Wyoming Hunting Camp Cook; deliciously delightful
“The Camp Cook or ‘Cookie’ was one of the more colorful characters of the American West. Serving as not only a food provider, but also doctor and dentist. A Camp Cookie was the toughest ranch hand to replace. He was an essential part of ranch life that spawned the cattle drives.”
We would like to pay tribute to all our past, present and even future camp cooks.
The amount of pressure and responsibility a large hunting camp cook bears is enormous! Just imagine if the coffee wasn’t ready, meals weren’t served in a timely fashion, or heaven forbid, not enough proportions were prepared. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it?!
Conversely, imagine how a warm, delicious plate full could melt away a disappointing day of hunting or harsh weather conditions. Dampened spirits are easily lifted with a hearty meal of comfort food. Camp cooks are critical to the operation and SNS Outfitter & Guides currently has a solid team of professionals at our many camps!
These ladies are the first ones up, often hours before day break, making coffee and whipping up a filling breakfast. They are also the last to hit the hay after the dishes are done and the kitchen is clean. They are the ultimate planners of shopping lists, masterminds of recipes and portions. They think through every single ingredient, utensil, pot & pan for each meal. Making sure they have each item needed because the local grocery store is not a quick trip from hunting camp! They stock the snacks and drinks and have risen to the challenge of cooking mass quantities in different kitchens each with its own pros & cons. They cater to a variety of preferences, heath issues, allergies and requests. They assist with, or at times are a one woman, cleaning crew. Each of these camp orchestrators does her job with a smile and looks forward to returning every year.
This spatula wielding team has many years of experience under their apron strings. They have earned our respect, appreciation and praise along with every empty plate cleared, each moan of taste bud delight and even a few belts loosened after having a round of seconds.
The planning and preparation starts well before opening day. It begins with a hunting schedule for their particular camp. Meals are planned, recipes selected, lists of drinks and snacks that need to be stocked are made and don’t forget about the desserts menu! They calculate how many hungry mouths they will be chef for and then they are off to shop! Early mornings, horseback hunting, hiking and long days in the field all require extra calories to keep hunters happily hunting! Cooks feed not only our clients and guides, but any extras folks in camp helping manage operations.
With such experienced cooks and their tried and true menus at hand, SNS Outfitter, Sy Gilliland does not need to give much direction to his well established team of cooks. He just requests one thing: that the meals are home-cooked and hearty. (and that fried chicken with potato salad be served when he visits a camp). With this kind of leeway, SNS cooks are able to spice things up a bit and add a pinch of their own flair and specialties. Whether you are on an antelope hunt, an excursion for an elk, or hunting mule deer; One thing is for sure! Guest of SNS camps will find their fill of finger-licking good food!
When I visited Janet Read and Patty Granato at one SNS Outfitter & Guides hunting camp, they shared a wealth of their tips for success. “We have healthy options, yes, but we want hunters to be able to eat things their spouse won’t let them have at home. Like Fried Chicken!” Adding, “They’re on vacation after all!” The pride they take in providing tasty meals and blue-ribbon quality desserts was evident and when I inquired what they like most about being a cook with SNS, they’re answers echoed one another. “I enjoy meeting clients from all over, I like being a part of the team along with the hunting guides and I love to cook!” Not bad for a days work and an oven wafting the sweet smell of Dutch apple pie! So when you visit us here in Wyoming or Montana be sure to come hungry and please, don’t forget to tip your cook! Their hard work may just make your whole hunt -delicious!
Cindy, Janet, Janice, Judy, Meaghan, Patty & Ms. Sylvia (and you too Arnold); you all make the world go ‘round during the hunting season!
From all of us, Thank you!