The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929 Page: 51
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A History of the J A Ranch 51
boys. The dance goes on until midnight without an interruption.
Then a lunch is served consisting of various kinds of sandwiches,
fruit salad and coffee. The cowboys and their guests are served
first and the other guests are served afterwards. The dance is
then resumed and continues until about daybreak; then "Home
Sweet Home" is played and the dance is over. The guests return
home and the cowboys make preparations to leave with the wagon,
which starts out shortly after sunup.
The "outfit" consists of the chuck wagon and the hoodlum
wagon, the cook, the wagon boss, the horse wrangler and from
fifteen to eighteen cowboys. The cook, as the name implies, is
the man who does the cooking for the outfit; however, a word of
explanation with reference to him is perhaps necessary. He is
"boss supreme for sixty feet around the chuck wagon." This
means that when the boys come for their meals, they must do as
the cook says while within his territory. The preparation of a
meal is very interesting and odd to those who are not familiar
with camp life. The cooking is done in the open. Two iron rods
or "stobs" are driven in the ground a few feet apart and a cross
bar is placed on these "stobs," thus making a rack to hang pots
or buckets on. The fire is built beneath this cross bar and every-
thing is cooked in pots hung over this fire except the "good sour
dough biscuits." They are cooked in "Dutch ovens." The Dutch
oven is a very large thick skillet with three feet under the bottom,
and a heavy lid fitting on the top. The biscuits are put in the
oven, under and on top of which live coals of fire are placed.
After this heating process is done, the cook does not have to
worry any more about the biscuits, they will brown without burn-
ing. Clinton Henry says, "Everybody has an idea that a cowboy
doesn't have good meals, but he surely does. Some of these good
meals consist of brown beans, potatoes, fresh beef, all kinds of
dried fruit, different varieties of canned goods, syrup, sour dough
biscuits and black coffee. Black coffee and good sour dough bis-
cuits, after you have gone down the rope to about a hundred and
fifty calves with the temperature at 110 degrees in the shade would
put Fred Harvey's meals on the shelf." The cook places the food
in a row under the fly when the boys have all got in. He then
says, "All right, fellows, come and get it; if you don't I am going
to throw it out." Each cowboy goes by the chuck box, which is
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929, periodical, 1929; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101089/m1/55/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.