Sunday, October 14, 2012

Come and Git It!!

Come and Git It!

Or at least that's how we perceive the Chuckwagon Boss calling the cowboys to dinner. His voice ringing out against the clank of a "dinner" triangle…. Is that how it happened??
While some form of the kitchens in wagons had existed for generations, the term chuckwagon or chuck wagon is credited to Charles Goodnight, a rancher from Texas who introduced the concept in 1866. He modified a Studebaker wagon, an army supply wagon, to suit the needs of cowboys driving cattle from Texas to sell in New Mexico. He added a "chuck box" to the back of the wagon with drawers and shelves for storage space and a hinged lid to provide a flat cooking surface. He then attached a water barrel to the wagon and canvas hung underneath to carry firewood.
Chuckwagon food typically included none-spoiling or easy to keep items like beans, salted/ cured meats, coffee, and ingredients to make biscuits. Food would also be gathered as they traveled.  On the cattle drives, it was common for the cook ,"cookie",  to run the wagon and to be second in command -- only to the trailboss. The cookie would often act as cook, barber, dentist, and banker.
The term chuck wagon comes from "chuck", a slang term for food.
Here is a really fun link that tells what kind of supplies a family headed West might pack for their cooking on the trail. It's a very interesting site J

Monday, October 8, 2012

Change of Times, Change of Tastes

It’s funny how things change within a lifetime.  No, I’m not talking about my hair color.  Although, my hair colorist does amazing work and I keep her quite busy.  No, what I’m referring to is how I once found certain things important, I no longer value; or what I originally believed to be boring, I actually find exciting.  Sound familiar?  So, I guess it’s more accurate to say my perception of things change over time.
Well, let me start with the example of seasons.  I remember how I loved the summer time.  It was my favorite season of the year.  When I thought about it, I realized my infatuation with summer came from school being out of session.  Now, my favorite season is most definitely, fall.  I despise the heat and humidity from the summer time.  I love the leaves changing colors during the fall season.  Watching football is a plus as well. But the thing I love most about the fall…cooler weather.  I much rather wear layers of clothes and have the luxury of taking something off or putting it back on in case I get too hot or too cold.  When it’s the summer time, you’re pretty much stuck with taking clothes off to a certain point unless you want to get arrested. If you’re a nudist, I guess taking more clothes off isn't a concern for you; however, I am not a nudist and don’t plan to be either.  With that being said, I really don’t want to spend my summer vacation in a nasty jail cell with other hot, sweaty people because I over heated and stripped down.  No, not happening and I’m sure you all are silently thanking me as well. 
Anyway, what I’m trying to convey is how our likes and dislikes change over time.  Our reading tastes may change along with other things in our lives, too.   At one time, inspirational stories bored me to tears.  Yet now, they offer encouragement when I need it most. 

When I was a child, I loved reading Dr. Seuss and Nancy Drew.  As I grew up, my love my books and reading matured along with my reading material.

When I was a young teenager, I remember reading the young teenage romances from Sweet Dreams and First Love from Silhouette lines. I believe those were my first dose of romance.  Later on, I learned to appreciate the classics such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘The Scarlet Letter’, and ‘Dracula’.

During my late teen years and early twenties, I focused more on my social life than any recreational reading.  Sadly, the only time placed on reading was within the academic field.  I put aside any reading for fun and relaxation for almost five years.  Then one day, I picked up Susan Johnson’s, ‘Golden Paradise’.  It sparked a deep desire within me for romance again. 

Now, it seems I read depending on my mood as well as my taste.  For example: During this time of the year, with the cooler weather and earlier sun set, I love reading fantasy, paranormal, and epic tales more than other stories.  When I read stories such as ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Harry Potter’, and ‘Black Dagger Brotherhood Series’, they definitely set the stage for me on a dreary fall’s day.

As the time gets closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, I tend to reach more for holiday ‘feel good’ romances or general fiction.  One of my favorites is John Grisham’s ‘Skipping Christmas’.  Each time I read it I double over from laughing so hard.  Another favorite is Charles Dickens, ‘A Christmas Carol’.

I mentioned earlier about Dr. Seuss and Nancy Drew.  Although they were childhood favorites, at times when I am feeling nostalgic I find myself going back in my collection to read one of those.  That’s one of my favorite aspects about books.  No matter when or where I’ve read it, I have the opportunity to enjoy the story repeatedly if I so desire. 

So how has your reading tastes changed over the years?  Does your mood determine your reading choices?  I love to hear if and when your taste in book genres change.