Gypsy Wagon June/July 2023

By Betty Jo Gigot Publisher


One of my favorite places in the world is celebrating their 40th year in business. Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Texas, is a treasure and focus of so many fond memories for me. Where else would a friendly cat sit under your table as you eat real Texas cuisine? The cow chewing her cud out the window adds authenticity to the experience, and owners Tom and Lisa Perini, make the perfect hosts for a real-life experience. My late husband, Dean, would have killed for a piece of their bread pudding with Maker’s Mark Whiskey Sauce, and each of our kids has a copy of the Perini Ranch Cooking cookbook and all use their seasoning salt.

I first met Tom on a publicity trip to Monterrey, Mexico, with the Texas Beef Council and told his story in an issue of CALF News many years ago. Who else do you know who has turned a chuckwagon into a James Beard Award-winning facility serving presidents, stars and, I’m sure, many of you? And the reason was so important … it saved the ranch. The celebration includes a new book, Celebrating Forty Years with Tom and Lisa and a podcast called Meet Me at the Wagon. I wish Tom and Lisa all the best in the years to come and encourage all of you to stop by and enjoy a real experience in dining.

Also in the old file was the story I did on Ruth Fertel with Ruth’s Chris Steak House. I wrote an update on her recently in Recollections and was interested that the corporation she founded sold last week. Ruth went to the bank and borrowed about $25,000 all those years ago. The sale price, to the owners of Olive Garden, etc., was $715 million. Yes, like the Perinis, Ruth was part of the American Dream, selling beef and hospitality.

Talking about how people spend their money, none of us was surprised with the report recently about the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). A think tank report revealed they only use 2 percent of their budget for shelters. From their report, tax filings show the nonprofit had $390 million in revenue and $575 million in assets, which included $11 million in an offshore account. That sure would save a lot of animals but, instead, is slated to be used to shut down animal agriculture.

I know everyone is busy these days adjusting to the new regulations in antibiotic and implant use taking effect in June. Veterinarians and nutritionists are all busy making sure their clients are up on the specific regulations. Here’s hoping it happens seamlessly.

In other news, the emphasis on artificial intelligence is discussing synthetic media, which I guess would mean you can look forward to a good-looking robot writing this column while I sit on the beach. I haven’t seen any AI about how ranchers and feeders can be replaced. Think you all are safe.

The best news is we had a little rain in southwest Kansas and my NASCAR driver, Martin Truex, won a race in Dover. As we face hot weather, feed shortages and fluctuating cattle prices, summer is always a challenge. Let’s hope that goes seamlessly also. Have a good one.