An essential American cooking implement
since colonial times, the Dutch oven is a three-legged cast-iron pot with
a flanged lid that holds hot wood coals or charcoal. This versatile campfire
oven can also be used as a soup pot, frying pan, or deep-fat fryer. "Heat
management rather than recipe preparation is the real key to successful
Dutch oven cooking," writes outdoor cooking expert C.W. Welch. For his
advice on baking, roasting, frying or boiling with a Dutch oven, click
A Roundup of Classic Cowboy
by C. W. Welch
Collectors Press, 2004.
Another fun Retro cookbook
from Collectors Press, this one captures the cowboy spirit of the 1940s
and 50s with colorful western-style graphics and hearty ranch recipes.
Based on the simple fixins of camp cooks and homesteaders from the late
19th and early 20th centuries, the 75 featured vittles include Scalloped
Potatoes, Stuffed Peppers, Sweet and Sour Short Ribs, Quick-Fix Chicken,
Dutch Oven Pot Roast, Dutch Babies, Potato Pancakes and Basic Ranch Chili.
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