When threshing season graced the North Dakota Plains, workers were needed for various jobs. Workers were needed to operate the steam engine, or tractor, hitched to the threshing machine. In addition, workers were needed to haul the grain from the threshing to the farm granary or the elevator in town. All these people needed to be fed after a hard day's work. One solution was the cook car, which followed the threshing crew. Usually young women worked in these kitchens on wheels, preparing the large amounts of food consumed by the workers
The hours were long and the days were hot. The day began at 4 a.m. Earning a wage of one dollar per day, the women would set out clean towels, soap and water for the men to wash both morning and evening. They would then set tables, prepare meals, and wait on the men who the men were eating. Some types of foods that were prepared in the cook cars were sourdough pancakes, breads, cookies, pies and doughnuts. Baking was done on a coal and wood stove. Breakfast was toast or pancakes, eggs and bacon, or hot cereal. Other meals were usually comprised of meat, potatoes and various other vegetables.