When I was a kid learning to cook, cookbooks just seemed to be lists of recipes and maybe a few sections about measurements and conversion charts. Either I was reading the wrong cookbooks, or else they just got a whole lot better. The Cowboy’s Cookbook by Sherry Monahan is a perfect example. It’s has all of the things you need to make a wide variety of Western food, from Steaks and biscuits to Son of a B. Stew. It also casts its net a bit more broadly, giving recipes for desserts, and more sophisticated fare. Where it really shines, though, is in the rest of the material. Ms. Monahan gives us wonderful sections on the vernacular of cowboys, the history of the Chuck Wagon, and much more. It’s all written with flair, and so much affection that Ms. Monahan could almost jettison the recipes. I also really enjoyed the design of the book, which is charming with just the right old-fashioned look.