This useful supplement to the social studies curriculum discusses the everyday life of cowboys who worked the cattle along five great north/south trails in the late 1800s, particularly food preparation and the chuckwagon cooking methods with a dutch oven over an open fire. Text, maps, drawings, and photographs illuminate the era. But the real advantage of the book is the nine recipes for typical (and starchy) foods presented in easy-to-follow directions, with modern ingredients and practices for cooking in a full-scale kitchen. Measurements are given in English and metric systems. Some recipes include two-day directions for sourdough biscuits, corn dodgers (fried mush), beef chili (no beans), refried beans, gingersnaps, and peach pie. A glossary is followed by six sources for learning more, places to write and visit, Internet sites, plus an index. All in all, a good addition to augment curriculum or introduce children to the era. Part of the "Exploring History through Simple Recipes" series. 2000, Blue Earth Books/Capstone Press, $22.60. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-If readers like their history served up on a plate, then this series is for them. Historical narrative is blended with recipes of the time, thus giving glimpses of the period while introducing traditional foods of hungry cowboys, frontier families, and intrepid explorers of the 1800s. An editor's note explains that, "Although based on historical foods, recipes have been modernized and simplified for today's young cooks." Lewis and Clark draws clear connections from history to food by utilizing passages from Lewis's account of the journey. Foods and preparations follow the expedition's travels through various regions and include meals that are indigenous to the countryside. The favorite will probably be Cowboy Cooking. Heavily illustrated with photographs and complete with recipes for standard fare including biscuits, beans, and beef, this book gives readers a real sense of life on the dusty trail. There's even a section on etiquette and the cowboy "sweet tooth." Oregon Trail, the weakest of the three, intersperses recipes and historical information less smoothly. Perhaps it's the quirks of layout, but the placement of a lemonade recipe opposing the page giving an overview of the ill-fated Donner Party seems incongruous. Still, all three titles are visual delights that include many photographs and period illustrations.-Leslie Millrod, Westhampton Free Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Gr. 3-7 "History" is more than a compilation of dates, battles, and events. Also important is how environment, values and state-of-being influenced people's lives. Cowboy cooking is one title from a new children's series exploring people's lives through their stomachs-What they ate and how their food was prepared. The book describes roundups and trail drives and their importance to Texas ranchers. Included is an overview of the chuck-wagon cook, whom cowboys respected, often playfully naming him "Cookie," "Dough Puncher" or "Biscuit Shooter." Biscuits were a mainstay during the ride, along with beans, chili, beef and gravy, and gingersnaps for dessert. The inclusion of recipes makes all the books in the series interesting to a wide age group. The books also feature a glossary of definitions and index. The volumes contain attractive illustrations and photographs, with concise and clearly worded text. Other books in the series include Oregon Trail, Civil Warand Colonial Cooking