California Raisins

Frontier-Fare-Hermit-Rasin-CookiesSince raisins are nothing more than dried grapes, they came from wine-producing regions. In the early 1800s, they were largely imported from Spain. But as California began experimenting with grapes, that trend slowly changed.

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Sitting Duck

Scotch Barley Broth

In just one short year, the Brown Palace had become one of the leading hotels in the frontier West.

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Spicing Up the Frontier

FF_Ketchup-recipeElario Cardova, born in 1861 and raised in Texas, recalled the value of spices, “We obtained our berries and fruits from the wild vegetation in the woods…. Thus our fruit was obtained without the use of money.

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Milkshake Mix-Up

Strawberry-milk-shake_shaken-up-flavored-milkThe milkshake as we know it today, an ice cream drink, was created between 1911 and 1922, spun into a wholesome and delicious form by newly invented electric hand mixers and blenders.

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Beware of the Candied Cherries

Bing--Cherries_wine-candy-recipeFlorence Mildred Campbell was desperate to be the wife of John Rathom, a star reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1896, with whom she was having an affair. He had married her close friend, Mary, in 1890, but the couple was estranged.

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The Bitter Truth

Homemade-Horseradish-Kills-horsesI get hoarse after eating strong horseradish, but Henry Scammell felt otherwise. “Horseradish will afford instantaneous relief in most obstinate cases of hoarseness.

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Poverty Croquettes

Frontire-Potato-CroquettesCroquettes first appeared on English dinner tables in the 18th century. In the mid-1800s, Americans knew croquet as a lawn game. The food version didn’t become widely popular in the States until the late 1870s, twenty years after recipes for croquettes  began to be published.

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A Smatter of Smearcase

"I sometimes buy ‘cottage cheese’ of our milkman. My grandmother called it ‘smear-case.’ I spell it just as she pronounced it.

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Huber’s Café

how-to-mix-a-bamboo-cocktail_sherry-monahanLouis Eppinger, a five-foot-four, brown-eyed German immigrant, arrived in America in 1848. From the 1850s to the late 1880s, he managed and owned various saloons and hotels, in California and Oregon. In Portland, he opened the Bureau Saloon in 1879 and hired Frank Huber, former owner of the Cosmopolitan Saloon, to tend his bar. By 1890, Eppinger was managing the Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan, where he died at the age of 77 in 1908.

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Every Dog Has its Day

Coconut-Cake-recipeMark Twain’s critical view of the exotic coconut tree, which he described as a “feather-duster struck by lightning,” didn’t keep American pioneers from appreciating the fruit it bore.

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You Butter Believe It!

FF_beef-steak_sherry-monahanOne may expect that basic kitchen staples, like flour, sugar and butter, on the frontier were identical to what cooks use today, but our imaginations would be mistaken. The way they looked, were made and used were definitely different.

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The Bacon Cure

Pioneer-bacon-sandwich_jesse-jamesOn his way from Illinois to California in 1852, William Henry Hart wrote, “The bacon too that I had  always disliked even the sight of, became very good eating proving that nothing makes us relish our food as much as a good appetite.”

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Hamming it Up

ham-sandwich-sherry-monohanIn the mid-1800s, the word sandwich was almost synonymous with ham. If you ordered a sandwich, it was likely ham. The other two options were tongue and corned beef—all with mustard. A variety of lunch meat was not an option, and sandwiches did not become a mainstay noonday meal until around the turn of the 20th century.

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A Dangerous Eggnog

A Dangerous Frontier EggnogThe hens only lay egg-nog at Christmas-tide, but egg-nog will lay a man any time he tackles it,” reported the Idaho Avalanche on January 3, 1880. In 1881, The Herald in Omaha, Nebraska, also found eggnog a subject for humor: “Hens favor sobriety. They generally quit laying when the egg-nog season approaches.”

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A Cement Pudding

mountain-dew-cement-pudding"I remember a strawberry festival that featured a huge floating island pudding,” recalled Mrs. Ford, who lived in Canyon City, Oregon, after the 1862 gold strike, where her father ran The Dalles to Canyon City stage line for Wells Fargo.

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Lobsters on the Frontier

forntier-recipie--lobster-bisqueLobster salad, prepared by an inexperienced person who does not know what to exclude, is almost as dangerous as an unloaded gun in the hands of a full grown idiot!” reported The San Diego Weekly Union in 1889.

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The Beef Craze

sherry-monohan_jingle-cow-hamburgersNothing says the American West better than the word beef. The beef craze of the 1860s-80s inspired pioneers to create new recipes. The cattle trade forged paths like the Chisholm Trail and brought about barbed wire, an increased number of railways and farmers experimenting with cattle breeds.

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Olive a Good Joke

FF_colorful-history-of-olive-oilOlive trees made their way to California by way of the Spanish Missions run by Franciscan priests who imported the trees in the 1700s.

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Butter Me Up

butter bisquits"Mother said to father, while on the train and looking at the herds of cattle through the window: ‘We can be sure of one item of food and that is milk.’”

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Going Nuts Out West

frontier-fare_nut-cakePatients of Dr. J.H. Reeves, who settled in Glen Rose, Texas, in 1869, were often treated to tasty pecans that grew in the area.

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Bed and Biscuit

Huston-Countly-biscuitsIn 1834, Judge Joseph Huston converted his brick home in Arrow Rock, Missouri, into an inn to care for the thousands of pioneers who trekked west along the Spanish Trail every year.

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True Westerners

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Rick Wallner

The best book on Bent’s Fort is David Lavender’s Bent’s Fort , although Mark Lee G...

Justice for Jack

Justice for Jack

Pioneer Jack Swilling should be remembered for his many contributions to Arizona...

Liberty, Not Death

Liberty, Not Death

Children soothed their thirst by scraping their fingernails on barrack windows t...

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