donderdag 21 april 2016

The Famous and the Food (4)


Zie de eerste aflevering van deze serie hier (alle links hier in een nieuw venster)

John Muir

We have been out of bread a few days, and begin to miss it more than seems reasonable for we have plenty of meat and sugar and tea. Strange we should feel food-poor in so rich a wilderness. The Indians put us to shame, so do the squirrels, starchy roots and seeds and bark in abundance, yet the failure of the meal sack disturbs our bodily balance, and threatens our best enjoyments.

Mr. Delaney is expected to arrive soon from the lowlands with a new stock of provisions, and as the flock is to be moved to fresh pastures we shall all be well fed. In the mean time our stock of beans as well as flour has failed—everything but mutton, sugar, and tea. The shepherd is somewhat demoralized, and seems to care but little what becomes of his flock. He says that since the boss has failed to feed him he is not rightly bound to feed the sheep, and swears that no decent white man can climb these steep mountains on mutton alone. "It's not fittin' grub for a white man really white. For dogs and coyotes and Indians it's different. Good grub, good sheep. That's what I say." Such was Billy's Fourth of July oration.

Mr. Delaney has not arrived, and the bread famine is sore. We must eat mutton a while longer, though it seems hard to get accustomed to it. I have heard of Texas pioneers living without bread or anything made from the cereals for months without suffering, using the breast-meat of wild turkeys for bread. Of this kind they had plenty in the good old days when life, though considered less safe, was fussed over the less. The trappers and fur traders of early days in the Rocky Mountain regions lived on bison and beaver meat for months. Salmon-eaters, too, there are among both Indians and whites who seem to suffer little or not at all from the want of bread. Just at this moment mutton seems the least desirable of food, though of good quality. We pick out the leanest bits, and down they go against heavy disgust, causing nausea and an effort to reject the offensive stuff. Tea makes matters worse, if possible. The stomach begins to assert itself as an independent creature with a will of its own. We should boil lupine leaves, clover, starchy petioles, and saxifrage rootstocks like the Indians.

Ezeltje, schoon

John James Audubon

John James Audubon, (1785-1851), born in Haiti, raised in France, came to America at the age of 18 to operate a farm near Philadelphia that his father had purchased for investment. After marrying Lucy Bakewell the Audubons moved to Louisville and then to Henderson, Kentucky. As a result of the depression of 1819, the lost everything, and Audubon turned to his art as a way of making a living. Audubon wrote much about food; in a great many of his descriptions of individual birds, he would advise the reader as to the food quality of the various species, from sparrows to eagles. In his ear, this was a valuable bit of information, when the local markets displayed the morning harvest of every form of wildlife for the buyer's lunch or dinner. In his little autobiography Myself, he informs the reader that while he lived on his father's farm in Pennsylvania, he had a finicky appetite, and refused many dinner invitations: 'Pies, puddings, eggs, milk, or cream was all I cared for in the way of food.' His journals reveal much more about his eating habits later in life, when he was anything but finicky. One time, all he had for food was a supply of apples and bread, another he had cold racoon for breakfast. We learned that in 1843, while in Montana, he preferred bison over beef, and learned that dog was 'most excellent.' The nearest entry in Audubon's writing to a recipe, is his descriptions fo the American Woodcock.

The young Audubon couple's other diversions included Kentucky-type wedding celebrations, called 'the infare,' at which the table would be spread (according to one celebrant) 'with bear-meat, venison, wild turkey and ducks, eggs wild and tame, maple sugar lumps tide on string to bite off for coffee or whisky, syrup in big gourds, peach-and-honey; a sheep that two families barbequed whole over coals of wood burned in a pit, and covered with green boughs to keep the juices in; and a race for the whisky bottle.' There was always a race for the whisky; drinking was epidemic. Audubon had been abstinent until his wedding day, when he toasted his bride; in Kentucky he learned to lift the jug with the boys.

Ezeltje in de pan
Dit was kalfs
Als je rund hebt, snij dan 1/3 van de brede kant er af
Daarvan twee plakken en stoof dat (kort)

Zie de volgende aflevering hier