Cooking is a relative ability when it comes to the cowboy in the kitchen. There are a few masters with the “meat on the grill,” and others that can bake bread, make a pie and any number of delicious dishes.

Let me share with you my latest entertainment—a recipe exchange.

The deal was to send a short, minimal-ingredient recipe to the guy at the top of the list of two names, take him off, move up the next name to the top and put yours on the bottom. Simple enough.

My first chuckle was over the person who sent me the recipe game. I never figured him for someone that would collect recipes. He assured me his true status is as a “fantasy chef.” He fantasizes about cooking, then goes out to eat at a good restaurant. “Similar to fantasy football,” he said.

Apparently, his friends knew this about him, as evidenced by a recipe he received, which I will share with you. The other recipe comes from a genuine cowboy country with first-hand knowledge as to its relevance.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese: Truly mouth-watering, but the directions on box omit critical information.

Let the macaroni boil only 7 minutes. No more, no less. Place the noodles in colander; drain well. While the noodles are draining, place the ¼ cup butter in the saucepan. The heat should be on low. Melt the butter completely. Margarine can also be used with few ill effects. Once the butter is melted, then, and only then, place the well-drained noodles (they should be almost dry at this point) back in the saucepan. Stir the noodles well so the melted butter coats them. Keep the heat on low. Then, pour the ¼ cup of milk and the contents of the cheese pouch in the saucepan at the same time. Don’t turn off the heat! The saucepan should still be heated on low. Stir contents well so the fake cheese stuff and mil are fully engaged and the noodles become a lovely, unnatural color of orange.

Ropers’ Pork & Beans

Ingredients: two cans store-brand cheapest-possible on-sale pork and beans; good supply of onions, brown sugar, barbeque sauce, jalapeños, crisp bacon pieces, pineapple and everything else you can think of to doctor up these beans. Hot dogs are optional. Serve beans warm or cold—nobody is going to eat them anyway. Keep puttingthem on the table and back in the icebox for about four days. Just when you think your penicillin experiment is finally going to work, take them out to the pack of hounds. They won’t eat them either.

The wonderful advantage of these particular beans is that a roper always needs quicker reflexes. Putting any dish down in front of the hounds will make you get your arm up sooner, kick your horse up into position, get your dally quicker, and, in general, take four seconds off every run.

Special equipment needed: icebox big enough to hold an extra bowl for about for days and at least four to five hungry hounds. Of course if you’re not a roper, you can just go ahead and buy better quality canned beans and circumvent untold adventures.

Just so you know, this recipe exchange not only netted a few good laughs, but it also garnered genuine recipes worthy of the kitchen recipe stash. Some are so decadent-sounding I couldn’t pronounce them, and others were basic and yummy sounding, like “Cowboy Coffee Cake.”

Bottom line advice for feeding cowboys is food and lots of it. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Julie can be reached for comment at