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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Circus employees eat, sleep and travel on 61-car train
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus head chef Michael Vaughn hangs out in the pie car between cooking meals. Located in a rail car, this is where many of the circus staff's meals are prepared. Free Starbucks coffee and danishes are available for the staff every morning.
- C. Aluka Berry
/caberry@thestate.com
Thursday, Feb. 03, 2011By OTIS R. TAYLOR JR. - otaylor@thestate.com
The bone-in rib-eye was prepared medium, almost rare. The beef’s red juices flowed recklessly on a white plate after each slice of the knife.
I didn’t consider adding salt and pepper as I devoured the steak placed before me. I was successful, even after a small choking incident. More on that later.
On Tuesday, I had lunch on the Pie Car of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey train. The train isn’t just the mode of transportation for the circus performers and staff; it’s also where they live while touring the country. And the Pie Car is their cafeteria or dining hall, the place where Mike Vaughn and his staff cook to order.

Located in a rail car, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus' pie car is where many of the circus staff's meals are prepared. - C. Aluka Berry /caberry@thestate.com

From grilled cheese to cheeseburgers to steaks, one can request just about anything when the rail car is open, including breakfast all day. Cooks also will “Torres” any item.
“That just means they want an egg on that,” Vaughn said, referring to the family of motorcycle daredevils who put seven bikes into a 16-foot sphere and then race around at 70 miles per hour.
The family, from Paraguay, always asks for eggs on their food.
Though I was tempted, I didn’t ask for an egg, and I didn’t ask Vaughn or his two assistants to clean the grill before they made our steaks. But that’s something the Pie Car staff will do for those who don’t eat pork.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus sous chef Mark Guzman prepares scallops in the pie car. Located in a rail car, this is where many of the circus staff's meals are prepared. - C. Aluka Berry /caberry@thestate.com
Each morning, 71/2 gallons of coffee — Starbucks coffee! — is brewed, and about four dozen pastries are baked, Vaughn said, handing me a freshly brewed cup as the meat hissed on the grill. The aroma tickled my nose.
The train is parked in a bleak train yard that stretches parallel to Shop Road. Two buses, which also travel on the train, ferry circus performers to and from the arena and places like Walmart, Keith Anderson said.
Read more: http://www.thestate.com/2011/02/03/1676870/and-in-this-car.html#ixzz1CtOrw2Y7

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