_Cooking for VIPs

Serves: 5



As just ordinary people, it seems like once or twice in our lives we end up meeting some celebrity or otherwise famous person. Meeting them is one thing, cooking for them is another. The first time it happened to me was in l978 when I just got started in Dutch oven cookin’.

At the time I lived in a little town in southeast Idaho, called Wayan. It was so small there were only about 50-60 phones on the entire exchange. I was a Wildlife Tech for the Idaho Department of Fish & Game on a research project. I rented a house, actually a large log house which had been built for a big game outfitter just south of the Greys Lake National Wildlife Refuge. A friend of mine, Rod Drewien, was running a project trying to establish another wild population of Whooping Cranes at Greys Lake. The big news that spring, after the snow melt, was that they were going to film an episode of Wide World of Sports at the refuge about the whooping crane project. Of great interest to the locals and especially us bachelors was the list of “stars”, of which one would be chosen to do the filming. Of the four on the list, Cheryl Teigs was the only one I didn’t really know much about. Anyway...the valley was buzzing when I left for a week’s vacation and to attend some meetings in Boise. The only thing I remember of the meetings was waking up the last morning, after way too many barley pops, vaguely remembering I’d bought a dog the night before. After the aspirin kicked in, I kicked myself in the tailbone. Before I could go home, I had to go to Salmon and pick up a female black lab puppy. It’s another whole story, but fourteen years later, when I buried that old dog, I couldn’t think of a better $75 that I ever spent.

There wasn’t much on my mind the night I got home except hoping the pup, who I’d named "Snoose", wouldn’t keep me up all night. The driveway at my place was about a half mile long. I’d barely got out of the truck when I saw the dust kicking up behind Rod’s truck as he came barreling up the drive. After kicking a few clods and looking at the pup, Rod asked me what I was doing for the weekend. Nothing special, I told him. He commenced to tell me they were going to film the TV show that weekend and they were looking for a place to have a dinner for the cast, crew, and the refuge folks. My place had plenty of room and was a pretty nice setting and would I consider it? Sure, no problem. Then I asked him who the “star” was going to be. He told me Cheryl Tiegs. The name didn’t ring a bell until he showed me her picture on the cover of some magazine. I’d seen her plenty of times, but since I never figured we’d ever do dinner together, I hadn’t bothered to stick a name to the face.

Dinner wasn’t supposed to be too fancy, just Dutch oven fried chicken, Dutch oven spuds, biscuits, and salad. All washed down with cool carbonated beverages! The cooking would be a joint effort among several of us. Even though I wasn’t very experienced as a cook, what terrified me most was only having a week to get the house clean! Somehow between work and having a new puppy around the house I managed to get the top layer of dust off, and anything which would embarrass me, stuffed in a closet. Besides just the dinner, one of the guys from the refuge was going to bring his team and buggy over to pick Cheryl up at the pavement and bring her up to the house in style.

Saturday morning found me kicking the horse muffins out of the yard and hauling in picnic tables. With lots of help in the kitchen, the cooking was a breeze. When we took a break just after noon to sip a malted beverage, the excitement of meeting one of the highest paid models in the country finally hit us, especially us bachelors! Any cook who is expecting guests always has that moment of anxiety just before people start showing up. Having had a roommate in college who was a jockey, I knew that some people had to watch their weight with a vengeance. The anxiety attack hit when I figured Cheryl would be like my old roommate. Nothing fried, just broiled or boiled. From that perspective, our dinner might not be such a hit with the guest of honor. Looking at the menu about the only thing a long legged model might find attractive was the "Honeymoon Salad" i.e. just lettuce alone!

If you’ve ever been to Wayan, you know to buy your

groceries before you get there! At the last minute I drove over to the store to see if they had any "LITE" food. Believe me, there is a lot more of it around today than there was in 1978. I managed to come up with a quart of skim milk and a bottle of reduced fat salad dressing, the brand of which I’ve never seen again! At that point there wasn’t much else we could do.

As time drew near for her to get there, Ralph hitched up the team, and Steve, a friend of mine, and I accompanied him on our saddle horses down to the paved road. Snoose hitched a ride on the buggy with Ralph. I’m sure the "Wayan Welcome Wagon" was the least elegant greeting she ever received! The day in the marsh, working with the birds and riding an air boat had been exciting, but when she saw us, her look of surprise was evident. Halfway down the lane Snoose fell out of the buckboard and cried all the way to the house, going as fast as her stubby little legs could get her there. Puppies are magnets. Within a few minutes she was sitting in Cheryl’s lap exchanging kisses! Let me tell you, there was more than one of us who wished we were a black lab pup for just a few minutes!

Anyway, as we started to serve, I explained to Cheryl the menu consisted of a "diet plate" and some Dutch oven cookin’. When told what a "Honeymoon Salad" was, all she said was, "I’ll pass". Besides eating her share, she drank a couple of cool malted beverages and complimented the cooks, just like everybody else.

A Back Country Guide to Outdoor Cooking Spiced with Tall Tales - Camp Cooking with Dutch Ovens

This _Cooking for VIPs recipe is from the Cee Dub's Dutch Oven and Other Camp Cookin' Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

"I must say this is the best recipe software I have ever owned."

"Your DVO cookbook software saves me time and money!"
-Mary Ann

"Call it nutrition software, meal planning software, cooking software, recipe manager, or whatever you want. It is the software I use to stay healthy!"

"Your software is the best recipe organizer and menu planner out there!"

"Thank you so very much for creating such a wonderful cooking recipe program. I think this is the best recipe program there is!"

"I saw lots of recipe software for PC computers but I was having a hard time finding really good mac recipe software. I'm so glad I discovered Cook'n! It's so nice to have all my recipes in a computer recipe organizer. Cook'n has saved me so much time with meal planning and the recipe nutrition calculator is amazing!!!

My favorite is the Cook'n Recipe App.