Old West Cooking Dictionary

Old West Cooking Dictionary

Airtights: All Canned goods.

Bear Sign: Similar to the modern donut.

Calf Fries: Branding time.

Canned Cowboy: Canned milk; real milk was hard to get.

Charlie Taylor: A butter sustitute of sorghum and bacon grease.

Chip Wagon: A wagon dedicated to carrying campfire “prairie coal.” (dried cow manure).

Chuck: Range cowboy’s word for any food.

Chuck Wagon Chicken: Bacon, also called "Kansas City fish."

Cooney: Hammock stretched under a chuck wagon, also “possum belly.”

Cow grease: Real butter.

Dough Keg: The wooden barrel containing the sourdough starter.

Eatin’ Irons: Utensils: fork, spoon and knife.

Feed Bag: Ranch eating place; also “mess house”; or “nose bag.”

Firkin: The sourdough container on a chuck wagon, also “dough keg.”

Greasy Sack Outfit: Not using a chuck wagon but packouts on mules.

Grubpile: A call from the cook to “come ‘n’ get it.”

Gut Robber: The cook, also “bean master” or “bicuit roller.”

Hog Side: Salt pork used in cooking and some baking, also “Old Ned.”

Lick: Molasses, also called “blackstrap” or “larrup.”

Mountain Oysters: Calf testes roasted as a between-meal snack.

Music Roots: Sweet potatoes with a pronounced gaseous effect.

Overland Trout: Pigs and hogs, sometimes bacon.

Possum Belly: A hammock streched below the chuck wagon for cargo.

Pairie Coal: Cow or buffalo manure, dried and used in campfires.

Prairie Strawberries: Red beans, also called "Arizona Strawberries."

Sea Plums: Oysters (canned).

Skunk Egg: An onion.

Soft Grub: Hotel or diner food.

Squirrel Can: Large can used for after-meal scraps.

Suckeyes: Pancakes.

Swamp Seed: Rice.

Texas Butter: A butter substitute of hot lard, flour, and water.

Wool on a Handle: A lamb chop, generally despised by cattlemen.

Wreck Pans: Pans filled with water to accept dirty dishes.

From: The Old West Baking Book by Lon Walters, 1996


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