30. September 2008 10:03
I thought this was interesting and I thought I would share it with you! Chuck Wagons came into being around the end of the Cival War! Cowboys were hungry and Railheads were scarce...it would take several months to get the cows to the closest railhead. The Chuck wagon cooks had the most difficult job on the cattle drive. They were expected to cook 2 meals each day...Breakfast and Supper. Breakfast had to be ready before sun up...so the cooks had to get up early to prepare the fixins...no crack'in open a can of biscuts on this deal! After Breakfast was served everything had to be washed and put back in the chuck box (a heavy, upright wooden box attached to the back of the wagon where staples and cooking utensils were stored). The door of the chuck box folded down to provide a large work space for the cook. The chuckwagon cooks would clean and pack the breakfast away and head on down the trail to set up a camp for Supper. The cooks would unpack the wagon and begin cooking the evening meal. When sunset came around so did the cattle herd and the hungry cowboys and they settled in to campfire cooking and sleeping on the trail. After Supper everything was cleaned and stored so the cooks could settle in for a few hours sleep, then up again before sunrise to cook breakfast. Although the heyday of cattle drives lasted only a few years, the legacy of chuck wagon cooking lives on in chuck wagon cook offs held across the nation.