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Unpalatable?  

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello Leslie, and welcome to our community. I've been looking forward to this for some time, as I've been intrigued by the journey of the Corps of Discovery for some time.

I teach middle school students, many of whom have learned about Lewis and Clark's great adventure. Being the age that they are, they would want to know about any unusual or highly unpalatable foods you learned about in your research. (You can imagine how they would pose this question, I'm sure!:eek: )

For myself, I am interested in what influence Sacajawea may have had on their cooking. (Forgive me if this is covered in your book; I have not yet obtained my copy.)
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post #2 of 12
Dear Mezzaluna,

I feel that one of the most interesting parts of the Lewis and Clark journey was when Sacajawea, acting as interpreter for Lewis and Clark with a band of Shoshone Indians, was trying to help bargain for horses to enable the Corps of DIscovery to make it across the Rockies. They wrer well into their negotiations when Sacajawea suddenly realized that the chief of the band of Shoshone was in fact her own brother Cameawait! As a young girl, she had been kidnapped from her tribe by a band of the Hidatsa Indians and after many years she had become the French guide Toussaint Charbonneau's wife. This was a joyous reunion and needless to say, Lewis and Clark received the horses which were so necessary for them to continue their voyage.

Another favorite story was when the Corps finally arrived and camped near the Oregon Coast, local Indians told of news about a beached whale. Sacajawea wanted to see it and told Clark: "that She has traveled a long way with us to See the great waters, and now that a monstrous fish was also to be Seen, She thought it verry hard that She could not be permitted to See either (she had never yet been to the Ocian)." Of course they let her go with them to see the Pacific Ocean and the 'monstrous fish.'

Sacajawea was also instrumental in finding and identifying many wild vegetables and edible roots that provided the Corps with much needed carbohydrates.

Oh yeah, you can tell your students that there are many recipes high on the 'ick factor.' Dog meat was a favorite of the Corps and horse was another. (No! I did not try them.) The most favored parts of the buffalo were the tongue and liver. Yes, I did use them in recipes and they were delicious. However, I was a little intimidated by the arrival of a twelve pound buffalo liver at my door - looking somewhat like a semi-deflated bloody basketball. I gave my husband Richard the task of cutting it up into manageable pieces.

Leslie
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Leslie, the students will eat this up (at least, in the figurative sense)! Thank you so much for sharing those anecdotes.

Now how much was that liver per pound??!

By the way, I was wondering about the nine pounds of meat eaten by each man. Was that because grazing animals' meat is so lean that it was hard to get enough calories without eating so much?
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post #4 of 12
I would recommend taking the opportunity of feasting in a horsemeat roast. There's nothing richer tasting.

Now my question: Did L and C eat pemmican? I understand that it means beaver meat in American Indian parlance.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
post #5 of 12
First off, to kokopuffs, I concur. I have had horse in France and it definitely is a delectable and rich meat. (I do however prefer Bear, even more rich!). Funny how cultural taboos seem to make one food acceptable and the next off limits.
No, I was not aware that the word Pemmican meant beaver in one of the Native American languages. Fascinating!

For Mezzaluna, that quantity of meat per day is astounding, but remember, that these men were carrying loads, dragging boats upcurrent, shivering, working, hunting, portaging, and surviving in an extremely energy consumptive environment. Nine pounds of meat translates to about 10,000 calories per day which, given their degree of physical activity does seem possible. Of course, many were the days when they went hungry, when shots went awry or game failed to appear. You are correct when you stated that game is quite lean, that is why the recipe for Buffalo stew with suet dumplings was one of the explorers most favorite meals. The suet, essentially fat, was quite rare on the grazing animals and was especially prized. (That recipe is also one of my favorites! The suet dumplings are much like a most flavorful gnocchi!).

As for the liver, I do not remember what the price per pound was. If you would like to recreate that recipe, please contact one of the suppliers in the back of the book. They would be most happy to assist you. Or, you can substitute veal liver which is readily available.

Leslie.
post #6 of 12
Kokopuffs, according to my brother (wolf researcher, dog sledder, and mountain man extordinaire) pemmican is a high energy food created by the Indians that contained fat (any kind though usually buffalo or bear) nuts, dried meat (aka jerky), and berries, along with a few other ingredients. It was pounded together, formed into small cakes and then dried. It was used as an ''energy bar'' or when food was scare while on the hunt or while travelling.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
post #7 of 12
Pete, I watched a documentary on some mountain man who carried several pounds of pemmican in his pack, sufficient to last throughout the long, harsh winter. Based on my calculations at the time of broadcast, the explorer consumed approximately 1200 calories of pemmican per day - in the vicinity of 300 grams of the stuff, 3/4 pound. Again, these are only rough calculations.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
post #8 of 12
Yeah, it was a great food source, especially in the winter, when one's body needs a high amount of fat to help sustain it.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
post #9 of 12
Dear Pete,

You are right in that finding meat with enough fat was very important. Several times of the year, especially in the late winter, the deer and elk were thin and scrawny. One of my favorite quotes is from Willaim Clark on February 7, 1806 "This evening we had what I call an excellent supper, it consists of a piece of marrowbone, a piece of brisket of boiled elk that had the appearance of a little fat on it. This for Fort Clatsop is living high style, and in fact is feasting."

That winter on the Oregon Coast was brutal. It rained for 4 months except for about 5 days! It was so constantly damp, even indoors, that the men could not smoke and dry their meat and so ate it spoiled. They also mentioned that their clothes rotted right off their backs!

Pete, your brother sounds very interesting and I wish I had known him while I was writing my book, I had so many questions. I imagine that he has eaten all manner of game and wild foods.

Leslie
post #10 of 12
Dear Mezzaluna,

Following is a great site by the National Park Service that has information for teachers regarding Lewis and Clark.

http://www.nps.gov/jeff/LewisClark2/...ndKidsMain.htm

Leslie
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Leslie,

Thank you!!! :bounce:

I will enjoy browsing the site, and will pass along the URL to my colleagues.
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post #12 of 12
I will pass that on to my brother. I am sure that he would be delighted to hear that. Thanks again for the time you are spending here at ChefTalk. I find this very interesting, and though I do not have the book as of yet, I can't wait to get my hands on it!!
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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