Recipes

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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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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Death by Rolling Pin?

Lemon-cookies_sherry-monahan_frontier-receipesWho knew a kitchen gadget, wielded by an angry wife, could cure a drunken husband? Businessman Francis Murphy of Omaha, Nebraska, “received” the cure in 1890.

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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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Drinking with the Friars

friar-Garcia-de-Zuniga_kolache.After moving to White Oaks, New Mexico, in 1886, Albert Zeigler was awaiting 10 gallons of “very fine wine,” as the pioneer put it, that ox teams were transporting from San Antonio. “When the keg came we were all so anxious to get a good drink,” he recalled, “but when we opened the keg you can imagine our great disappointment to find it filled with water. Someone had taken the wine out and filled the keg up with water.”

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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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Summer Harvest Beer

summer-harvest-beer-ginger-beer_lemonsGinger beer is the favorite drink in all parts of the country for use in harvest time, and is probably the very best for such use.

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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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Hammin’ It Up Out West

Ham-and-eggs-western-style"All the cookin’ o’ course was done at the fireplace….  Later, when we got pigs, father smoked ham an’ bacon for the winter. First after the hogs was killed, he’d make a heavy salt brine, then he’d rinse the hams

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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 Irish Influence

pioneer recipies_Fish-chowder_sherry-monahan"Reader, when at the big hotels, call for the dish on the bill of fare called, ‘fillet de bouf et pommes de terre hachis a l’Hibernais,’ and you will get the hash of the kind known to the unlearned as ‘Irish stew,’” wrote The Oregonian in 1870.

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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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Sourdough

sherry monahan_sourdough bread"I made a splendid batch of bread the day we came.... Besides the bother of making bread so often, we have to make the yeast here about once a week. It’s made of potatoes, hops, salt and sugar. One cupful of old yeast is put into it to start the new batch, which is then put away to rise in a large stone jar in a cool place.”

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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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Fine Fruitcakes

pioneer-christmas-fruitcake"Inmates of various boarding-houses shudder to think of the vast amount of turkey and fruitcake leftover from the feast of yesterday,” wrote San Francisco’s Daily Evening Bulletin of New Year’s Day dinner in 1873. The reporter added these inmates already know these leftovers will be “occupying a premium position on the dinner-table for several weeks to come.”

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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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Thanksgiving on the Frontier

frontiier-cranberry-pudding“This is Thanksgiving, which is celebrated by us by partaking of a dinner of wild ducks roasted, stewed quails, mince pie and a very fine watermelon just picked from the vines, all of which we heartily enjoyed.”

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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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Hangtown Fry

ecipe-frontier-fry_eggs-bacon-oysters“We had gone into Hangtown one night for provisions, when we heard that a great strike had been made at a place called Coon Hollow, about a mile distant. One man was reported to have taken out that day about $1,500,” recalled Edinburgh-born artist John David Borthwick, of his 1851 tour of Hangtown’s gold fields.

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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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County Fair Fixin’s

Strawberry-Wine_western-wines“At Healdsburg, the first county fair, we received a silver butter knife for the best butter,” recalled Mrs. Eliza Gregson, who had arrived in California’s Sonoma County in 1848.

County fairs began as a way for local farmers and ranchers to show off their prized animals, agriculture and the products made from both.

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True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

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