Locomotive Manifold Menus

The Iron Caterpillar
Outside Seneca, NE

Following the BNSF railroad through the Nebraska Sandhills, I wonder what life’s like aboard the rumbling iron caterpillar. Meet Gene Hansen, who’ll tell you what it tastes like…. Also, mule Polly and I are still in a signin’ and shippin’ mood.

Signing a copy of the “Too Proud” travel book atop the Harlan County Dam
South of Republican City, Nebraska

Hot food. It’s always on my mind as I travel from Canada to Mexico aboard my mule wagon. Trouble is, to cook food, I have to fire up my thirty-year old Optimus cooker.

Poke Weed ala Optimus cooker

That means unhitching mule Polly, priming the stove’s burner with gasoline, tossing a match into the pool of Regular Unleaded and waiting for the ensuing fireball to settle to a manageable blue flame. While the greasy black smoke settles, I chase down Polly who’s afraid of open flames.

Small wonder I live on bread and fruit.

A hot meal’s often on Gene Hansen’s mind, too. Only he doesn’t rely on a cooker that offers steaming rice and third degree burns at equal odds. Gene, a locksmith and conductor for the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) railroad, doesn’t even stop working when he craves a Cornish game hen.

Gene Hansen
Seneca, NE

Nope. When he’s riding the rails, Gene cooks directly on the locomotive engine.

Recently, I visited with Gene at his mother Sandy’s home in Seneca, Nebraska. Over a loaf of banana nut bread, Gene showed me a copy of his book “Manifold Menus: Rail Road Cookbook”.

You can download a copy of Manifold Menus right here. To listen to our discussion, complete with trains rolling by, click on the audio player below.

Anne Magnison
2015-09-27 22:27:38

Where can I get a copy of this???

Bernie Harberts
2015-09-30 10:39:02

Dang, sorry to see the “Manifolds Menus” PDF is no longer available for download. I’ll check to see if I have a copy backed up somewhere.

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