Last month I asked Lesley Kershaw Tennessen of McHenry, Ill., to write a guest blog on her experience at Kent Rollin's Chuck Wagon Cooking School. She attended the course last spring. My request couldn't have come at a better time as Kent released a new video on the school. While Lesley isn't shown in this video (it features the October 2011 class), it gives a more detailed view of the school. My first two articles on the school are posted here and here.
Here's Lesley's report:
Way back when, a few years ago, I'd heard about going to a chuckwagon school. The thought intrigued me, more and more as time when on. The more I became involved in Dutch oven cooking and of course, teaching about Dutch oven, the more the idea surfaced in my thoughts.
So, round about fall 2010, I took the plunge. I'd met some gals while teaching at a local Women In the Outdoors event and became friends. One of the gals is a go-getter, never leave life behind type of person! When I told her about this opportunity, it was a 'heck yes!' type of response. So we signed up. That was early in December. Counted the days. Looked online, dreamed of getting there.
What did I want to learn? Mesquite cooking like Kent teaches. More about rustic Dutch oven cooking. Meeting new friends. Returning to Texas! Even though I am a tent camper, sleeping in a teepee is not usually how I camp! So that was new. Enjoyable.
What did I find out? I found that cooking with mesquite is like cooking in nucleator! LOL. Really hot wood compared to northern hardwood. And I found that cooking in Kent's kitchen with Ole Bertha keeps you really warm!
I loved learning about sourdough. It's about all I use now for biscuits. I learned cooking with trivets on the ground. I usually use a table and mostly off ground. And best of all, living outdoors in the Texas sun for a few days in late March feels really good.
Cooking in Kent's Chuckwagon School teaches you about yourself and how to adapt to old time ways and simpler things. And it's about having fun while working hard! I'll do this again and not soon enough!
YouTube video description (posted October 31, 2011): Each spring and fall, Kent holds his Dutch oven cooking camp. Students come from all over to experience the old cowboy way of life and to cook from Kent's 1876 Studebaker chuck wagon."
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