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Sand and Sage Fair Features Dutch Oven Cooking Exhibition

Campfire Cooking Outfit

It might be called ‘Cowboy Cooking’, as meals prepared ‘dutch oven’ style were a way of life for trail herds on the plains over a century ago. The unique technique will be on display in real time at this year’s Sand and Sage Fair on Thursday, August 8th from 2pm to 6pm in Elmer’s Garden.

Chad Hart

Chad Hart has been involved with the Santa Fe Dutch Oven Cookers for several years and he and several members of the group decided the Fair would be a good time and place to display just how a full meal can be prepared using a Dutch Oven, a grate or grill and a charcoal fire.

“It’s not a contest on the best cook,” Hart explained, “We want to show the process, how you can cook a full meal in a Dutch Oven including breads and desserts. This will be the way it has been done for decades in a lot of parts of the Old West.”

Several teams comprised of leaders and novices have been set up to begin on Thursday at 2pm. The menu for the teams include:  beef stew, corn bread and a dessert made with peaches.  Hart said recipes and educational materials will be available for the general public.

Set up time for the campground will be from Noon to 2pm, followed by a cook’s meeting. The teams will select their Dutch ovens, various seasonings, go through a review of what can be cooked in the ovens, how to clean and care for the ovens and how to control the oven’s temperature with charcoals.  At 3pm, well-known local Santa Fe Trail historian, Pat Palmer, will give a brief talk about life on the trail in older days.  By 5pm, the meals will be ready for sampling by the teams and the public will have a free taste around 5:30pm and can vote on their favorite team by leaving a bean in a jar at that teams’ station.

Team members are: Lisa Carder-Lamar Chamber of Commerce, Bob DeLancey-Owner of KVAY Radio, Russ Baldwin-The Prowers Journal, Orie Mathews-Luckys BBQ, Mark Carrigan-President, Prowers County Fair Board, Pal Palmer-Master of Chocolate Cake, Kent Anderson-Chuck Wagon Cook, Dean Decker-Chuck Wagon Cook, Dave Wade-Chuck Wagon Cook, Marty Campbell-Dutch Oven Dessert Master, Cheryl Hart-Queen of Campfire Beans, Norma Dorenkamp-Unsurpassed Dutch Oven peach cobbler.

Hart thanked the local supporters of the new event: Lamar Lodging Panel, SEMCO of Lamar, J Bar S Farms, KLMR and KVAY.  “I hope this event catches on or becomes an annual feature for the Fair.  It’s a good way to introduce the public to the lost art of Dutch Oven Cooking, and it may help spur interest in bringing some new cookers into our events,” he said.

By Russ Baldwin

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