Children's LiteratureThis useful supplement to the social studies curriculum discusses the everyday life on the trail, particularly the cooking methods and typical foods eaten by pioneers as they traveled west on the Oregon and other trails in the mid-1800s. Boxed sections include how to cross a river, "nooning" (giving animals a rest and having a meal), and the Donner Party. Text, maps, drawings, and photographs illuminate the era. But the real advantage of the book is the eight recipes for typical trail foods presented in easy-to-follow directions, with modern ingredients and practices for cooking in a full-scale kitchen. Measurements are given in English and metric systems. Some recipes include salt-rising bread, raspberry-vinegar lemonade, dried apple dumplings, beans and rice, and Oregon venison (or beef) stew. A glossary is followed by four good sources for learning more, places to write and visit, Internet sites, plus an index. All in all, a fine addition to augment curriculum or introduce children to the era. Part of the "Exploring History through Simple Recipes" series. 2000, Blue Earth Books/Capstone Press, $22.60. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3-6-If readers like their history served up on a plate, then this series is for them. Historical narrative is blended with recipes of the time, thus giving glimpses of the period while introducing traditional foods of hungry cowboys, frontier families, and intrepid explorers of the 1800s. An editor's note explains that, "Although based on historical foods, recipes have been modernized and simplified for today's young cooks." Lewis and Clark draws clear connections from history to food by utilizing passages from Lewis's account of the journey. Foods and preparations follow the expedition's travels through various regions and include meals that are indigenous to the countryside. The favorite will probably be Cowboy Cooking. Heavily illustrated with photographs and complete with recipes for standard fare including biscuits, beans, and beef, this book gives readers a real sense of life on the dusty trail. There's even a section on etiquette and the cowboy "sweet tooth." Oregon Trail, the weakest of the three, intersperses recipes and historical information less smoothly. Perhaps it's the quirks of layout, but the placement of a lemonade recipe opposing the page giving an overview of the ill-fated Donner Party seems incongruous. Still, all three titles are visual delights that include many photographs and period illustrations.-Leslie Millrod, Westhampton Free Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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