In Her Own Words

Back to Basics

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Adrienn Clune churns butter
at the same time she reads
a book and watches her son,

Bread was our everyday staple. I figured I baked about 400 pounds of bread during our five months at Frontier House. I cooked over 350 meals. The situation often forced me to be creative. So I would vary some of our basic meals. Pancakes, for example, could be plain, buttermilk, sourdough, wheat, or cornmeal. For variety I added chopped apples, nuts, fresh berries in season, and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. I made toppings like wild chokecherry syrup, wild gooseberry compote, stewed apples, and peach syrup made with canned peaches from the mercantile.

Much of our fare centered around soups, beans, and cornbread. Fresh vegetables from our garden made excellent soups, such as borscht and ribolita. Dinner was often a hearty soup accompanied by homemade bread straight from the oven. Occasionally, we got some venison, elk steaks, and buffalo burgers from the local ranchers, but we weren't allowed to use guns ourselves. Once, the boys trapped and killed a rattlesnake and we ate that pan-fried! There wasn't much room for fussiness -- usually there was one thing for dinner and that was it, you either ate it or you didn't. Our two boys used to by very fussy eaters but before long they got to the stage where they ate about everything. They actually expanded their diets, even though what we had was limited. They couldn't snack on things like in the twenty-first century, so they actually tried all kinds of foods and ended up liking most of them.

My tools and utensils were very simple. Cast-iron cookware, some ceramic crocks, two mixing bowls, a couple of wooden spoons, milk buckets, cheesecloth, and not much else! I measured cups of everything in an enameled mug, and used my hand to measure teaspoons and tablespoons. I got good at visualizing what I needed. Whenever I needed something specific, my son, Justin, came to my rescue. He fashioned a wire whisk from old barbed wire and a piece of wood and a strainer with detachable cheesecloth.

Continued on page 2:  The Wonders of Woodburning