Utah Pioneer Party; Young Ladies Dress Up and Cook like Their Great-Great-Grandparents

Sunset, September 1986 | Go to article overview

Utah Pioneer Party; Young Ladies Dress Up and Cook like Their Great-Great-Grandparents


Utah pioneer party

Campfire cookery, part of everyday life a few generations ago, is a party treat for pioneers' descendants today. Joyce Terry of Woodland Hills, Utah, devised a pioneer dress-up dinner for a group of young cooks to prepare with some supervision. The guests learn first-hand about the past, while having fun in the present.

The Utah activities include milking a cow to get milk and cream, and grinding wheat for the dumplings. But even when modified for less rural settings, this simple meal involves chores that hark back to the days of the covered wagon.

Pioneer dinner

On the frontier, midday dinner was usually the main meal of the day--unless you were on the move. Homemade ice cream was a luxury you could enjoy only if you lived in or near a town with an icehouse.

Celery Sticks

Pioneer Pork Stew with Buttermilk

Dumplings

Homemade Butter

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Milk with Wheat-shaft Straws

A hearty stew with wheat-and-buttermilk dumplings simmers over a campfire or hot coals; the cooks can munch celery sticks as they await the results.

Start the fire or briquets about 30 minutes before cooking is to begin. Prepare stew ingredients and set pot over hot coals. While the stew simmers, make the butter and ice cream. Shortly before the stew is done, mix the dumpling batter and steam it on the stew.

Serve stew in bowls. Offer the butter to melt into the warm dumplings.

The ice cream can wait, cold and firm, in the ice used for freezing, while the pioneer entree is being eaten.

Use shafts of wheat straw, if available, for sipping milk.

Pioneer Port Stew with Buttermilk Dumplings

2 pounds boned pork shoulder or butt

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

2 large resset potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 small onion, chopped

2 cans (15 oz. each) marinara sauce

1/2 cup water

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dry basil

1 package (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed

Dumpling batter (recipe follows)

Salt and pepper

Trim excess fat from pork and discard. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. In a heavy 5-to 6-quart pan with a lid (or cast-iron or heavy aluminum Dutch oven), combine pork, carrots, potatoes, onion, marinara sauce, water, bay, and basil.

Cover pan and place over medium-hot charcoal briquets (directions follow), or over low heat on a range top. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. If stew boils, spread out briquets slightly to lower heat.

When meat is tender, mix dumpling batter. Uncover pan and stir in peas; then drop 8 equal spoonfuls of the dumpling batter on top of the stew, spacing them about an inch apart. Cover and simmer until a wooden skewer inserted in thickest part of dumpling comes out clean, about 15 minutes. …

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