The Meal Makes The Cowboy

Lots of people love dressing like cowboys and cowgirls, but if you want to cook and eat like one there’s one ingredient that’s essential. You may not find it among the top choices at your local rodeo or country music fair, but if you’re out working on the ranch or riding on the plains, it will deliver the hearty nourishment you’re looking for: a pot of pinto beans. Whether you want to serve them up with some bacon or corn bread, pinto beans are a  staple of breakfast, lunch, and dinner for folks who grew up enjoying many cowboy traditions.

Pinto Beans and Bacon: The Quintessential Cowboy Meal | The New York Times

 pinto beansImage Source: The New York Times

“Now, decades later, when I conjure the image of the quintessential spartan cowboy meal, whether breakfast or dinner, there’s a big pot of pinto beans at the center. Not fancy and not spicy. Plain, brothy and eaten from a tin pie plate. There’s cowboy coffee — loose grounds simmered in a giant coffee pot (you throw in an egg shell for some reason). With luck, there’s cornbread from a carefully tended Dutch oven. Dessert is a can of peaches. Somehow, though, everything cooked on a mountain in a beat-up pot over a fire made from scavenged wood tastes better.”

Do you enjoy eating the traditional hearty foods of the western frontier? Many of them have been enjoyed by hardworking cowboys throughout their history. Besides classics like beans and bacon, what are some of your favorite simple frontier foods? Tell us in the comments.