My daughter texted me this morning:
Question… if you asked me how I wanted my eggs and I said “cowboy style,” what would that mean to you?
My answer (of course!) was “however they turn out.”
She said that was her understanding as well, but no one else she had consulted was familiar with that phrase in terms of egg cooking.
“Cowboy style” was pretty much how I got my eggs all the time growing up. They might be “over easy” if it was a hectic morning with little time for breakfast. If the cook (Mom) got distracted and the eggs stayed in the skillet too long, they became “over hard.” If the yolk happened to break, you got your eggs scrambled.
Was “cowboy style” just a Mom-ism? A more kid-friendly way of saying “you’ll get what you get and like it?”
That was fine with me. In fact, when my dad took to making omelets, he was soooooo slooooow at it, that I would have much preferred cowboy style. Come to think of it, when I make omelets now, I do them cowboy style. If they stick in the pan and start to break up or if I get impatient waiting for the eggs to set, the menu changes and they become scrambled eggs. No muss, no fuss (another great phrase, by the way).
A google search of “cowboy style cooking” came up with a posse of recipes with lots of “yee-haw,” “giddy up” phraseology, and even a reminder to “wipe the cow patties off your boots” before sitting down to eat. (Let me jus’ wrangle up an eye roll emoji right here, y’all.)
The definitions of cowboy style are myriad: easy to make, hearty, cooked all in one dish, cooked over the campfire, bone-in (so you can pick it up and eat it with your fingers), …
Then there’s the outlier (or should I say “outlaw-er”) recipe for Cowboy–Style Baby Green Salad with ingredients like shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
I would have imagined a cowboy salad to be more along the lines of a wedge of iceberg lettuce with Ranch dressing (out of the bottle), which coincidentally was also a staple of my mom’s recipe repertoire.
Well, boy howdy! I have a hankerin’ to rustle up some eggs now, so I reckon I’ll stop right here and mosey into the kitchen to make breakfast. Y’all have a great Sunday!