Home Cooking


Trails To The Past has a home cooking project of pioneer recipes from each state.  Alaska's Natives moved to summer camps for their annual whaling and subsistence hunts.  We also had stampeders, soudoughs and cheechakos who created 'field meals' from whatever they happened to have on hand.  That's what I plan to share here.  Since each culture had its own nutritional diversity, there will be two sections, one for each group of people.

First off, not all Alaskan Natives are Eskimos.  There are nearly 250 Native tribes in Alaska alone, and depending on the regions they lived in also depended on what they ate.  Admittedly, as Native societies became more urbanized, their diet gradually changed to include many Western foods.  However, this is about 'back in the day' when stores weren't on nearly every street.  Very generally speaking, Natives were hunters and gatherers - fishing and whaling in the summer and fall, hunting big game in the fall, trapping water mammals in the spring, and harvesting vegetable foods (grasses, tubers, roots, berries, stems and edible seaweed like kelp where possible) in the spring, summer and fall.  This food was collected and preserved for the off-season and especially, winter.

Those argonauts (for that's what they wished to be called) headed for the gold fields initially brought provisions to Alaska with them - flour, beans, hardtack, etc.  They fished, trapped and hunted.  It's likely many would have survived those early, rough years had they known how to live off the land and sea like the Natives did, for once their supplies ran out, without a poke full of gold to pay high prices for food, nettle soup became a staple.

So, which group are you interested in?