Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cee Dub’s Latest Venture: Cowboy Cooking at It’s Finest

How many like Western cooking? For many, like me, who've never spend any measurable time tending cattle on a Western ranch, Ranch food brings the "Yee haw!" out of us.

Ranch food stirs images of campfires and Dutch ovens lined up over a long cookfire. You get a vision of cookie laboring under the noonday sun behind a rustic chuckwagon. Chicken fried steaks, scratch biscuits and Amy Tanner's apple crunch are dishes you expect on the range.

C.W. "Butch" Welch has captured the essence of Western ranch cuisine in Retro Ranch: A Roundup of Classic Cowboy Cookin', published this spring by Collectors Press of Portland, Oregon Cee Dub explains the emphasis of Retro Ranch: "The cuisine, if it could be called that, leans toward the simple side."

Simple? Yes. A quick scan of the horizon reveals many recipes in Retro Ranch use 10 or less ingredients and need about an hour to cook.

Simple it may be simple, cowboy cuisine harkens back to a simpler time. The fare in Retro Ranch doesn't mean the food that lacks flavor or character. This is the kind of food IDOS hands love to eat. It's plain, rich and full of flavor. Retro Ranch recipes are classic comfort food.

As the cookbook title implies, Retro Ranch food is food from our past. Retro Ranch has the look and feel of a 1950s cookbook with its grainy photographs and drawings. These are the same enhanced images we saw in cookbooks and magazines of the era.

If you read Life or Look or remember the recipes and photographs in cookbooks like Fanny Farmer from the 1950s, you'll love Retro Ranch.

These recipes are at home on the range with the beginning Dutch oven cook. Prepared in camp or in your suburban ranch kitchen, Retro Ranch vittles will please the pallet today just as they did 50 years ago.

I say run to the general store today and pick up a copy of Retro Ranch. Copies of the cookbook, packed with recipes from a bygone era, are available for purchase at for $16.95 plus shipping and handling. You can also order by calling Cee Dubs Dutch Oven and Camp Supplies at (208) 983-7937.

"We don't need to pore through historical accounts of that era ... to learn more about cowboy cooking." Cee Dub's right. Just get Retro Ranch and you'll soon enjoy the "tantalizing odors of simmering briskets, cowboy beans and peach cobblers plus the subtle smell of camp coffee ...."

This reveiw was originally published in the Summer 2005 issue of the Dutch Oven News.

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