Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sportsman's Wharehouse Cookoff Photos

I received some photos from a cookoff at the Provo, Utah, Sportsman's Warehouse store.

Nice, aren't they! Unlike many cookoff photos (including many of mine!), these photos were taken on a contrasting black tablecloth. And they have great color. Good job, Ed.

Here are some great images from the Sportsman's Warehouse Provo store cook off this year. A lot of Camp Chef goods were being used that day. It was cold,
but we had a good time! And lots of GREAT FOOD.


Ed Quinlan
Camp Chef

Monday, March 27, 2006

Southern California Chapter

Brenda Widish, director of the Southern California Chapter of IDOS, reminded me that I forgot to list the chapter in my blog of March 16. The article consists of a full-page photo spread on the Los Angeles International Sportsman's Expo that was help February 17-29, 2006.

I've corrected the March 16 blog.

I'm sure that the Southern California Chapter will represent IDOS at the 2007 ISE Show in Los Angeles. It runs Friday through Sunday, February 16-18, 2007 at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cookin' in the Park 2006

Don Mason has informed me that the Cookin' in the Park 2006 Dutch Oven Cookoff will be held in Red Bluff (California) River Park on Saturday, May 20, 2006.

He provided the details in Jpeg images. Let me know if you can't read them.

Bakin' Bill Johnson's Photographs

I talked to Bakin' Bill Johnson today. Bill, who's from Ogden, Utah, took photographs at the World Championship Dutch Oven Cookoff last weekend. He's sending me a CD with his pictures. I'll start posting photos as soon as I receive the CD next week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Deseret Morning News Article on the World Championship

Going Dutch: Idaho team wins World Champion Cook-Off

By Carma Wadley, Deseret Morning News

Allen Jones learned about Dutch-oven cooking years ago in Scouting, but it wasn't until his brother-in-law invited him to participate in a cook-off that he "got inspired" to seriously get into it.

Allen Jones, left, and Huey Hooks, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, prepare Lobster Stuffed Salmon, which won the grand prize. Huey Hooks recently moved to Idaho Falls from Texas and soon found "that everyone here was doing it. I thought it was something I should add on to my cooking experience." [more]

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

World Championship Dutch Oven Cookoff Photos

Here are photographs of the 2006 world champion Dutch oven cooks. The cookoff was help on Saturday, March 18, 2006 at the International Sportsman's Expo in Sandy, Utah.

Allen Jones and Huey Hooks prepare their signature dish

Lobster Stuffed Salmon en Papilata with Prawns

Basil and Asiago Bread Twist with Pine Nuts and Roasted Garlic Butter

Red, White & Blue Berry Shortcake

Photographs used with permission.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Real Reason Why There Are Too Few Cooks in the Kitchen

"Using your right hand, pick up a fork. Use the fork to beat two eggs in a small bowl until lightly mixed."

If Bonnie Slontnick's half-hearted prediction comes true, cookbook editors will soon replace the recipe instruction, "beat two eggs until lightly mixed," with this one.

Over the past two generations, cookbook editors like Slontick, have been "dumbing down" recipes with "simple instructions and lots of step-by-step illustrations." This is a response to a culinary illiteracy that grows with each succeeding generation.

The culprit is, according to a Washington Post article from today's Sacramento Bee ("Too Few Cooks in the Kitchen," by Candy Sagon), that no one is learning how to cook these days.

Mothers and home economics classes kept our nations culinary IQ at a high level for past generations. A lifetime of classes at Mom's culinary college with backing from the middle school home ec teacher, meant that students understood the subtle differences between terms like "simmer" and "braise."

Today, the top food manufacturers, like Kraft Foods and Pillsbury, avoid these terms because no one understands them.

Who's to blame? Working moms, says a Betty Crocker survey and culinary educators like Richard Ruben. Chef-instructor Ruben was named the 2003 “Cooking Teacher of the Year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

People are singing up for cooking classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City because culinary knowledge was not passed to the next generation, said Ruben in the article.

I agree. Despite the ever growing number of cooking programs on the Food Network, Discovery Channel and PBS, we've created a generation or two of culinary illiterates.

But I'm not ready to completely blame the educational system. Yes, home ec, along with scores of shop classes have been diluted in the past 25 years. Home ec is now just part of a jumbled syllabus in what's called "family and consumer education."

I'm from a generation of boys who recall the countless shop safety lectures by teachers in faded blue lab coats. Although I don't see myself as "mechanically inclined," I don't wear loose clothing around power tools. And I know the difference between a rip saw and a crosscut saw.

I would've enjoyed leaning to cook in high school. But those were the days when girls took cooking and sewing classes and boys rebuild Chevy 357 engines in auto shop.

I believe the problem lies with the family and our eating habits -- all driven by modern food technology. I can personally attest that it's more convenient to walk in the front door and pop frozen burritos into the microwave.

Few cook from scratch any longer. That includes homes, restaurants and the military services.

Why simmer pinto beans (“cook in a liquid that’s just hot enough that tiny buddles break the surface”) or braise a chuck roast (“to cook meat by searing in fat, then simmering in a covered dish in a small amount of moisture”) when frozen burritos heat up quickly without the mess.

Food shows are there primarily for entertainment value. Viewers love to watch Emeril "Bam" his way across the kitchen and talk to himself ("I said to myself, self!"). And have you ever noticed how many Food Network shows are sponsored by frozen convenience products?

The real reason for our culinary illiteracy? It because we don’t need to cook.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

World Championship Dutch Oven Cookoff

Allen Jones and Huey Hooks of Idaho took the title of Championship Dutch Oven Cooks at the cookoff yesterday. The cookoff is held annually at the International Sportsman's Expo at the

Allen and Huey's winning dishes:

Dessert: Red, White & Blue Berry Shortcake
Bread: Basil & Asiago Bread Twist with Pine Nuts & Roasted Garlic Butter
Main: Lobster Stuffed Salmon en Papilata with Prawns

Jay and Carol Fuller of Utah took second place with the following recipes:

Dessert: Heavenly Tropical Pie
Bread: Stromboli Pizza Bread
Main: Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

Third place winners are Ben and Debbie Auxier of Utah. Their dishes have not been posted to the IDOS website yet.

Additional information and photographs can be found of the front page to the International Dutch Oven Society website.

This is the first year that the reigning champions were openly encouraged to return to the cookoff and defend their title. In past years there was no restriction against champions competing in the cookoff again. The custom grew to the point where the champions didn't compete again. Most have not competed that I'm aware of.

The IDOS board changed that last year and offered the reigning champions an automatic place in the cookoff. The 2005 champions, Keith and Wendy Fisher of Utah, were the first returning champions to compete that I'm aware of.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

New Editorship for The Dispatcher

The most important news this month is that I've switched my focus to a local organization. Since August, the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation has occasionally filled these pages.

My friend Keith Berry, vice-president of the group, asked me to stop by the El Dorado County Historical Museum on a Saturday morning early last August. Keith and I did odd jobs around EDWRF's flagship, the 1907 Shay locomotive that once hauled lumber for the Diamond & Caldor Railway in Diamond Springs, California. The Shay was the D&C road No. 4.

Around November, railway president Eric Stohl asked me to be the group's membership chairman. The Foundation had just amended the bylaws to include an associate membership program.

Previously, you were either on the board of directors, a volunteer or both. No one tracked any kind of membership other than a name and phone number. You just "joined" the group and went to work.

I've since relinquished membership duties. A woman who tracks membership for the El Dorado County Historical Foundation has assumed the clerical duties. And Eric took the rest of my duties.

The Dispatcher newsletter
At the January board meeting, we were discussing how to get the Foundation's newsletter, The Dispatcher, which had languished over the past year, up and running again. I volunteered to take over the editorship of the newsletter.

Since I was committed to one more issue of the Dutch Oven News, I told the president that couldn't do any work on it until March. Eric and I decided the we could get my first issue to press my the end of the month.

Now that I've completed my work with the Dutch Oven News, it's time to get The Dispatcher on the road.

Last week I was busy designing a fresh template for the newsletter. The best way to describe its look is to say that its clean lines and consistent appearance will be a testament to the uncomplicated nature of the Diamond & Caldor.

Like most Sierra Nevada logging lines, the D&C functioned with little fanfare. The dispatcher often issued verbal train orders. And I've never seen any evidence in the photographic record that the line had any signals.

We've planned a 6- to 8-page newsletter that will be printed report style for now. Ultimately, I'd like to move to 11- by 17-inch folded paper, which will limit us to page multiples of four.

My first issue will feature a review of George Turner's reprinted Narrow Gauge Nostalgia (it was reprinted as California High Country Narrow Gauge Railroads in 2001) by Ron Callahan, media chairman for the railway.

Today, I found several historic photos of the line, including an early picture of the D&C No. 1 Baldwin saddle-tank rod engine. I plan each issue to locate and publish two or three previously unpublished (or rarely published--the Baldwin in posted to the website) photos in the newsletter.

If you're interested in the newsletter and the work of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation, you can join for as little as $35 per year for an individual. Family membership costs $60, corporate $100 and life membership is $500 for individual or family and $1,000 for a business.

Send a ckeck or money order to:

P.O. Box 3517
Diamons Springs, CA 95619

World Championship Dutch Oven Photos

Photos from the first two days of the World Champoinship Dutch Oven Cookoff are posted on the International Dutch Oven Society website.

This year, for the first time, Thursday and Friday are devoted to runoffs. The top teams from from each day move onto the finals that are being held later today.

Here are the photo pages:

Day one photos

Day two photos

The following teams have advanced to the finals:

Team #1 Keith & Wendy Fisher (Returning champions)
Team #4 Debbie & Mindy Hair
Team #5 Dannie & Patsy Phillips
Team #7 Ben & Debbie Auxier
Team #8 Bill & Toni Thayn
Team #10 Katrina Wylie & Maline Robison
Team #11 Cindy & Aimee Overton
Team #12 Kent & Nancy Pappleye
Team #13 Allen Jones & Huey Hooks
Team #14 Jay & Carol Fuller
Team #15 Curtis Wall & Dennis Baker
Team #16 Wil & Jen Ward
Team #17 Mark Brown & Bill Treadway

Friday, March 17, 2006

Team Korea Repeats Top Honor at 31st Annual U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition

FORT LEE, Va. - Soldier-chefs from Team Korea pulled off the repeat as they claimed the Installation of the Year title for the second straight year during the 31st Annual U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition.

Team Korea and winners in other categories were recognized at an awards ceremony held today concluding the two-week long competition.

“We really were not sure if we were going to win again this year,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Travis Smith, team manager. “It was a really close competition right up until the last day when we won the student team skills competition. Our team really worked well together.”

Fort Bragg placed second followed by Team USAREUR (US Army Europe) finishing third in the Installation of the Year competition.

Winners in the other major competition categories were:
Senior Army Chef of the Year: Spec. Jeffery Lagyak, Fort Bliss, TX
Junior Army Chef of the Year: Cpl. Randy Agno, Team Hawaii
Field Cooking Competition: 1st - Fort Riley, KS; 2nd - Fort Bragg, NC; 3rd - Team USAREUR
Student Team Skills Competition: Team Korea

Winners in special categories were:
Best Exhibit Cold Food Buffet: Sgt. Jason Pratt, Team Korea
Best Exhibit Hot Food Shown Cold: Staff Sgt. Bernard Book, Team Korea
Best Exhibit in Pastry and Confection: Spec. Alicia Hight, Team USAREUR
Best Exhibit in Culinary Showpiece: Spec. Jowanna Carroll, Team USAREUR
Special Judges Award Most Artistic Centerpiece: Spec. Carmen Rosario, Fort Bragg
Best Team Table Exhibit: Team USAREUR
Highest Score in Contemporary Cooking: Sgt. Joshua Speiss, Fort McNair
Highest Score in Contemporary Pastry: Spec. Joanna Carrol, Team USAREUR
Best Two Member Team, Nutritional Hot Food Challenge: Team Hawaii
Baron H. Garland Culinary Knowledge Bowl: Team Korea
Best Centerpiece in Ice: Sgt. First Class David Russ, Fort Bragg

Fort Lee is the host for the most prestigious culinary competition in the military. The competitors are Soldiers first and culinary artists second with many of this year’s competitors serving in combat operations overseas.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Spring 2006 Issue of IDOS Newsletter Ready for Printers

I finished my last issue of the International Dutch Oven Society's Dutch Oven News last week. The president has it and it should be off to the printers very soon.

Members should start seeing their copies of the newsletter around mid-April, just in time for the IDOS spring convention in Farmington, Utah. East and west coast members won't receive their copies until the end of April (or later).

Bulk mail is fickle and slow. Those who live close to Ogden, Utah, usually receive their copy first. I've received mine in Northern California as late as a month and a half after its posting.

The spring issue is back up to 24 pages after the dismal showing of 12 pages for the winter issue. IDOS really needs all of the chapters to send in quarterly reports. I encourage all chapter directors to send a 150 to 200 word report to the new editor as soon as he/she is announced.

Here's what's inside the spring issue:
  • Pair honored with private tour of Lodge plant
  • Clyde Miller's last column as president -- the election for society and regional officers
  • president, vice-president, treasurer and 6 regional directors) is underway
  • Pilaf is ideal camp food
  • Mississippi's Kast Iron Kookers practice art of Dutch oven cooking, a re-printed article from Today in Mississippi
  • Rust removal using electrolysis
  • Chapter reports from Florida, Mississippi and Southern California
  • The Outlaw Gourmet by Ron Clanton
At this point, I don't know who the editor will be. In IDOS, the newsletter editor is appointed by the president. It will be up to the new president. That will likely be Randy Macari of Utah since he's the only candidate.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Weather Report

A white weekend! There's no other way to describe the weather events of last weekend.

A cold front blanketed Western El Dorado County Friday and Saturday nights, down to 1,000 feet elevation and lower.

It was a welcomed change from the warm rains so typical to the lower foothills to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

County snow plows worked Missouri Flat and Pleasant Valley roads in the hours leading up to noon.

The last heavy snows in Diamond Springs fell on March 17, 2002. That's the date stamp on the photograph on the wall in the Diamond Barber Shop -- the one in the Diamond's original one-room school house.

Further east, Eric Stohl, president of El Dorado Western Rail Foundation reported, "I have 2 feet of snow on my back deck. I use it as a gauge because it is the least disturbed."

A white commute
But the afternoon commute up the hill was the most entertaining.

Sometime between 4:30 and 5 p.m., at least two thunder cells moved up U.S. 50 and hammered Cameron Park, Placerville, and Diamond Springs with fingernail-sized hail.

The bus driver's radio gave us our first indication that our homes were being pounded with ice.

Earlier, the National Weather Service had issued a sever thunder storm warning for San Joaquin and El Dorado counties, according to

"It was like driving through an ice dispenser," reported one El Dorado Transit driver over the radio.

Sacramento commuter no. 4 approached 65th Street and U.S. 50 when we heard the broadcasts.

The dispatcher cautioned all drivers. Proceed with care. Pull over if conditions warrant, she warned.

The next 20 minutes were uneventful, although I suspect cell phone traffic peaked as we headed east.

As we approached the East Bidwell exit, all four lanes of traffic were backed up to the base of Carpenter Hill. The diamond lane didn't help the driver.

We received our first indication of the severity of the storm came as the bus headed up the Bass Lake grade. I glanced down the hill in the direction of Clarksville Road.

A sport utility vehicle resting a ditch that drains into Carson Creek. Apparently, four-wheel drive didn't help the driver as he spun off the road.

At the top of the hill, the driver took the initiative and exited the highway at Bass Lake Road and drove east on Country Club Road to our first stop.

As we turned onto Merrychase Drive, which parallels the highway, the whole area was blanketed with two to three inches of hail and ice.
Back on U.S. 50, I saw two CalTrans plows cleaning the shoulder, a rare event for Cameron Park

The interesting thing about this storm was the indiscriminate manner in which the thunder cell hit one community and skipped the next.

Cameron Park was hammered. But I didn't see any evidence that Shingle Springs received more than a light dusting of hail.

Further east, the bus trailed a CalTrans plow as it approached El Dorado Road. Again, the area between the El Dorado and Missouri Flat roads was covered in a thick blanket of ice -- three inches in places.

The drive home, south on Missouri Flat, gave an indication of how wide a swath the storm cut. The heaviest hail fell near the highway. Pleasant Valley Road, about two miles south of the freeway, had a half-inch.

Interestingly, none of the local media (as of the time I posted this blog) have posted stories about the storm to their respective websites. They, instead focused on funnel clouds at Camp Far West and hail in San Joaquin County.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Couple Busy Months

January and February were busy months for me. Writing a grant for the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation started the process in early January. February and early March were dedicated to editing my last issue of the International Dutch Oven Society's Dutch Oven News.

The event that had the greatest impact on me is is a new job. After 12 years at the same desk, I've changed careers. I've worked in large institutional kitchens for the most of the past 35 years. I now evaluate the budget for a large government program.

On February 1, I boarded the commuter bus for the first time in 20 years and headed to downtown Sacramento. I've had long commutes before. But this is the first time since my college days that I'm able to relax during the commute.

Working on the grant application for the California Cultural and Historic Endowment. I'm in the research room of the El Dorado County Historical Museum.

The bus gives me plenty of time to read, write and sleep. Reclining seats with headrests allow for plenty of relaxation. I use the time to search the scriptures, read railroad books and design a newsletter for the railroad.

Long hours on the road leave little time for cooking. For the first few weeks in February, I left home before sunrise. And the sun set long before six. Most home meals are simple and we've been eating out too much -- it's just too hard on the pocket book!

Grant writing -- a new adventure
Last January, I wrote a grant to fund with the president and vice-president of the railroad. Our goal is to acquire funding to bring the boiler of the Diamond & Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive up to federal standards. We dedicated some 75 hours to the project.

Now that tourist railroads fall under the watchful eye of the Federal Railroad Administration, we must recertify the boiler -- this time to a higher standard than those of California. Our 1997 certificate to operate the boiler (a "pressure vessel unit") doesn't meet federal standards.

There's still time for cooking. Only now the venue has changed to the engine house.

Our hope is that the grant will supply critical funding to acquire the certificate. Skilled volunteers will perform most of the in-kind work. We'll use the dollars to purchase services and supplies that the Foundation can't provide.

With any grant, you must find the balance between writing to your audience -- those who read the applications and give the thumbs up or down -- and describing our needs. We were pleased to read that round-one grants from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment were awarded to 33 California orgnaiztions. Among them: the Bay Area Electric Railroad railroad and five museums.

Now comes the waiting game. We won't hear if we made the first cut until this spring. And the final decision won't be published until this summer. More to come.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Don Mason's Dutch Oven Newsletter

Here's the latest issue of Don Mason's Dutch Oven Newsletter from Northern California. Email Don at to receive an electronic copy.