Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 52
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TEXIAN STOMPING GROUNDS
Perhaps the frijoles are eaten with tacos, or enchiladas, but most
certainly with tortillas. In the United States, the Mexicans fare
much better than in their own country, it is generally believed.
In the words of the Mexican who remained in Mexico, the fare
was at least without much variety:
Here for twenty-five cents
One works from sun to sun;
There is nothing else to eat
But tortillas and beans.
Frijoles are just about as much a part of the necessary sup-
plies of the ranchman in the Southwest as are sugar, salt, bacon,
flour, and coffee. The ranch cook tells you that for an everyday
diet frijoles just can't be beat and a wood stove is the best for
cooking them. Beans taste better though when cooked in camp,
he also adds.
The old-time Mexican sheepherder of the open range days
showed his boss how to really cook frijoles in camp. At night
before going to bed, he put his frijoles in a bucket, added plenty
of water, put in some pork (perhaps the rind), and then put
a tight lid with several holes in it on the bucket. Then he covered
the bucket almost to the top with live coals and left the beans to
simmer all night. At four o'clock he got up, put more coals
around the bucket, and added some salt and, by the time he had
cooked his bread, the beans were ready for breakfast. After
breakfast, he put up his lunch-one bean sandwich with bacon-
stuck some coffee in a piece of rag, slung his felt-covered canteen
over his shoulder and was ready to take his sheep out of the
brush corral and start the long day's trip. For supper, perhaps
the old herder had fried beans with chili pepper and onions to
set off the taste.
Flour, bacon, and beans three times a day! Not much variety
in diet but it tasted good to one who lived in the open and who
walked many miles each day. Rice, dried fruit, and potatoes
were luxuries. When the boss killed a goat or a sheep, the herder
practically went on a meat drunk. When he did go to town
periodically, likely enough he went on a sure enough big drunk
and when he got that red liquor on top of those red beans he
forgot his month of loneliness as a sheepherder.
On the cattle ranch in the Southwest the frijole is also a
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/60/: accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.