Favorite Food in The West

Cowboys’ Favorite Food in The West

Life in the west before the 19th century was not as straightforward as is today. When Cowboys were out in the wild, they had simple portable meals to rely on for survival in the harsh conditions of the land. They also relied on hunting to get a rare meal of fresh meat. They didn’t have cooking equipment such as air fryers to cook their meals and so they relied on simple methods like roasting using wood. The Cowboys also had some favorite meals that they preferred to pack before venturing into the wild west. Let’s get to know Cowboys’ favorite food.

Dried and Fresh Meat

Cowboys really liked meat. It provided them with proteins and energy that were necessary for the hard work they were doing in the wild. Dried meat was light to reduce weight luggage and avoid early spoilage to make sure it lasted for the period the cowboy would be away. The dried meat was either eaten straight or boiled to make a broth.

Fresh meat made a very small percentage of the Cowboys’ diet. However, once in a while, the Cowboys hunted, buffalos, fowls, elks, and deer to supplement their diet. The meat was either cooked into soup, stew or mixed with chili beans.

Hard Cheese

Hard cheese was a common ration among most Cowboys if not all. It was dried and dipped in wax paraffin to ensure it lasted for several months without spoiling. Hard cheese provided Cowboys with protein, fat calcium and salt. It was mostly cooked with chili beans or with biscuits, although when rations ran low, it could be eaten raw.

Beans

Ready-cook beans were the most common rations among Cowboys. They were the main source of proteins for the Cowboys. The diet was either made of chili beans, mashed beans or bean soup. They were cooked overnight using a Dutch oven since modern equipment like air fryers were not available by then and the beans would be part of several meals for the Cowboys during the trails.

Biscuits

Basic biscuits were baked in such a way that they were edible for a long time. They were made with a mixture of flour, salt, and water and then baked at low temperatures for a long period of time. This made sure the biscuits became brittle, hard, and dry enough to last long. Cowboys either ate them directly, ate them as mush or cooked them in a dumpling-like stew.

Cowboy Coffee Buzz

This was a luxury for Cowboys during the long trails. However, it was a necessary luxury. Coffee buzz kept Cowboys alert enough to sense any danger to them or the cattle. The west was full of many dangers, and an alert mind was important for survival. The beverage also kept Cowboys warm during the winters and the cold nights.

These meals were simple, but they kept the Cowboys going. A Cowboy would survive on rations for more than two months without replenishing. As long they had some or all of the above meals, Cowboys were good to go.


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The Old West History Net is a historical course that attracts a wide range of visitors including students, history enthusiasts, travelers, and wild west admirers.