Freshly baked bread was a
delicacy for men who had lived on hard tack for the best part of a year....
"I became quite an expert in making
bread, which in Alaska always means baking-powder bread or biscuit. Some
miners brought in a little yeast and tried to raise bread in that way, but it
was soon discarded for baking-powder. My method was simple. I would
take a quart of flour, throw in a couple of tablespoonfuls of baking-powder and
about a half a teaspoonful of salt, and mix till quite still with water, which
had to be previously obtained by melting snow or a fragment of a glacier.
Then I would grease the tin with the best grease that was obtainable, and which
usually was very poor; but little things like that are not worth a passing
thought in an Alaskan camp. Having a red-hot fire in the Yukon stove, I
would push the tin into the oven, and in half an hour take out a loaf of bread
which, in the ravenous condition of our appetites, would make our eyes water.
The only difficulty was that a loaf would disappear at every meal, so that as
long as our supply of flour continued abundant I was compelled to bake two or
three times a day.
"My biscuit were concocted by
nearly the same formula as my bread. Having put a quart of flour, two
tablespoonfuls of baking-powder, and a half teaspoonful of salt together, I
would mix it while dry with lard, if I had any, but more commonly with bacon
fat. This I stir in with water, and rolled out the stiff dough on the
smooth side of a slab. The rolling pin I had manufactured from a section
of a spruce pole. Then I would cut the dough into circles with the top of
a baking-powder tin, and bake about 15 minutes. ...They had to be accompanied with some such staple article of died as
flapjacks, or bacon, and beans or oat meal. No game came within sight
during that long winter, and we were too busy to look for it till out provisions
began to run out and it was difficult to obtain any more."