Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Famous Faces

I'm sorry its been a while since I wrote. I went on Pioneeeer Trek, and then we went camping, and then there was the Fiddle Festival in Idaho, and then we opened our produce stand. Its been busy.

Here's a brief recap of trek: the food sucked, except for the last day when we had a feast of smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, baked potato, etc. I had to leave for a day for a meeting down in town, and that disrupted the rising times for the sourdough I had planned to make. It rained and rained and that got in the way too. So the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

For your quick little food fact for today, consider this diary entry from John D. Lee. Yes, he's the one who in 1856 helped to massacre 200 wagon immigrants on the trail to California in the name of Mormonism (Mountain Meadows). After the massacre, he went into hiding for a short time, but talked a lot about his role. He was eventually captured and found guilty at trial, and executed twenty years after the massacre. At the time of this entry, he is in hiding near New Harmony in southern Utah.

"May 15, 1859 About 8 at night Aggathean, Rachel and Caroline, my first 3 wives, met near the east line of my pasture fence. They embraced me in their arms and wept with joy and sorrow. Brought with them excellent supper consisting of roast beef, short cake, pies, eggs, pancakes, butter and molasses.”

The next day he wrote:
"May 16, 1859 About 8 o'clock P.M. Rachel, Maryleah, Terressa, my wives, met me with hot coffee, beef steak, crab, custard, etc.”

Lee was famous for his polygamy as well as for the massacre, and boasted of his sexual prowess with his wives. Apparently, for their part the wives were handy with a dutch oven. These two menus give a good representative sample of what I think would have been common for special occasion meals. Everyday meals would more likely be just one dish with bread.

Hope your summer is treating you well. Peas are on now, also cherries. Corn is knee-high or better, and cukes are starting on. Squash is in flower. Beans are about to blossom. Happy eating!


Cowboy Curtis said...

They ate crab? What would that be, crawfish?

Brock said...

No, more likely canned crab. Grocery advertisements in the Deseret News in the 1850s offered canned crab, lobster and oysters. But there is a possibility that it is a food by a different name that we're not familiar with. "Oysters" often referred to a corn bread muffin. I'm not sure if "crab" is a euphemism for something else. Most likely its canned crab.

Scarehaircare said...

Had I known that you were going to the Weiser Fiddle Festival, I would have invited you to stop by on your way. We could have debated the merits of our separate biscuit recipes during a biscuit bake-off while our families enjoyed the product. :)

Jana said...

I have a question that maybe you can answer, can you email me at seshet (at) mindless.com? Thanks!

Brock said...

Hey Jana, check your email.

Tawna said...

I can't believe you went to the Fiddle Festival and didn't stop in. You know we would feed you like kings.

Tawna said...

P.S. I made custard last week. I kind of liked it. The kids were unimpressed. Grandma S. used to make it all the time, and was surprised to hear that Mom had never made it for us once. So yes, traditions do change over time. For instance, I will NEVER force feed my children mush of any kind.