Home on the Range: A Culinary History of the American West

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Villard Books, 1993 - Social Science - 238 pages
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This colorful account of cooking on the frontier from 1700 to 1915 describes the foods, preparation techniques, and recipes of pioneers by providing excerpts from their diaries, journals, and letters. Every kind of pioneer seems included: seafarers, trappers, military personnel, cowboys, homesteaders, clerics, mountain men, boarding-house cooks, chuck wagons on the cattle drives, various ethnic groups, etc. By profiling selected individuals in each category and weaving together their stories, recipes, and photographs (unseen), the author illustrates how the pioneering process democratized cooking and contributed to the culinary pluralism of the Old West. Dependent upon the weather, which determined available crops and food sources such as deer, wild fowl, and fish, many settlers subsisted on meager rations. Many original recipes are given, such as "A Recite for Peach Cordial," which calls for two gallons of "good old whiskey," and for cake made from flour and water shortened with coon oil and fried in coon fat, complete with actual spellings and abundant capitalizations. Documented throughout with primary sources, this well-researched history is amusing as well as educational. Black-and-white photographs poignantly and emphatically illustrate the harshness of their lives and the primitiveness of their facilities.

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About the author (1993)

Cathy Luchetti has written many award-winning books, including "Women of the West", "Home on the Range" (winner of the James Beard Award), & "Medicine Women".

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