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Collecting Recipes

Cookbooks take up three shelves above the desk in our kitchen, some old, some inherited and some new. My favorites are those old, used and sometimes stained binders filled with family favorites  put together by church ladies or quilting clubs.

I find them in used book stores and sometimes in unexpected places, hidden behind cast-off treasures in antique stores. I have to confess that I enjoy reading the cookbook more than I enjoy the actual task of cooking. It seems our life is so busy, and there’s the menu planning, the buying of the stuff, the prep work, and finally the actual cooking part.

A wonderful recipe collection from the librarians of the Cornette Library, West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

When I have a free evening to actually cook, the boys request their tried and true favorites.  Sometimes they seem annoyed when I change things up or experiment with a new dish. None the less, I can’t help but keep collecting and reading, and on occasion, throw in something new for my family.

This past week, I tried an old cow camp recipe, MEXICAN BEEF, which I discovered while researching the era of the great cattle drives in Texas. (I’m happy to report that my guys ate it!) I’m digging deep into Texas cowboy legend, Texas Longhorns, and cow camp food. The book will be published in 2020 by TwoDot Books (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers). Stay tuned, there will be more news about the project later, but in the meantime enjoy this recipe for Mexican Beef.


Mexican beef starts with jalapenos and onions.


1 pound beef steak

Flour seasoned with salt and pepper

1 onion, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, chopped

1 16 oz. Can tomatoes

Cut steak into serving pieces. Dredge in flour mixture and brown in heavy iron skillet in small amount of oil. Drain and remove meat. Saute onion and jalapeno. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper. Add steak and simmer until tender. Great served with rice. Serves four.


Below you will also find a few cookbooks authored by some of my author friends who are members of Women Writing the West. Also published by TwoDot Books, these are unique, filled with historic recipes and fascinating tidbits about cooking and history. I hope you’ll add them to your own collection.


Sourdough Biscuits and Pioneer Pies by Gail L. Jenner

Loaded with down home, time tested recipes and history. Jenner has put together a timeless book with baking secrets of Native American ranch house cooks, chuck wagon chefs, and wagon train homemakers, with over a hundred Old West recipes—updated and kitchen tested.


Frontier Fare by Sherry Monahan

Drawn from the author’s ongoing column in TrueWest Magazine, this cookbook combines myths, nostalgia, and legends with usable, delicious, and fun recipes for use at home or on the trail–all with a western theme.

Happy cooking everybody!

Natalie Cline Bright is an author, blogger, speaker, and cattle ranch owner. Her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, and she is the author of the TROUBLE IN TEXAS Series, adventure stories set in the Texas frontier for Ages 8-10. She also has a series of easy readers based on true stories about rescue horses. She is currently working on a nonfiction book about the great cattle driving era for TwoDot Books.