While researching South Dakota and Wyoming locations for "Western Justice" my wife and I ate in quite a few local cafes. Listening to the conversations around us helped me pick up on local jargon, issues, and a few great plots. Speaking to a waitress in a cafe a few miles from Jewel Cave National Monument, I explained I was writing a book set in the Black Hills. "Well, if you're writing about here, you should try some of the local food!" The waitress left without taking my order (my wife had already ordered a salad and iced tea before the waitress departed).
Looking around at the cow's skulls, mounted buffalo heads, deer antlers, lariats, saddles, boots, and other rusty ranch gear decorating the rough-sawn pine walls, I saw a blackboard with the daily specials. Seizing up, I tried to flag down the waitress. My wife was curious and asked, "What's wrong?"
Pointing at the blackboard, I said, "I think she's going to bring me a plate of Rocky Mountain oysters." That's a western euphemism for deep fried steer testicles. Unable to find out waitress, I settled in and prepared for the worst. While we waited, a pair of young boys, maybe ten or eleven years old, sat on stools at the bar. The bartender walked over and leaned on the bar. "Until you boys turn 21, or can ride a bull for eight seconds, you can't sit at the bar." Looking at my wife I smiled. That line will show up in a Fletcher mystery at some point.
A few minutes later, the waitress appeared with our platter of food. Bracing myself for the worst, the waitress served my wife, then set a burger and a dark beer in front of me. "The Rocky Mountain oysters come on a bun?" I asked.
The waitress snorted a laugh. "We only have them in the spring, during the branding and castrating season. I got you a glass of Buffalo Snot and a Bison burger."
Pointing at the backboard, I asked, "But your board says Rocky Mountain oysters are the special."
A wicked smile came to her face. "We keep that up just for the tourists. Nobody ever orders the oysters, but I'm sure they all go home and tell their friends they ate in a restaurant that served them. On the other hand, you'll be able to tell your readers you drank a glass of Buffalo Snot. Enjoy your meal!"
I'm reporting that the Buffalo Snot (a dark beer from a local micro-brewery) and the Bison burger were both excellent.
For the record, I don't plan on driving back during the branding and castrating season. I avoid oysters of any variety.
Check out "Western Justice" at my BWL page or on Amazon.
Books We Love author page: https://bookswelove.net/hovey-dean/
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/.../Dean-L.-Hovey/author/B00J78JMLY