Wednesday, October 16, 2019

COWBOY POTATOES! by Cheryl Pierson

Hi everyone! I was thinking about how much I love fried potatoes tonight when I was making them for dinner. Those are a great “comfort food” to me, and one I don’t think I’d ever get tired of. But I imagine the cowboys of yesteryear grew sick of the fare they ate constantly–beans, chili, stew, potatoes, and the like–when they were on a cattle drive.

Dinner time at a cowboy’s camp, banks of the Yellowstone, Montana, U.S.A. Original source: Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views.

Here’s another awesome picture that is around 120 years old–Wonder what they’re having to eat? Chili? Beans? Maybe biscuits and gravy? Or…POTATOES??? These color pictures were produced using a method called photochrom. This is making colorized photos from black and white negatives through the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates.

It was invented in the 1880s and by the 1890s, was extremely popular (when this image was shot). Credit: Mediadrumimages/PublicDomain

Here’s a really good recipe for — what else? COWBOY POTATOES!
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup bell pepper (or jalapeno for spicier fare!), diced
salt and pepper
Peel potatoes, if desired or leave the peel on and cut into 1/2″ cubes.
Heat oil in large skillet. Add the potatoes, spreading into a single layer. Let them get brown on one side before stirring.
Stir the potatoes, and let them brown on another side. Stir once more, and add the pepper and onion. Cook until the onions and peppers are tender. If the potatoes are not done, reduce heat to low and cover the skillet until they’re done.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

YUM, YUM! Hope you enjoy these! Do you have a favorite potato recipe? PLEASE SHARE! I’m sure we have a LOT more variety than the cowboys did!


  1. I love potatoes too. Those awesome photos remind me of my favorite. Campfire potatoes. Clean and boil whole Potatos until you can stick a fork in and it comes out easy. Rinse and cool. Peeling should come right off. Make a square out of foil large enough to hold potato, table spoon of butter, onion if desired and a hand full of cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and bring the corners together to seal wrapping. Bake the foil ball in oven, on grill, or next to camp fire. About 30 minutes until ingredients are melted together and hot. Unwrap and enjoy. I also like garlic salt on mine.

    1. Whoops forgot to add, one potato per foil bag. That way each camper gets his or her own. Nice blog, Cheryl. Yum. Your patatos made me hungry.

    2. OH LORDY, Cindy. Those sound wonderful. Yes, I'm a garlic fiend myself. I would definitely love that recipe!

  2. I've never met a potato I don't like! Guess it's part of my 30-percent Irish/Scottish heritage (thanks, Ancestry). Thanks for highlighting my favorite vegetable, Cheryl!

    1. Jodi, you are like me. I will eat ANY potato (so far) that I've ever encountered. LOVE THEM. My great grandfather's name was Euin Tolliver McLain (he was a wee bit Irish...) LOL

  3. Oh yes, that sounds so delicious, Cheryl. I'll be doing that recipe this week! Tonight, I have potatoes, carrots, and onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and some seitan first cooked in red wine, then covered over with a pie crust and baked. Frankly, you can't make a potato taste bad.

    1. I AGREE. I love them any way I've ever had them. Fried are probably my favorite, but I love them all!

  4. Okay Cheryl,

    We ALL got to eat! Nice pics!

    Me Dad loved mashed potatoes. As a child, "WOMAN! I don't care what you say, I go to work and come home hungry and I want a big bowl of mashed potatoes on the dinner table every night! Forever!" (True, word for word, I was about five or six. He went on to say he wanted two or three fried potato pancakes with his four eggs and bacon for breakfast.)

    Me Dad worked in the oil fields. He was kind, very kind to my mother, but that is one verbal explosion I will NEVER forget.

    Now me, I started cooking around age 60 and I like cut potatoes cooked in, (swimming) in olive oil. Then once tender, dumped into a bowl with scrambled eggs, onions, and corn!

    So there, WOMAN. A recipe from this cowboy!

    Charlie Steel

    1. Charlie you made me laugh right out loud! Is there a married man anywhere that has not demanded something similar? I remember my dad telling my mom he wanted dinner on the table by 6:00 when he was home! (He worked in the oilfields and I am guessing he just wanted SOMETHING dependable in his life once in a while!) My husband's dad told his mom he wanted pinto beans every evening meal and homemade biscuits morning and night. Well, believe me, I learned how to make those biscuits, because Gary was so used to having them all the time! LOL

      Now with me? The requirement here is that we don't have red meat more than a couple of times a week anymore.

      Those potatoes of yours sound wonderful, Charlie. Sometimes I just crave scrambled eggs, and this sounds like a great way to spice them up with the potatoes, onions and corn! YUM.

  5. I love potatoes, but they don't love me. Sometimes I miss them so much I will eat some, then ...well, let's say I don't eat them again for a bit. I've been eating a lot of sweet potatoes, which don't seem to bother me.

    Sometimes, like you, I wonder if folks back then did get tired of some foods. Doris

    1. My mom always tried to get me to eat sweet potatoes when I was young. I don't know why I didn't like them then, but I love them now. I could just cook one of those and have it and nothing else for dinner. My dogs love sweet potatoes too. Wish I could say the same for the rest of my family--but my daughter is the only one besides me who'll eat them and loves them like I do.

      Oh, Doris, I don't know what I'd do if I had to give up potatoes! I feel for you!

  6. I'm another potato lover and I'm going to try the cowboy potatoes. I often get the request to bring my potato casserole to family dinners and church functions.
    2-5 baking potatoes washed, peeled and sliced thin
    1 med onion sliced thin and separate
    1/2 to 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I like sharp)
    salt & pepper to taste
    1 can condensed mushroom soup

    Use deep baking dish with lid, or you can use foil to cover.
    Make several layers of potatoes, onions, cheese until you're within an inch of the top of baking dish. If desired, lightly salt and pepper each layer. (I do this before I put on the cheese.)
    top with cheese and pour on the soup. Depending on size, bake covered 30-50 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Serve hot.

    1. That sounds DIVINE. I will definitely try that, Agnes. I never met a potato I didn't like--but I do like some a tiny bit better than others... and this sounds like one of those I might like a LOT.

  7. Great article, Cheryl. Over in the UK we almost venerate Sir Walter Raleigh for introducing us to the potato when he introduced it from his ‘visit’ to America in 1587!

    Re: French Fries!

    I have written a weekly newspaper column called the Doctor’s Casebook for the past 38 years. I try to give it a medical angle, but sometimes it just becomes a travelogue, like one article a few years ago, after I visited Bruges in Belgium and wrote about Belgian cuisine:

    Vegetables always played a large role in Belgiancooking, with potatoes being a staple and a main feature of many meals. Indeed, ‘French fries’ or chips originate in Belgium. It is recorded that potatoes were already fried in 1680, in the area of the Meuse valley in Belgium.

    The poor inhabitants of this region allegedly had the custom of accompanying their meals with small fried fish, but when the river was frozen and they were unable to fish, they cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to accompany their meals.

    Apparently, the term ‘French’ was introduced when English soldiers arrived in Belgium during the Great War and tasted these Belgian fries. They supposedly called them ‘French’ because the official language of the Belgian army at that time was French.

    aka Clay More

    1. FASCINATING, Keith! I always learn something new from you, my friend. I had no idea! OK, so I can't even imagine a life without potatoes. I have to wonder what did people EAT? They are now such a staple, it's hard to imagine a life without them! Thanks for this info!