Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Home-Burned Breakfast


Picture him 20 years younger.
The hair was red . . .

Dad was the youngest in a family of 11 children.
He had never been anywhere.
When Dad was five, his father decided he was old enough, finally, to go along when he took supplies to one of the family cow camps - about 35 miles away over roads that were mostly trails across the prairie.
The two of them started out.
Though the day had started out beautiful, the weather quickly turned sour.
As often happens in Southern Alberta.
And before they could start for home, a blizzard had blown in.
Travel quickly went from difficult to impossible.
Granddad decided that he and his youngest son would have to bunk with the rotund keeper (who also served as cook, bottle washer, chore boy, range rider and chief spinner of horrendous tales) of the camp.
Dad was beyond excited.
It was his very first time sleeping away from home.
The next morning dawned bright and clear.
Something else that often happens in Southern Alberta . . .
And Granddad decided that travel home would be attempt-able.
Before the two of them left, however, they were offered breakfast by the keeper.
He made bacon and eggs and, because the old, wood-burning, camp stove was rather unpredictable, biscuits that were burned black.
At first, Dad turned up his nose at the sight of the large, black lumps, but, after seeing his father eat a couple, he decided to try.
They weren't too bad.
He even got through a second.
Safely back at home a few hours later, as they were sitting down to lunch, his mother asked how he had liked it at the camp.
Dad was quite excited about the whole experience and talked about it enthusiastically.
He wished he could have stayed.
His Mom asked what he had eaten for breakfast.
It had been great, he enthused.
And he had eaten all of it!
"What did you have?" his mother asked.
"Bacon 'n eggs 'n coal!" Dad said proudly.
No wonder people were hardier back then.

19 comments:

  1. Reminds me of a story told by a friend's father who worked on the railroad in "the good old days". The guys all bunked and ate in the caboose, which had a similarly unpredictable wood stove, and they all took turns cooking. The "law of the kitchen" was that if you complained about the cooking, you were up next. My friend's dad said they all got really good at back-handed compliments: "Gee, Fred, you really burned the eggs this morning -- but you burned them just how I like them!" He said most of them learned how to cook out of pure survival instinct.

    Diane's Anonymous Bad-Chef Husby-Figure

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmm . . . just the way I like it . . .

      Delete
  2. What a handsome man your father was!!

    And good for him for eating a hearty breakfast when one was offered. That's just smart.

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good looking AND smart! Why or why didn't he pass it on to me . . . :)

      Delete
  3. Hee hee! Hope he never tried the REAL stuff after that!

    My grandparents worked in woods camps - my grandma cooked for as many as fifteen men plus whichever kids of her own went with them to camp. Her biscuits were heavenly.

    :) label :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to taste THOSE biscuits!
      Here's where I admit that I always try to impress you with my labels, Jenny!

      Delete
    2. hee hee! I almost always take special note of them - the extra smile is well worth it!

      Delete
  4. Love it!

    Keep them coming, Diane.

    Love you,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's just the outside of the coal that's hard black and burnt...the inside is just fine.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have cooked a meal or two like that myself. I try to pass them off as a gourmet dish.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I loved this story; it certainly brought a laugh. I needed one today.
    Blessings and thanks for the smile today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy to bring you a needed smile, LeAnn! Blessing back!

      Delete
  8. Faced with a raw Canadian winter any man would be wise to eat his own boy weight in breakfast!

    Kate x
    Kate at Home

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, so true, Kate! And even a raw Canadian summer . . . :)

      Delete
  9. Ah, the good old days, when everything was "properly" cooked through, none of that raw in the middle cra...er...stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *shudder* I'm with you! I had a chicken . . . thing . . . at Costco the other day. Burned black on the outside and very raw in the middle. Umm . . . ick.

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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