Cookbook: A gift of food and history | Arts & Entertainment

Relatives still coming or need to send out a gift to someone you won’t be able to see this year? Give them a unique gift — part Arizona history, part storytelling and part cookbook with recipes from historic Arizona restaurants found in “Tastes and Treasures II: A Storytelling Cookbook of Historic Arizona.”

Think Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn, El Chorro, Stockyards, Bisbee’s Cafe Roka, Tubac’s Wisdom Cafe.

There are brief biographies and food recipes from Arizona history makers. Learn of notables such as Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and past President of Arizona State University, Dr. Lattie Coor.

Winner of five awards, “Tastes and Treasures II: A Storytelling Cookbook of Historic Arizona” ($30) was published by the nonprofit Historical League supporting the Arizona Heritage Center (an Arizona Historical Society Museum). It is 216 pages, hardcover with full-color photos.

The book includes a recipe from Rim Country resident Marshall Trimble.

Trimble’s Tasty Cowboy Beans

1 pound dried pinto beans

1 pound salt pork, rind removed and chopped

1 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cloves garlic, chopped, to taste

1 teaspoon garlic salt, to taste

2 jalapenos, seeded, cored and chopped

1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (optional)


Place beans on a rimmed baking sheet, removing any rocks or blemished beans. Place beans in a colander and rinse well, transfer to a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. The next day, place all remaining ingredients, except beans and jalapenos, in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat to a low boil. Simmer from 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, adding more water as necessary, until the meat is falling off the bones. Remove the bones from the pot. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat, returning it to the pot. Skim off any fat from the top of the pot.

Drain beans; add them plus the jalapenos to the pot. Bring to a simmer, keeping the water level above the beans while cooking. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender. Season to taste, adding the salt, pepper and garlic salt as needed. For more heat, add the chipotle chile powder, a half-teaspoon at a time. Keep leftover beans in a covered container in the refrigerator. Beans improve after three or four days. This recipe is easily doubled for a large crowd.

Trimble is Arizona’s official state historian. He is a popular speaker and author. In “Tastes and Treasures II: A Storytelling Cookbook of Historic Arizona,” he shares a bit about his family and this favorite recipe.

Trimble’s Tasty Cowboy Beans is now in its third generation and it might be the last because the next generation of Trimble boys has hightailed it to other parts.

The Trimbles came to San Antonio, Texas in 1840 and my father spent his early years in Del Rio where he cultivated a taste for hot, spicy Mexican dishes. During the 1940s and ’50s we lived in Ash Fork, Ariz. on Route 66. Dad was an engineer on the Santa Fe Railroad and was on the road a lot. But when he was home, he’d always cook up his specialty, Cowboy Beans, and we’d feast on them for a week. He experimented like some mad scientist with his spices for years until it was perfected.

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