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Petting animals & cooking donít mix
The Back Forty
By Roger Pond

I guess Iíll never be much of a cook. Anything with more than three ingredients is way too complicated for my culinary abilities. Besides, I never have more than three ingredients at the same time, anyway.

One thing I do pride myself on is cleanliness when Iím cooking. I make sure all of the utensils are clean and that my hands are clean. I donít believe in the five-second rule, either. Readers will recall the five-second rule says anything that hasnít been on the floor more than five seconds doesnít have time to be contaminated. Anyone should know better than that.

I remember a rancher telling about his neighbor who used to be in the sheep business. The neighbor raised sheep in the days when a sheep outfit would trail a band of 2,000 or so ewes to the mountains and camp out with them all summer.

This meant a person often did his own cooking, or he relied on a camp tender who could handle this chore. The camp tenderís job was to move the tent or camp wagon when needed and to take care of any chores that needed to be done around camp.

One of the camp tenders the neighbor employed fancied himself as a pretty good cook.

And he was, except for one thing: He wasnít very clean about it. This fellow would wash his hands before he started preparing a meal, but he didnít pay much attention to them after that. This might have been fine if he wasnít so easily distracted.

The camp tender really liked animals and would jump in and out of the tent or camp wagon to pet the dog and the horse at the same time he was cooking dinner.

This meant there was a lot of hair floating around much of the time. A few readers will remember one of the staples in the old sheep camps was flour-sack biscuits, called ďdough godsĒ by some. These were made by forming a hollow in a sack of flour and pouring a small amount of water into this depression.

Then you reached into the sack and wallowed the water and flour around until it formed a biscuit. These were then fried in a skillet. This particular camp tender loved to make flour-sack biscuits. They were pretty good, too - as long as you didnít look at them.

While this man was cooking dinner and making biscuits, he would go outside and pet the dogs and the horse, and then he would come back in and wallow some more water around in the flour sack.

By the time he was finished with his biscuits they contained so much dog and horse hair they looked more like teddy bears than anything else.

The rancher said he had a lot of reasons for getting out of the sheep business, but it was those flour-sack biscuits that finally pushed him over the edge.

This farm news was published in the June 28, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.