By Guest Author Callie Hutton
Thank you for having me here today
on your blog.
In my Western Historical book, A
Chance to Love Again—the fourth book in my Oklahoma Lovers series—the heroine,
Rachel Stevens, is a widow with a small child. She lives on a cattle ranch and
works as the cook. It was fun doing the research on what life on an early 1900s
cattle ranch was like, and how hard the cooks had to work to keep all those
hungry cowboys fed.
During my research, I ran across
some interesting recipes that the cooks used. Here is one for soda biscuits
that any ranch hand cook would be making every morning:
Take 1lb flour, and mix it
with enough milk to make a stiff dough;
dissolve 1tsp carbonate of soda in a little milk;
add to dough with a teaspoon of salt.
Work it well together and
roll out thin;
cut into round biscuits, and bake them in a moderate oven.
The yolk of an egg is sometimes added.
Doesn’t seem too hard, does it? Except the cook probably made three
or four dozen at a clip. Think of all that kneading! My arms get tired just thinking about it. Another
favorite for the sweet tooth that the cowboys had was for Fried apples:
Fry 4 slices of bacon in a
Dutch oven. Remove bacon.
Peel and slice 6 to 8 Granny
Put apples in Dutch oven with
cover and cook down the apples, but not to mush.
Serve topped with butter or
cream and crumbled bacon.
They're great for breakfast
Of course, if you’re cooking for 15 or 20 hungry cowboys, 6 to 8
apples won’t cut it. So I imagine our cook was peeling and slicing an entire
bushel for that crowd. And, of course, no cattle ranch cook could leave out the
famous Cowboy Beans.
1 pound dried pinto
3 ounces beef jerky,
1 tablespoon chili
Most of the recipes for Cowboy Beans
that I found used some type of beef, but I liked this one because I know beef
jerky was pretty plentiful on the range. This next one, however, was by far the
most interesting one I discovered.
2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (black walnuts are fine)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup chopped suet
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup chopped dried fruit of any kind.
Chop suet into small pieces
no pieces being larger than a bean.
Combine with raisins, nuts, brown sugar, and chopped dried fruit.
Then mix flour, spices, and
salt with baking powder.
Add gradually to fruit mixture with milk, beating well.
Put in flour sack or tie in
large square of cloth. Put in kettle of boiling water and boil 3 hours, always
keeping enough boiling water, and put on cloth to drain.
After about ½ hour, untie
cloth and turn pudding onto dish. Let chill.
Slice and serve with hard
This pudding will keep well and is similar to plum pudding.
This can be made in camp
with molasses instead of brown sugar. Or can be made with white sugar instead
of either brown sugar or molasses.
This was a great favorite with chuck wagon cooks.
Think of the work! We are indeed spoiled today. Now it’s time for y’all
to get some cowboy feeling into your next meal and try a recipe or two. But of
course, drag out the crock pot, mixer, and food processor before you do.
Widow Rachel Stevens is very happy with her
job as a cook for the Lazy Sunset ranch where she is raising her son. However,
the new foreman, Rusty McIntyre, is turning her life upside down. She could
overlook how her son has begun to idolize Rusty, but she’s having a heck of a
time ignoring the flutters in her stomach every time the man smiles at her.
But Rusty has problems of his own. His previously unknown
fourteen year old daughter has just arrived to live with him. Used to always
being on his own, now he has a young boy following him around imitating his
every move, and a surly young lady glaring at him. Throw into the mix the tug
he feels toward the ranch cook—who wants no part of him—and life is no longer
as easy as it once was.
I will offer a copy
of any of my ebooks to one commenter, along with a $5 gift card to either
Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice.)
|Callie Hutton, Author|
USA Today best selling
author of The Elusive Wife, Callie Hutton writes both Western Historical and
Regency romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance
Reviews). She also pens an occasional contemporary or two. Callie lives in Oklahoma
with several rescue dogs, two adult children, and daughter-in-law (thankfully
all not in the same house), and her top cheerleader husband of thirty-eight
years. She also recently welcomed twin grandsons to her ever expanding family.
Callie loves to hear from readers, and would welcome you as a “friend” on
Facebook. You can contact her through her website: www.calliehutton.com.