Monday, January 23, 2012

Pioneer Trek!

I checked my email this morning and found a note from a neighbor in my small town. She was recently appointed to be the "food chair" for the Pioneer Trek which will be reenacted this summer. In this celebration of Mormon history, teenage boys and girls don old-timey looking clothes and pull carts through the mountains to re-enact the handcart disasters of 1856. My neighbor saw the blog and thought it looked like a fantastic resource, and wondered why we hadn't chatted sooner.

And then I realized I haven't really written much about trail food here on the blog.

I think I should establish a "Pioneer Trek" area of the blog that is accessible only by a subscription fee. I could give lots of explicit recipes and diary entries, tailored specifically for LDS Pioneer Trek leaders. Wouldn't that be a gold mine? Priestcraft here I come!

But back to the subject, I forwarded this lovely little quote I found in the diary of John Jacques, who was part of the Martin/Willie disaster. He was talking about the handcart company, accompanied by several beeves intended for slaughter, crossing a long waterless stretch of prairie. When the beeves finally smelled the water hole ahead for that night's campsite, they stampeded to the water and wallowed around in it. Jacques wrote, “But it was all the water available and so it was used to cooking purposes— making coffee, tea, bread and porridge or hasty pudding, which when made was quite black, but was eaten and drunk nevertheless.”

So then we would need to put this together with another primary source telling us about "hasty pudding." You can find such references in Eliza Leslie's Directions for Cookery, 1853. Its basically gruel made from either flour or cornmeal. Sounds tasty eh? I'll have to check back to make sure they put some mud or dirt in, just for accuracy. Shall I submit an invoice to the Stake President? Or just write it off as in-kind tithing?