Texas cowboys are the stuff of legend — immortalized in ruggedly picturesque images from Madison Avenue to Hollywood. Cowboy cooking is part of the mythology, and it enjoys the same oversimplified reputation (think campfires in the great outdoors). In reality the food of the Texas cattle raisers came from a wide variety of ethnicities, and spans four centuries.
Robb Walsh goes beyond the popular images to reveal the true stories of the Texas cowpunchers, beginning with the Mexican vaqueros and their chile-based cuisine. Walsh gives overdue credit to the largely unsung black cowboys (one in four cowboys was black, and many of those were cooks), and we come to understand the unique ingredients and dishes they contributed to the tradition of cowboy cooking. Cowgirls also played a role, and there is even a chapter on Urban Cowboys, and an interview with the owner of Gilley’s, setting for the John Travolta-Debra Winger film.
When readers are ready to take the book from the couch to the kitchen, they are in for a mouthwatering variety of recipes that include campfire and chuckwagon favorites as well as the sophisticated creations of the New Cowboy Cuisine:
Meats and poultry: ancho chile pot roast, cinnamon-dusted quail, coffee-rubbed tenderloin, chicken-fried steak
Stews and one-pot meals: chili con carne and gumbo
Sides: skillet potatoes with chili powder, Texas onion rings with ranch dressing
Desserts and breads: Dutch oven rhubarb crisp, sourdough biscuits, old-fashioned preserves
Through historical sources, hundreds of evocative archival photos, and the words of the cowboys (and girls) themselves, this lively history is brought vividly to life.
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