29 January 2010

Back in the Saddle - Let's Talk About Cowboy Coffee

I have been remiss in my posts and need to get back in the saddle. My somewhat lengthy stay in California and getting back into the swing of things at work took me away from what I really love doing  and that's working from the back of the chuck wagon.

So, since this is a new year, uh-oh - just looked at the calendar and it's the end of January already, I want to start out fresh and fresh starts always calls for a good cup of coffee. That's what I'll ramble on about today. But, before I get into the details I've decided to form a new society - THE C. C. D SOCIETY or The Cowboy Coffee Drinkers Society or CCDS (I just thought this up so I'll make up the rules as I go). Since the real recipe for Cowboy Coffee, herein referred to as C.C, has been a closely guarded secret one of the objectives of the CCDS will be to spread the C.C word and provide it to the world. So here goes:

Throw 4 pounds of coffee into one gallon of water. Put the can or pot on an open fire. Ah rule time. If it an't on an open fire, it ain't C.C! Stir violently with a stick until the grounds are wet. Bring the mixture to a boil.  You will know it's done after the coffee sinks to the bottom and when you throw in a horseshoe or length of lead pipe and it floats. If it sinks, it's not C.C. Being to weak, it is relegated to class of tin-horn, wanabe C. C. coffee.

OK, OK, rule time again. Those bona fide and installed members of the CCDS are hereby authorized to modify the official CCDS recipe with the stipulation that they provide the alternate recipe for publication.

Now that the current membership has voted on the rule changes (I polled myself as I am the only member at this time) I am posting this modified recipe.

Throw a large handful of coffee into a 140 year old graniteware coffee pot, hanging from fire irons over an open fire, and 1 gallon of water. Boil. Move over lower heat coals. Pour a couple spoonfuls of cold water down the spout. This will help the grounds sink to the bottom of the pot.  Rule time yet again. First man at the pot is obligated to serve others waiting on a cup. Any CCDS member around the campfire may, in a loud voice, proclaim, "MAN AT THE POT". The man at the pot is also obligated to serve others waiting on a cup.

Additional CCDS rules ideas:
1. Every member is President
2. The President can call for a vote on any matter, at any time.
3. A quorum will consist of any odd number of members present - 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. The odd number being specified so as to prevent a tie and any tussles that might happen around the camp. I hate it when I have to pull out the ol' hog-leg to settle arguments.

So it begins. Let's see how the membership grows.

As far as I can tell one of the most popular brands of coffee during the time of the great cattle drives was Arbuckles'.

In 1865, John Arbuckle and his brother Charles, partners in a Pittsburgh grocery business, changed all this by patenting a process for roasting and coating coffee beans with an egg and sugar glaze to seal in the flavor and aroma. Prior to this, coosies had to roast green coffee beans themselves. Marketed under the name ARBUCKLES' ARIOSA COFFEE, in patented, airtight, one pound packages, the new coffee was an instant success with chuck wagon cooks in the west faced with the task of keeping Cowboys supplied with plenty of hot coffee out on the range (from http://www.arbucklecoffee.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ACR&Category_Code=AL).

What was interesting about Arbuckles' is that they packaged the roasted beans with a coupon for future merchandise purchases but the really neat part is that each one-pound package came with a stick of peppermint. Didn't have any problems finding a cowboy to help grind the beans.

Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht-vD7a_7To
OK, CCDS business: I move that the song, "Arbuckles' Coffee in an ol' Tin Can" be made the official song of CCDS. Do I hear a second? I second. any discussion? Nope. There being no objections, the motion passes. 

More later,

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