Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Doc the Cook and Vanilla Extract!!!

 During my youth I had many wonderful adventures and met a broad assortment of interesting and colorful characters. Due to the fact that my father  made some varied investments our family had some real estate holdings. One of the most unforgetable was a cattle ranch in Montana .(Stay with me here, I will get to the gist of my tale.) Part of this ranch was on the Crow Indian Reservation, the land being leased from the tribe to run cattle. The ranch was complete with a bunk house, horses, cowpokes, branding season, the whole kit' n kaboodle. We would spend summers there living the life of real honest to goodness cow punchers.  We had several hired hands, mostly drifters, to tend to the every day chores on the ranch, and as it was far from the city or anywhere else for that matter, we had  accomodations for the workers, a bunk house where they would sleep and eat. And we had Doc! Doc was an aging retired army cook that made the best biscuits that ever passed your lips. He could rustle up a meal for twenty ranch hands, in no time at all. ( Now for the crux of my story) Doc had a slight penchant for, as it was loosely labeled in the old West ," Firewater"! Being out in the middle of nowhere, the ranch was not the most accessable for this slight indulgence. This did not deter him one little bit. We noticed that when he filled out the request for supplies every week, he would request a quart of vanilla extract, needed exclusively for  his special vanilla ice cream, his tasty vanilla puddings, his secret recipe vanilla pound cake, and his insistance to make his own vanilla wafers! Needless to say, I am sure my parents were aware of his noticebly obvious scheme, and they probably let him get by with a little nip now and again, but I did not realize until later in life when I started researching how to make my own everything, the true components of Vanilla Extract. Whoopeee!!!!! Being a teetotaler myself, I had to do some serious research as to the best hooch, as the Farmer calls it, to use with my Organic Vanilla Beans, shipped all the way from Madagascar. I went by smell, and the best smelling to me, the ultimate butter eater, was Rum! Now, FYI we sell Vanilla Beans and homemade Vanilla Extract in the market. I would be happy to give instructions for making your own. It really is superb. You may have to keep it on the top shelf in the kitchen cabinet, as to avoid any undo temptation, but it really is tasty....... so I have been told. From our farmstead to your table, thank you for all of your support!

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