Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chuckwagon On Western Wednesday...!

I think we can all agree that the Chuckwagon played a big part in our early western history!

There were probably as many designs for these portable pantries and kitchens as there were wagons, but the purpose was very much the same. Keeping the cowboys fed and happy over a long trail drive was the intent. No one works for long on an empty stomach, and isn't happy for long without some good grub to carry them through.

Something sweet from time to time was almost necessary and served as a real treat for those on the trail, I'm sure!

Some interesting names were given to the objects and dishes of the Chuckwagon. Here are just a few!

Chuckwagon Terms

Wreck pan:
The pan in which cowboys placed their dirty dishes following a meal.

Squirrel can:
The large can in which cowboys scraped the food scraps before placing them in the wreck pan.

Cook’s last job of the evening:
Point the tongue of the chuckwagon toward the north so the herd could “follow the tongue” the next day.

Gut robber, greasy belly, biscuit shooter:

Cowboys names for both the ranch house and trail drive cook.

Coffee recipe:

A hand full of coffee for every cup of water.

Possum belly:

A rawhide apron attached to the underside of the chuckwagon in which wood and buffalo chips are stored for the dinner fire.

Why cooks threw dirty dishwater under chuckwagon:

This helped protect the cook’s domain by discouraging cowboys from taking a nap in the shade under the chuckwagon.

Cowboys are noted for developing their own vocabulary.

Sometimes it was because they couldn’t pronounce the word correctly as used in the language of origin. They were famous for perverting Spanish words.

Cowboys also named items because the item reminded them of something else. However they came about, cowboys had a vocabulary that was colorful and their own.

Below are some words used in reference to chuck, or for the non-cowboy, food, while they were on the trail.

Calf Slobbers –Meringue on a pie.

Fried Chicken – Bacon rolled in flour and fried.

Chuck Wagon Chicken – Fried bacon.

Charlie Taylor – A substitute for butter. A combination of molasses and bacon grease.

“Man at the Pot!” – Term yelled at a person pouring himself a cup of coffee. A cowboy’s way of saying, “Pour me a cup too.”

Spotted Pup – Cooking raisins in rice.

Stacked to a fill – Compliment to the chief following a great meal.

Dry Camp – A camp that has no water available.

Prairie or Mountain Oysters
– Calf’s testicles.

Just goes to show you that many slang terms still in use today came from the era of the ol' faithful Chuckwagon!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. I'll get us all some glazed donuts, OK?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I understand that having a good chuck wagon cook was important during cattle drives. Like you said, bad food following hard work could cause a lot of harsh feelings and dulled the enthusiasm for the job. That could not have been an easy job.

Thanks HermitJim.

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Boy, that was some strong coffee they made!
Save two donuts for me!

Sixbears said...

That coffee would sure pop your eyes open.

Loved the colorful language.

linda m said...

I have heard about cowboy coffee from some folks in AZ. that stuff would rot my gut. Some very interesting facts this morning. Thanks.

JOJO said...

Great post this morning. Yup that coffee could make you work hard. LOL

I'll bring some peanut butter cookies along.

Bob from Athens said...

Considering that they had to work all day and half of the night no wonder they needed strong coffee.

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 5:40...
Gotta keep the troops happy on something as long and hard as a cattle drive, I reckon!

Staying on the good side of the cook would be a very good idea!

Thanks for coming by today!


Hey Phyllis...
Guess you could say it was a real eye opener! Bet it didn't keep them from sleeping good, though!

Don't worry, if we run out I'll go and get some more!

Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Sixbears...
Almost as strong as ours, huh?

Yep, the language was colorful to say the least!

Thanks, my friend, for coming over today!


Hey Linda...
I imagine that the coffee never was too strong for most of these guys! They were pretty tough!

I'll stay with my own recipe, I think!

Many thanks for dropping by today!


Hey JoJo...
Must have given them a real boost of energy.

Sweetie, I'd love some peanut butter cookies!

Thanks for coming by this morning!


Hey Bob...
Sorta like standing guard duty in the service in the Winter!

Strong coffee makes the world go 'round!

Thanks for the visit today, my friend!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I have been watching the old TV show "Rawhide" on the Western channel. So this fits right in with that show. BTW, that coffee sounds good to me. I don't drink many cups a day but put enough coffee in one cup to cover the whole day. Can not stand weak coffee.

Bob Mc said...

A good book if you can find it. "Chuck Wagon Cookin'" by Stella Hughes. Lots of old time chuck wagon recipes, and great stories about some of the old chuck wagon cooks.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
I like my coffee pretty strong as well!

Rawhide was the start for ol' Clint Eastwood! Good show!

Thanks, buddy, for coming over today!


Hey Bob...
I think I saw that book mentioned in some of my wanderings around the net. Thanks for the review, though.

I'll probably add a few recipes to the blog from time to time!

Thanks for coming over today!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Interesting lingo those cowboys had, HJ. Coffee sounds good, but will have to pass on the glazed donuts.

BBC said...

Experienced that as a kid in Wyoming. And the language was a lot more interesting than mentioned here.

HermitJim said...

Hey Beatrice...
That's alright! I'll finish off your donuts for ya.

Coffee does hit the spot just about anytime!

Thanks for coming by today!


Hey BBC...
I'm sure that the cowboys could cuss a blue streak without any trouble.

Thing was, you didn't want to make the cook angry!

I appreciate the visit today!