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Jeanie has a life that I sometimes wish for (but I think I’m too much of a wimp for). She has chickens (I really want a chicken coop), raises her own meat (I think I may become too emotionally attached) and is an amazing cook. She also came in as #2 in our community poll to find out who was the best food blogger of 2011. Getting to know Jeanie was as much of a delight as reading her blog: Cowgirl’s Country Life. If she is not on your blog roll, she should be. Want a sneak peak? We got a chance to speak with her and find out more about her life and blog.

FriendsEAT: Jeanie, congratulations on taking the #2 spot for the Best Food Blogger of 2011. When did you first hear about the contest?

Jeanie:  Thank you so much! I am honored to be included in your contest and amazed at the outcome! Thank you to all who voted for my blog… I appreciate it. I heard about the contest on Sept. 21st…Three days before the end of the contest. Cooking friend Marty contacted me to say he tossed my blog’s name into the ring.

FE: Where did you grow up and was this an inspiration to start your blog?

Jeanie: I grew up in rural Oklahoma. A relative talked me into starting the blog as a place to store pictures of my projects… building the smokehouse, raising shrimp, etc.. I didn’t plan on posting about the things that I cook when I started the blog

FE: For those who have not read your blog, how would you describe it?

Jeanie: It’s hard to describe. I blog about the things I enjoy doing here in the country and one of them is cooking for friends. I raise beef, pork, poultry and a garden. I enjoy living and eating with the seasons, providing food for my table by either raising, foraging or hunting in my area. I’m an avid huntress…mainly deer, dove, quail and other small game. I also love fishing. I can or preserve what I raise, hunt and forage for use year round. I blog about many forms of outdoor cooking, from backyard grilling, BBQing, hot and cold smoking, cinderblock pit cooking, to cooking over an open fire in a tractor rim or burying whole hogs underground to slow smoke overnight. I raise my own pork, cure and cold smoke bacon, hams, venison and numerous other items in my smokehouse. (Salts, sugars, seasonings, nuts, olives, honey, cheeses, etc..) Cold smoked clover honey on a hot handmade sopapilla is to die for.  Apple and pecanwood smoked olive tapenade is another item I couldn’t live without!

FE: What is a typical day in your life like?

Jeanie: Each day varies… The animals definately come first. Feeding, watering, providing anything they need. Gathering eggs and turning the hens out to spend the day chasing bugs around the farm. If all is well outside I do my paperwork and computer work during the afternoon and then it’s back out to repair, paint, build, or mend anything on the neverending list of things that need my attention. I try to cook outside at least once a week, more during the summer. I love cooking for friends on weekends.

FE: What was your childhood kitchen like?

Jeanie: Mom was an excellent cook and made everything from scratch. Hot biscuits in the morning and homemade gumbo in the evening. She baked bread almost daily. She put love into her food. My childhood kitchen was small with a kitchen table covered with home made jellies and breads. The aroma from that small room was incredible. :)

FE: What is your kitchen like now?

Jeanie: I live in an old ranch house so the kitchen isn’t fancy, which suits me just fine. I enjoy cooking for large gatherings and have two ovens. My friends know that if they leave my house hungry, it’s their own fault. :) I make most things from scratch, it’s just easier for me. I usually have the bulk ingredients on hand so keeping boxed prepared foods is not really needed. I have a huge pantry and my cellar is stocked with home canned goods and a freezer. It’s the way I was raised, part of country living. I might not go to a town or store for a week or two. There is no need. If I’m snowed in or bad weather hits, it doesn’t phase me.

FE: Who reads your blog now?

Jeanie: It’s amazing how the love of cooking can bring folks together. I have met many talented people across Europe….. Austria, Croatia, England, Ireland, South Africa, Germany Spain, the Netherlands.. (I know I’m leaving some out ) Most are interested in my smokehouse and cold smoking. Some are excellent BBQers.  I have friends in Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, Bolivia, New Zealand, Australia, Guam. Canada and all across the US. It’s interesting to share cooking styles, recipes and ingredients with them. I even have an official team t-shirt sent to me by the LowLand Smokers competition BBQ team in the Netherlands. They are a great group! My blog was mentioned in the Dutch magazine “Delicious” and was the featured spotlight blog in the Better Homes and Gardens newsletter not long ago. I’m one of the featured guest bloggers on the Char Broil Live site… which I love.

FE: How do you feel about bacon?

Jeanie: Bacon is one of my favorite food groups. :) Raising my own pork and making my own bacon gives me so many options on the final product. I control what goes into the pork and I control the curing and smoking process. Hickory smoked bacon wrapped bacon is a treat that you can’t find in a store.. you have to make your own. Chickenfried cold smoked steakhouse canadian bacon over an open fire is heavenly! Fried potato and ham smoked breakfast fatties wrapped in a bacon weave are pretty tasty too. I wouldn’t eat bacon every day, like my friend’s 103 yr old grandfather did…. but I enjoy it often. :)

FE: Do you have a favorite restaurant? If so, what is it and why?

Jeanie: No favorite restaurant. I’ve tasted some fine food from Miami to Houston to Los Angeles and Honolulu. I’m content dining in a friend’s backyard or by a campfire.

FE: What is your favorite ingredient?

Jeanie: Probably garlic, next to chocolate and bacon, garlic is my favorite thing.

FE: What is your opinion on foodtertainment?

Jeanie: I don’t watch a lot of tv, I just don’t have the time. One show I really loved was Steven Rinella’s “The Wild Within” on the Travel Channel. I could relate to what the show was about. Providing food for your table by hunting, then preparing the harvest at the end of the show. I have a lot of respect for him as a hunter. He doesn’t waste anything or take anything for granted. I would like to see more down home or country cooking shows. Nothing fancy…just simple down home cookin’.

FE: Where do you see your blog in five years?

Jeanie: I know I will still be ranching, hunting, fishing, camping and cooking. If time allows I will still blog. I’ve been asked to make a book.. I’m still thinking about that. Not sure if the world needs another cookbook.

FE: What is your favorite food blog?

Jeanie: I enjoy several food blogs. It’s hard to pick just one. Jeffery Mickelson’s Nose to Tail blog is great. Jeffery is a talented chef in the Yukon. He also takes full advantage of the wonderful wild foods around him.

FE: What is the most important food issue today? What do you think is its solution?

Jeanie: The fact that we live in one of the greatest countries in the world yet still have children that go hungry every day. That really bothers me. I don’t have a solution but I do contribute to my local food banks.

FE: use this spot to let me know about anything that you’d like to convey to our community. I’ll work on incorporating it into the interview.

Jeanie: I can’t think of anything else at the moment Blanca.. Hope I didn’t post too much! lol I tried to keep the answers short but didn’t do such a great job!

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