Cooking and food:
Standard fare is beans and rice, rice and beans, or beany
rice. They are lightweight, don't spoil, and they are found in
fur trade lists as being brought to rendezvous. Beans and
corn were also grown by the Missouri River tribes and
traded with other tribes in the Rockies.Beans can be
precooked till close to being done and then dehydrated so
in camp they don't take long to cook. Cereal grains like
rolled oats, cracked wheat to cook for breakfast, along with
some muscarvana or brown sugar to put on it. Raisins and
dried apples or other dried fruit taste good in it, too.
Meat we take frozen, wrapped in brown paper and keep it
in blanket weight wool bags which insulate and keep it
frozen a good while. Wild game meat is preferred, of
course but beef is acceptable. Smoked salmon is a treat
and can be bought at any grocery store. We freeze this, too.
Salt cured bacon can be kept without refrigeration, and salt
pork is another staple but must be frozen like the other
meat. Another way of keeping meat is to put pieces of
cooked meat into a tin of lard. As long as the meat pieces
don't touch each other or the sides of the tin, and the meat
is covered with the lard it won't spoil.
Don't forget the jerked meat and pilot bread. Parched corn
makes a good snack, you can add salt or sugar and
cinnamon for variety. Flour can be taken for bread on a stick
or ashcakes. Just mix it with water for a stiff dough and add
about 1/2 tsp. white ash from the fire for leavening, then
wrap it around a stick or put a patty on the coals to cook,
turning once. Pancakes of flour and water were a Sunday
treat at the forts.
All our food we carry in small cloth bags. No plastic,
remember. If you are on the trail, eat the perishable meat
the first three or four days and then go to the dried meat and
bacon. If you are in a camp, dig up a circle of sod, dig a
pretty deep hole where the sod was, put your food down in
the hole and replace the sod on top. That frozen food will
stay so nice and cool down there! Who needs a cooler! Our
food lasted a week this way. Another time, on a five day
ride, we just put the meat into a snow bank every night, and
this was in July! We ate fresh meat all 5 days.
Green coffee beans are browned in a frying pan if you are
ucky enough to have such a luxury item, then put in a bag
and pounded with a rock till fine. cook in a pot, when its
done, pour some cold water in to settle the grounds and
Canteens are a must these days as is a water filter. This is
one place where safety rules over period correctness. An
over the shoulder bag can carry your food. Our cooking
utensils are a small nesting set of pots, wooden spoons,
and tin cups. Sometimes we carry bowls, usually just eat
out of the pot or use the lid for a plate. If we pack a frying
pan it can also double as a plate.
If you're on a horse, the blankets folded in fourths become
your saddle blankets, the oilcloth makes a tiny roll behind
your saddle, and the food carry in Indian type saddle bags.
These are just a tube of buckskin with a slit cut in the
middle. Food goes in both ends and any extra clothes go in
where the slit is. Put it right on the seat of the saddle and the
clothes make extra padding on those long rides.
A trick for comfort is to dig a hip hole and shoulder hole. Lay
down and test the holes and make adjustments before you
lay out the blankets. Tying your blankets together at the foot
keeps cold drafts out.
For shelter, we set up the oilcloth diamond fly style, which is
very versatile. It can be tied to a tree limb, or a pole laid in
the middle and then staked out. It can even be set up like a
Diamond Fly set up with two poles
See Winter Doing's for Women for more on winter wear.
An extra pair of moccasins in case you get wet is a smart
thing to have, as is an extra pair of socks if you wear them.
When the temperature drops at night in the mountains a
wool shirt helps you keep warm at night. These two things
don't take up much room in your pack.
From Buffalo Bird Woman, Hidatsa,or a quick way if
you're short on time is:
2 pkg Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 large can pumpkin
1 can refried beans
mix together, it should be like stiff cookie dough, if not, add
a little cornmeal or flour. Make into balls, flatten them out a
little and put in the dehydrator or dry in oven on low. These
keep very well on the trail.
2 cups water
3 tblsp. oil
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tblsp honey
1 cup powdered milk
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
2 2/3 cup rye flour
3 tblsp caraway seed
add 4 to 41/2 cups flour a little at a
time. Knead till really stiff. Roll golf ball size pieces till thin
like pie crust and cut into two inch squares. It will rise in
the middle and be golden brown and crisp.
bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.
This is my Favorite recipe for Pemmican.
Most others are barely
My family receipt for pemmican comes from my Cherokee
Great,Great Grandma and it does not have any extra animal
fat, so it's not so much a heart danger. Everyone seems to
like it and it's easy to make .I make my own jerk and dried
fruit/veggies so I mix up batches for events as needed...
Pound together 1/2 pound each of the following:
jerk meat (venison or buffalo)
The oil in the sunflower seeds acts like suet and binds the
mixture together slightly. It's great as is by the handful,
washed down with water, but it makes a good stew base
with tomatoes, onions and beans when you have a chance
As described in Ferris' journal and perfected by Wynn
Flour or flour with a little cornmeal white ash for leavening, it
can be seasoned with allspice, cinnamon, sugar, salt, any
or all of these.
If we had the luxury of a little baking powder and some dry
milk, how much better it would be! Sigh!
Stir together for a stiff dough, flatten out small amounts in
the palms of your hands and put a spoonful of filling on the
patty then fold over and squish the edges together. a little
water on the edge helps it stick together. Filling can be
chunks of cooked meat or for dessert use dried apples and
raisins that have been cooked with water, sugar and
cinnamon. Deep fry in that oil you carried that meat in. The
tin cooking pots will hold up to being used as a deep fryer,
just be very careful not to spill grease into the fire! We
suggest doing this over coals with very little flame.What a
Dried pumpkin soup:
Eschionque is a Seneca historical soup of shredded meat
or fish cooked with dried squash and thickened with a meal
made of parched, dried corn. W.A. Ferris, in Life in the
Rocky Mountains, mentions ten free Iroquois trappers with
wives and children departing from Fraeb and Jarvis to hunt
the tributaries of the Bear River. No, there is no mention of
this soup, but then again I find few recipes listed in the
A few issues back in the T&LR, Jim Hannon wrote of a
new fly that he'd made.
Jim used a 100% cotton King size sheet. It was made
of Egyptian cotton, with a 250 thread count. Jim and I
are friends and so I contacted him to see how it had
worked out. Jim told me that he'd had good luck with
his, so I figured I'd try it out.
I procured the sheet at our local Dillards store. It turns
out that 250 threat count sheets are not all that
common, and worse, not cheap. Cheap is always high
on the priority list, but so is weight savings, and this
was my goal here.
After getting the sheet I washed it to remove any
sizing, then I proceeded to undo the factory sewn
hems. This is when I learned that a King size sheet is
pretty big! It took a while, but finally I got it done.
Next was to get the lindseed oil and paint thinner
together. Jim recommended 2 parts linseed oil to 1
part paint thinner, so that's what I went with. I got 2
quarts of linseed oil to go with 1 quart of paint thinner.
It is recommended to add a little iron oxide pigment in
the mix for color. Rick Palmer provided me with some,
which was a reddish brown color. I mixed the mess
together in a bucket, in went the sheet. The 3 quarts of
liquid was just right for that size of sheet.
Here's a major tip.....wear LONG rubber gloves when
you mix up the sheet and liquid. The mixture really
sticks and the pigment is highly effective. Wear clothes
that you don't mind relegating to work and not social
I hung the sheet up to dry in the barn. Using 2 lines
attached to the exposed rafters I draped the sheet over
the lines to dry. Another tip. If you have the room, only
hang the sheet from a single line. This way the liquid
will drip off more evenly than mine did. Also, plan on at
least a week of drying time in warm weather.
I took the sheet/tarp along with me on our 5 day ride in
2002. I found it to be completely waterproof. The
pigment was a little more red than I'd hoped, but at
night it was actually harder to see than a darker brown
one that Jim used.
What would I do different? I think the major difference
would be, having ripped out the factory hem, I'd sew in
a hand-sewn hem. In a pretty good wind storm before
a rain, the corner of my sheet/tarp tore. We'd set it as a
wedge tent and one staked down corner ripped a little.
We worked around it, but I think that having a hem
would have prevented the problem.
Overall, I'm really happy with this project. It's
considerably lighter and much more waterproof than
my canvas fly. These were the goals I was hoping for in
the new sheet/tarp, and these goals were
accomplished. I'll probably have it with me when we're
out camping, so if you're interested, come take a look.
We hope these recipes and ideas were of
Remember when it comes to camping
Less is more and more is less and that is what
we call doing it in Style!
See ya in camp
Jill and Sandy
with a little of the Crazy touch.