A tale of beef, beans, avocados and sausage

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The cooks at the Vail Cattle Company serve stew made of carne seca and beans, which are seen in the photo, with tortillas during cattle drives. Valley News/Courtesy photo
Rebecca Marshall Farnbach Special to Valley News It is no surprise that The Vail Cattle Company served beef to their cowboys. Every cookhouse meal featured platters of steak, beans and tortillas with full-bodied coffee and pie on the side. People said if you had business with the Vails, plan to arrive just before lunch so you would be invited to join them. Good food was a perk for working for the Vails. Cowhands had a comfortable place to sleep and enough food to fuel their exertions. Vail cooks prepared carne seca, beef jerky, for men to carry in their saddlebags. A hunk of uncooked beef roast was pounded thin, seasoned with salt, pepper and ground chiles. The raw beef was hung over ropes or fences to dry. To keep flies and bees away, muslin was sometimes put over it. After th
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