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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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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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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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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