by Lillian Eva Lieske
EAGLE NEST — A Cowboy Chuck Wagon Dinner was held this past weekend in the Village of Eagle Nest, NM to about 300 hungry guests.
A chuck wagon is a type of field kitchen contained in a covered wagon historically is used for the storage and transportation of perishable food and cooking equipment on the prairies of the United States and Canada. Historically, these wagons formed part of a wagon train of settlers or fed traveling workers such as cowboys or loggers. Doc Jones & Company chuck wagon diner event/catering from La Junta, CO traveled to Eagles Nest for the dinner. In addition to cooking, there was also a bit of history presented by the “cookies” who made the meal. On cattle drives, it was common for the “cookie” that ran the wagon to be second in charge, below only the “trail boss.” The cookie would often act as cook, barber, dentist, and banker. Chuck wagon food typically included easy-to-preserve items like beans and salted meats, coffee, and sourdough biscuits. Food would also be gathered en route. There was no fresh fruit, vegetables, or eggs available, and meat was not fresh unless an animal was injured during the run and therefore had to be killed.
The American Chuck Wagon Association is dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the chuck wagon and, through these events, the members educate the public on the history and traditions surrounding the chuck wagon. Besides srelating the history of the west, music and poems are shared at chuckwagon events.
The Eagle Nest cowboy chuck wagon event featured performers R.W. Hampton, Broken Chair Band, and Geff & Dawn Dawson. The event was a huge success and organizers are already planning for next year. Special thanks go out to the Eagle Nest Chamber of Commerce for hosting this great event.