A century of recipes fills Round-Up centennial cookbook
By FLYNN ESPE
East Oregonian via Associated Press
PENDLETON, Ore. -- Everyone knows it takes a village to raise a child and that you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
But it might take about as many people to publish a cookbook spanning 100 years of recipes, and you certainly can't taste-test 750 submitted dishes without expending considerable time and ingredients in the kitchen.
Such, perhaps, is the proverbial knowledge pertaining to "Beyond the Bull," a Pendleton Round-Up centennial cookbook and a labor of love more than two years in the making. The book became available at the Round-Up gift shop the second week of September.
"The emphasis is on food that is fun to make for Round-Up, fun to make for gatherings," said Suzie Barhyte, owner of Barhyte Specialty Foods in Pendleton and member of the project committee. "We have lots of great stories in there and lots of great pictures -- color on every page."
The idea for the book emerged from early planning for the 2010 Round-Up and was based on a similar project from the Cheyenne Frontier Days' 100th anniversary. The team began by requesting recipes from people associated with the Pendleton rodeo, an annual tradition rooted in friendly gatherings and memorable meals.
"We wanted recipes from 1910 to 2010," said Raphael Hoffman, owner of Raphael's Restaurant & Lounge and chairwoman in charge of recipes. "I just never thought it was going to be as big of a job as it was."
Close to 750 submissions eventually flooded in -- drinks, entrees, desserts and more. It was Hoffman's task to organize a system to blind-test each of the recipes, at least twice, on a rating scale that would measure things like flavor, texture and ease of preparation.
She started with a group of 77 volunteer cooks to help take on the various recipe tests, but that number eventually dwindled down to 30.
"There were the troupers that lasted the whole time," Hoffman said.
That made for hours upon hours in the kitchen for the core group of volunteers, but also some surprisingly enjoyable fundraisers and creative tasting events.
"It kind of got people back together in fixing things," Hoffman said, saying the tasting events brought new mixes of people together. "Usually when you have an event, it's kind of the same people."
One of the memorable events, for example, was a pitchfork barbecue, an idea submitted by retired wheat farmer Bob Mumm. That "recipe" called for melting lard in a cauldron, rendering down the lard and using a clean pitchfork -- emphasis on the clean -- to dip in the steaks.
"It's like a big, gigantic fondue," Barhyte said. "Dip it in the lard and cook your steak."
Rendering the fat, Hoffman said, was practically an all-day affair. "It was amazing because I thought it would be really greasy," she said. "Instead, the oil seared the outside of it so that it would still cook the meat but not make it greasy."
Pitchfork barbecue made the final cut, as did other intriguing dishes like "cowboy caviar" and a saw-tooth pot roast submitted by Walla Walla-born actor Adam West, best known for his role as Batman during the 1960s TV serial. West, like all others in the book, had long-standing memories of the rodeo dating back to his childhood.
"He still has his Hamley saddle that his dad gave him when he was a boy," Barhyte said.
Committee members even managed to recruit famed country singer Reba McEntire, whose family has a history of visiting Pendleton during Round-Up, to write a personalized foreword to the book.
"It was amazing how many people helped," Barhyte said.
"Beyond the Bull" is published through Wimmer Cookbooks and retails for $28.95. The book contains close to 350 recipes and several accompanying stories.
There will be 5,000 copies printed for the first edition and committee members hope demand will lead to future printings. Proceeds from the sale of the book will help finance the renovation of the Round-Up grandstands.