Cooking on the Trail
Pioneer people were also called early settlers. They did not have many of the foods we have today. Almost every meal they ate had corn as one of the dishes. They ate things like dried corn, cream corn, hull corn, dried corn mush, and sometimes they ate corn bread. Some people still eat these foods. Another thing they had was crabapple jelly, and sun-dried fruit. Sometimes for dessert they ate huckleberry pie, and pumpkin pie. Pioneers collected blackberries, gooseberries, and blueberries. Another common pioneer food was doughnuts. Pioneers could not eat meat all the time; they needed vitamins so they collected all kinds of fruit that grew wild in the woods.
Fires were difficult for pioneers to make, because they did not have any wood! They had to get something that would burn quickly, so they started using buffalo chips. They collected the buffalo chips in a basket. It took 3 whole baskets of buffalo chips to cook a meal. In order to be safe when they made a fire they dug a trench. The trench was 6 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and 2 feet long. Then you would put the buffalo chips in the trench, and light it up with gun powder or matches. When they reached the Rocky Mountains there were no buffalo chips! It was still hard to find wood so the pioneers burned dead sagebrush branches.
(source – written by nine and ten year old students at Floresville Elementary School in south Texas)