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Oh, For The Doughs Of Yesteryear

May 2024
1min read

The frontispiece photograph of a modern chuck wagon in our February/March, 1978, issue brought forth a burst of savory reminiscence from a veteran cowboy, Dan Olney, now residing in Veracruz, Mexico: “In your February issue there is a photo of the back end of a rubber-tired chuck wagon. My God, the food! What you’d find in a supermarket catering to all the fussiest housewife’s tastes. When I rode, ‘Cookie’ had a sack of potatoes, another of beans, maybe onions, a slab of bacon, and he had a Dutch oven, not those silver-shiny pans in the photo. Immediately on making camp, and a fire, the Dutch oven went on the fire to get really hot. Then through a hole punched in the top of the flour sack went salt, baking powder, lard, and enough water to make a sticky dough. The Dutch oven was then taken off the fire by a stick through its top and put on glowing coals raked out of the fire. Lard was put in the bottom, the lumps of biscuit dough passed across it to brown the tops, and the hot lid put on and hot coals shoveled in. This was bread. At the end of the meal a jug of molasses was passed around. You put it in your tin plate after mopping up what was there, and then messed some more biscuits around in the molasses, and that ended every meal. Damn good! It was called ‘lick.’”

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