The Shearer’s Cook Part 2

June 28, 2009

A Roo hole in one of our fences - Kilcowera Station
A Roo hole in one of our fences – Kilcowera Station
  The cook also had to branch out a bit in the smoko department or the grumbling would start and the sandwiches would come back all pulled apart as the shearer’s checked them out for anything interesting….. just the odd bight out of them and the rest thrown back in the dish.  In contempt.  So I learned to make bacon and egg pies, sausage rolls, fancy savoury scones and pizzas.  You had to be careful not to give them too much of a good thing or they expected it all the time though. (Sound familiar girls?)

Wildflowers - Kilcowera Station - Outback Australia


I gradually weaned them on to stews by the cunning use of dumplings as allies. Then curries, but not too hot.  Matter of fact they liked a sweet curry with lots of sultanas, apples and chutney in it.  By the time they picked up their eating irons they mostly had splashed so much tomato sauce over their meal, they really wouldn’t have known what they were eating any way.  Tomato sauce seemed to go with everything. To my disgust.  

As my confidence grew in the kitchen I became cheeky.  One day I didn’t make gravy for the roast leg of mutton. “Where’s the gravy love?”  Asked the shearer, to which I innocently replied “ Oh tomato sauce will do you today”  He,he,he,he.  Black looks though. 

They were enjoying my meals I think, there was never much food left anyway so I decided to try the shanks that previously had been sneered at and given to the dogs.  Out came my trusty mutton cookbook and I whisked them up Thelma’s Lemony Shanks, served with mashed spud and carrots and peas.  After much initial grumbling and grizzling about eating the bloody dog food they ate it, tossed the plates on the kitchen table and marched out as per usual.  There was none left, the family said it was a nice meal so I figured I had a win up there.  

 Lamb shanks were on the menu, but I still had to get them to eat the flaps as they called them, this was the sheep’s ribs.  I would bone the flaps out and make mini roasts out of them or have them as spare ribs with honey and soy etc.  I even got rid of the sauce bottle occasionally by snatching it off the table and saying “You won’t need that it’s already seasoned ,you bastard!” to the offending party.  When in Rome……. 

They came around eventually when they realized I wasn’t trying to poison them and that the Cocky’s missus wasn’t short changing them by not providing enough food. And we were only going through a sheep a day instead of 2.  Much easier on my husband.  The dogs missed out a bit though.

Shearing Stands at Kilcowera Station - Outback Queensland



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