Last Saturday, our little rural community held it’s 11th annual Dutch Oven Dinner where everything from chili verde to cinnamon rolls is cooked in dutch ovens. Well, the one exception is the homemade ice cream. This year there were over 100 different dutch ovens going. The cooks start preparing around noon and dinner is served around 4. It is a fascinating process to watch. The photo above shows some of the guys getting the charcoal ready to go. Once the charcoal is ready, it is transferred to a metal bucket, and taken around to the cooking stations, where a few coals are placed under the dutch ovens and a few are placed on top. The tops have a little lip all the way around that keeps the charcoal in place. There are specialized tools to lift the lids to stir or check on the food cooking inside. The piece of metal under each oven is a part of an old plow.
This is a photo of a few of the ovens cooking away. When the coals start disintegrating into ash, more is brought around to keep things going. It’s amazing that a half dozen pieces of charcoal is enough to thoroughly cook a dish.
The great entertainment doesn’t stop at watching the cooks at work at this event. There are also all sorts of old time craft demonstrations. This year there was several blacksmiths manning their forge, a couple of Native American drummers doing traditional drum chants, gold panning, and there were even two restored chuck wagons that had been set up as if they were an actual campsite. The one in the photo below was actually used in the ’50s TV series Rawhide and belongs to one of the founding families in the area.
Last, but in my mind, not least, for the first time, I was asked to do a quilting demonstration. Below is a photo of my area while we were setting up. I am in the red shirt, and the incredibly handsome gentleman in front is my wonderful husband, or as he called himself, the Quilter’s Support Staff.
The other lady is a quilting student of mine who agreed to help out, and later in the day another lady from our local quilting group came and demonstrated hand quilting and sold raffle tickets for the hand quilted scholarship quilt that our group made. My intention was to demonstrate the versatility of half-square triangles. The blocks hung on the design wall all have HSTs in them and look totally different from one another. In reality, I ended up demonstrating how to make 4-patches and 9-patches to beginning quilters and wannabe quilters. I was pleased to be able to encourage several people to hang in there or to look into actually taking a class. More advanced quilters also stopped by the booth, and we had a great time discussing our passion for quilting. My husband amazed and amused me because when I was busy with other people, he was actually using the pieces I had made to demonstrate the 4-patch to show other interested people how to make them. He truly is the best Quilter’s Support Staff that I could have.
All the money raised at this event goes to build a rural life museum featuring the history and founding of this area. A good time had by all, and I can’t wait until next year.