Thanks to Liberty Wells Community Council and their Pioneer Day activities at the First Encampment Park on 1700 South & 500 East, we can share some pioneer recipes. Try these with your family.
3 cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda (a natural mineral, saleratus, was used by pioneers but is not available today), 3 tbs. shortening (pioneers used lard or bacon grease), 2 cups whole milk (sour milk or buttermilk may be used). Sift dry ingredients together, then cut in shortening using two knives. Slowly add the milk until a soft dough is formed. Roll out mixture on floured board and cut dough into circles or square. Bake in a hot oven (425 F) for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and center is done.
Beat 1 large egg, than add 1 cup fresh whole milk or buttermilk, and stir in 2 tbs salad oil, (pioneers used whatever ‘fat’ they had), 1/2 cup flour (often noted as fine and/or wheat grain), 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 tbs. sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt. Grease griddle and cook on medium heat until cake surface is light brown.
Pioneers used ‘wild yeast’, today we have active dry yeast packets. Mix 1 tbs. dry yeast and 1/4 cup warm water until dissolved. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup buckwheat flour and 3/4 tsp. salt. Mix yeast & water into dry ingredients, then add 1 cup cold water, cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Combine 1 tbs. brown sugar, 2 tbs. melted butter, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 cup hot water. Add to previous ingredients and let stand 30 minutes. Adjust batter consistency with water. Grease griddle and cook on medium heat until center of cake is done.
Similar to today’s ‘grits’ from the south, pioneers boiled corn meal in water to make a ‘thick soup’ or mush. At home, boil 3 cups water. Measure 1 cup cornmeal, 1 tsp. salt and add to 1 cup water at room temperature. Slowly pour the cornmeal mixture into the boiling water, stirring to prevent lumps. Turn down the heat and cook, covered, about 5 minutes more. Serve mush hot; butter, brown sugar and milk can be added for flavor.
Above recipes adapted for home use from “The Pioneer Cook Book” by Kate B. Cater, published by Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1961, 6th Edition, 1997.