Thursday, December 31, 2009

Culinary photographer

Although I snapped thousands of photographs during my naval career, I don't recall ever taking one of an admiral saluting side boys during a change of command ceremony.

SAN DIEGO (Dec. 18, 2009) -- Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier, vice commander of Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Command, renders a salute to the side boys at the change of command ceremony for Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21.

U.S. Navy photo by Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Kelly.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New job

Postings on 'Round the Chuckbox have been a bit dry over the past few months. After being unemployed for two months, I landed a cook's position in one of the local casinos in early October.

From the beginning, I knew that the casino was the wrong place to jumpstart a post-retirement career. With the physical demands of the job, low pay and work hours (swing shift with Wednesdays and Thursdays off), my search for the ideal retirement job didn't end there.

A particularly crazy weekend in the buffet last month sent me back to Craigslist.

Just when I was considering returning to budget work, I answered an ad for a chef's position in a Sacramento residential facility. I gave notice two weeks ago and worked my last shift last night at the casino.

After working in the buffet for 10 weeks, I started my new job this morning. Saturday night each of the casino's chefs -- from the executive chef to the three sous chefs on duty -- asked what day would be last. One-by-one, I said Sunday.

After the last chef asked the question late into the shift, I realized that I could've closed out my employment with the casino Saturday night. The tactic would've given me a day to rest before joining the Sacramento commute.

Of course, it would've been dishonest on my part. I made a commitment to the casino to work through Sunday in my resignation letter -- one which I honored.

My last shift in the casino went well. We were slammed all night, which is typical for a Sunday night. The crowds didn't break until around 8:15 p.m.

With normal hours (8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), I should have more to say on 'Round the Chuckbox. Expect more culinary commentary and recipes soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Merry Christmas From Cee Dub, Pen & Al

Howdy from our camp to yours,

No, we haven't dropped off the edge of the earth, but we did drop into the Sabinal River Canyon near Utopia, Texas.

The last two years have been a real challenge for everyone, Cee Dub's included. The impact of the changing economy impacted us in ways we did not envision when we started Cee Dub's over ten years ago.

Last winter we realized that after ten years of being in business for ourselves, we needed to re-enter the work force in order to keep things afloat. Anyone who is looking for work whose hair is more salt than pepper knows the apprehension of doing resumes and getting ready for a job interview.

We were very blessed to find the perfect place for our combined skill sets after answering just one "Help Wanted" ad. We truly enjoy what we are doing.

We now work year around at a Texas Hill Country ranch that is a seasonal camp for kids ages 7-16 years of age. We plant a large garden in the spring, along with lots of flowers.

During the summer camp season, we teach 40+ hours of "Outdoor Cooking" each week along with cooking for campouts, doing "food preservation" demonstrations with things grown in the camp garden, and making sure the campers leave here with practical knowledge that will last them a lifetime.

The rest of the year is much slower paced and spent doing landscape work, growing a winter garden, farming food plots, shipping orders from the camp store, and getting ready for the next camp season.

By any measure, times were much tougher when Dutch oven cookin' was an everyday matter versus today when many of us do it for fun, recreation, or just as a change of pace. The moral of the story for those of us who love our Dutch ovens is this. Because our DO's are "timeless" ... by holding on to them we continue to use our past to make the future better, a lesson we try to impart to our campers.

If you would like a closer look at where we are, you can visit the website at

Anyway ... sorry for the long greeting, but we wanted to get caught up with all of you, our friends and customers, with our changes and what has been going on in our lives.

Price Roll Backs, Christmas Specials, Good Through December 2009
Store closures and consolidation within the sporting goods market have made finding some items more difficult. Here are a few items that are available for new or experienced Dutch oven cooks.

Lid Lifter and Glove Combo - $26.95. Cee Dub’s is offering this combo now for the current price, but we are raising the price January 1, 2010 to $29.95.

Add a set of 16 inch tongs for an additional $10.00, a savings of $2.95.

We are lowering the price of Cee Dub’s latest cookbook, Gather 'Round the Table, 10%, from $19.95 to $17.95. ( copy is not discounted.)

And, the two DVD set, Series I, with Cookbooklet, is $49.95, a savings of $20.00.

Combining a Dutch oven with the tools, a DVD, and one of Cee Dub’s cookbooks can get a beginning DO cook stocked up with all the essentials to get started.

Also, we’re offering the following Dutch oven specials:

Camp Chef 12 inch Classic Pre-seasoned DO discounted from $44.95 to $39.95, a savings of $5, a great price for a great oven.

NEW! Camp Chef is now offering a cast aluminum 12 inch Dutch oven which Cee Dub’s is introducing at the GREAT PRICE of only $79.95 through December 31, 2009.

Firepans are ALWAYS a great gift for Dutch oven and outdoor cooks. RV’ers also find firepans useful additions as well. We've rolled back the prices a few years to the following:

Large Firepan - $209.95, a savings of $35!
Small Firepan - $199.95, a savings of $25!

So take advantage of these special low prices now for the holidays! They won't last long!

Click Here For Cee Dub's Christmas & Year End Specials

With both of us going back to work full time, we've cut back the number of both our appearances and our clinics. Typically we announce the coming year's Dutch oven cooking clinics in our Christmas newsletter.

Time limitations have forced us to cut our winter tour down to just four appearances in the Northwest January-March 2010. We hope to offer a couple of spring 2010 clinics here in Texas. When we confirm the dates and details, we'll post them on the website and send out another newsletter.

Were it not for you, our friends and customers, we would have much less to say thanks for as this year winds down. We wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and may 2010 Be Your Best Year Ever!

Take Care,

Cee Dub, Pen & Al

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Camp Cookoff

Try the Colusa (California) Winter Camp Cookoff is you're looking for a challenging experience. Fog, rain and a nasty crosswind all promise to make cooking in a Dutch oven a trying experience.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Search for the best

I served in the general mess at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California in 1971-72 when it was a runner-up for the Ney Award.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Dec. 8, 2009) -- Master Chief Culinary Specialist Michael Carter, an inspector for the Capt. Edward F. Ney Award for Food Service Excellence, speaks to culinary specialists aboard U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Blue Ridge is a finalist for the award in the large afloat ship category.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cynthia Griggs.