Friday, March 13, 2009

Beef Recipe from the Late 60's - What does it tell us about beef 40 years ago?

I've had some time on my hands lately, and one thing I've done is browse through some of my late mother-in-law's many cookbooks. I just love cookbooks, they tell as much about a period in our history as, well, probably as much as a history book in our schools today. We know our school history texts today are skewed and stretched and squashed together bits of information on life in our great country since our English, French, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh and more cousins first settled this great country some 300 plus years ago (I count way before 1776, just so you know :).

But, those old cook books are NOT telling any lies, changing any facts to suit a social agenda. The cookbook is the agenda, and the women who pulled together the recipes, unknowingly pulled together and left for us a glimpse into their lives, and life in general in the good old USA.

Here's a recipe from a 1968 "Favorite Recipes from Country Kitchens - Casseroles Edition". It particularly struck my eye as it calls for the use of "beef suet" rendered in a skillet for the fat, and the fat is then used to brown the ground beef. Makes me think that just maybe the ground beef back in those days was NOT full of water and fat like supermarket ground beef is today. What do you think?


Chopped Beef Suet
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 10 1/2 oz. can tomato soup
1 soup can water
1 tsp. salt
Dash of black pepper
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 12-oz. can whole kernel corn
1/2 c. chopped green pepper

Render beef suet in thick skillet over moderate heat until there is grease enough to brown meat. Remove rendered suet; stir in ground beaf and onion. Mix and brown lightly. Pour off excess fat and add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes. Turn into 1 1/2 quart greased casserole. Pour Corn Bread Topping on top of meat mixture. Bake in 350 degree oven 30 to 40 minutes or until Corn Bread topping is done and brown-crusted.


3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp. sugar (I'd need more sugar than this, probably 3 Tbsp.)
1 tsp.salt
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. soda
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. bacon drippings

Measure the 6 dry ingredients and sift together into bowl. Make a well in center; add egg mixed with buttermilk and bacon drippings. Mix well.
Yield: 6 - 8 servings

Found the following desert recipe at, may be the perfect complement to old-fashioned Railroad Pie!

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
1 c. raisins
1 c. cherries or other fruit, drained well
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cream of tartar or baking powder
1 tsp. soda
Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour with the soda and cream of tartar and put together in usual manner. Put in baking dish and cook at 325 degrees until it looks done, about 50 minutes.
1/2 c. butter
2 well beaten eggs
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 c. sugar
1 c. boiling water
Beat all ingredients together, cook over low heat. Then add another cup of water, stir well then serve on pudding. May only want to use 1/2 cup of extra water.


Yes, I know, this is a blog for British White Cattle! But, exceptions have to be made sometimes, and I think this is one of them. This photo is of a very nice-looking registered Red Angus bull that needs a good home, a good job, and a good life for several more years. Here is the text of the ad found at

"Five year old registered ease of calving bull. Guaranteed breeder. I am 73 and sold my small herd of mother cows. I don't want to sell him for slaughter as he is a gentle old friend and I want him to have several more years. He could easily bring my price at livestock sales. Great Bull for heifers."

Price $1150

Contact Information

Contact Name Bob Fritzler City Keenesburg
State Colorado
ZIP 80643
Country United States
View Map Click Here to view map of area
Telephone 303 732 4880

Follow this link for more photos of this good-looking Red Angus bull.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

White Park Brewery in Bedfordshire - Make a refreshing stop at this unique brewery on your next visit to England!

"A Bedfordshire based brewery with a passion for all things natural and wholesome. The brewery is sited in a farm courtyard barn and run by a team of enthusiastic brewers! The name of the brewery evolves from the owner's love of keeping rare breed animals, including White Park cattle, an ancient Britsh breed famed for its good eating - especially when fed spent malt from a brewery! Good eating of course goes hand in hand with a great pint..."

It is always interesting to find new web sites of other breeders of both polled British White and horned White Park cattle in the UK.  Recently, Alan Kelly of the White Park Brewery in  Bedfordshire very kindly contacted me to let me know of a quite unfortunate spelling error on one of my pages.  I most appreciated his taking the time to do that!

Alan has quite an interesting operation, and one that I suspect is a quite natural fit.  Follow the link in the title above to Alan's web site and your mouth will water for a taste of his various White Park ales and porters, as well as a taste of his rare White Park beef fed 'spent malt' -- no doubt that makes for some uniquely flavorful beef.  
Should I be so fortunate as to make another trip to the UK in the coming years, I plan on adding a stop at the White Park Brewery to my itinerary.  Certainly memorable from my prior visit was looking forward at each new stop to trying the local brew in a colorful pub.  Having a pint and some good conversation seemed the most natural thing in the world there, and I swear I think English brew is actually healthy.  

I encourage everyone to have a look at the White Park Brewery web site. They have a very nice herd of White Park cows, and it is well worth noting that in this herd the pedigree cattle have lyric shaped horns that are tipped in black, which is consistent with old descriptions of the original horned 'milch white' Park cattle of old.

You will also find photos of White Park 'cross' animals, and sometimes the black tipped horn comes through, and sometimes not. But, of the photos of crossbred calves I looked at, the White Park color pattern, excepting horn tip color, dominated on the cross. The photo above is a White Park 'cross' female that did retain classic Park markings, including black tipped lyric shaped horns. She's quite a nice looking girl.

The size of the Brewery's White Park cattle appear to be fairly moderate, nothing of an extreme nature struck my eye. And of course the Shetland cattle, which the Brewery has a small herd of as well, are very moderate to small framed cattle.

Cheers to Alan Kelly and the White Park Brewery!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

BeefTalk: There Is No Profit From Calves That Cost $2.80 Per Pound?

Source: Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, North Dakota State Ag Extension

I found this article of great interest. There is NO mention of the breed of bull chosen to cover these 26 heifers. However, great care was given to selection in terms of documented EPD's, and this bull's numbers fell in the sought after top percentile for key EPD's.

Despite this, the Dickinson Center had a miserable ~30% dead or difficult calving percentage. That costs money, not just the $2.80 a pound ceasarian births, but the assists, and the deaths, as well. Such calving results are virtually unheard of in any British White herd of cattle. And we certainly don't have to worry about 'ornery' heifers that want to hurt us -- another potentially costly event.

In today's economic environment cattle producers should start thinking more about the costs of these 2000 pound plus high pedigree, drowning in EPD's bulls. The cost of their potentially big calves born, or not born, successfully to heifers, is not a cost any small producer can bear.

The British White breed is small in numbers, we do not have sophisticated EPD's for use in choosing sires and dams -- but do we really need them to add value to our breed? I don't think so. The British White breed naturally puts low birth weight calves on the ground that grow off with vigor, fatten well on grain or grass, and grade 80% plus choice and better under traditional feedlot production.


"The Dickinson Research Extension Center started calving with mixed results. The weather has not been horrendous and the first-calf heifers are up close. the first calf born, however, was dead. The feeling of seeing the desire and efforts of a cow that wants to be a mother and is licking and nudging her dead calf is not good.

The second heifer was calving and having difficulty, so life moves on. The birth was assisted, but she ended up with a 96-pound calf. However, the heifer was belligerent and ornery. Her intent on inflicting damage to us or the calf was obvious, so out of the pen she went. She will spend her remaining days with us in the feedlot, but with us out of her reach.

Fortunately, heifer 7037 was still looking for a calf and adopted the calf with no questions asked. Sometimes things actually do work out.

The center has tried to keep birth weights low and calving ease high when selecting bulls for heifers. This year's sire of the calves was listed in the top 15 percent of the breed for calving ease and the top 45 percent of the breed for birth weight (the smaller birth weight expected progeny differences (EPD), the better).

The bull was a high-growth bull that is in the upper 15 percent of the breed for weaning weight, upper 10 percent for yearling weight and has very good carcass EPD values. The bull is a good bull, but is he a heifer bull?
In this case, the four calves that had difficult pulls or cesarean sections have averaged 84.5 pounds. Out of 26 heifers, we have lost three calves and assisted five births (one light assist). of the dead calves, two were born dead and the third was a cesarean section. Of the four difficult assisted births (other than the cesarean section), they are doing fine, but had big calves.

The four calves that needed assistance averaged 98 pounds and ranged from 92
to118 pounds. Of the 21 heifers that had no birthing problems, their calves averaged 82 pounds at birth and are doing fine.

Although hard to document, when a set of calving heifers are slow to recoup after calving and the calves are cumbersome at best, you should know you are pushing the envelope. We pushed the limits and created a manageable, but difficult situation.

Is the return for the added performance of the calves worthwhile? We will wait and see, but I can tell you it costs $2.80 a pound to produce a calf through cesarean section. There is no profit from calves that cost $2.80 per pound and have no heartbeat."

Your comments are always welcome at

Flip Video - A Great No-Brainer Tool for Cattle Promotion

A few months back, Morris Halliburton, of Halliburton Farms in Bells, Texas, told me about about a neat little camcorder that was easy to use. I checked it out and knew I'd really like to have one. Well I got lucky, and Santa Claus brought me one for Christmas! I've only lately started putting it to use, and it has been fun and really easy to work with.
It's smaller than a pack of cigarettes; it's so small you might even lose track of it in your purse! So I highly recommend a good case for it. I'm using a hard leather cell phone case for mine; and the clip comes in handy to keep it safely handy in one spot in your purse, your pocket, or your belt.
You can also make still photos from it, and oftentimes they are better photos than I can take with a standard still camera -- at least better posed फोटोस।The video quality is not perfect। The really really nice HD video camera I have takes awesome quality video in comparsion -- but, that doesn't much matter if the software is too much of a pain to work with to get it from the camera to the computer and then to the web!
For a video of my handsome herd bull, JWest's Elvis, follow this link to it's location on Youtube captured from my Flip Video camera