Wagon Wheel Kitchens

Food on the Oregon Trail

Jacqueline Williams

Award of Excellence from the Washington Museum Association

Pioneer temperaments, Jacqueline Williams shows, were greatly influenced by that which was stewable, bakable, broilable, and boilable. Using travelers' diaries, letters, newspaper advertisements, and nineteenth-century cookbooks, Williams re-creates the highs and lows of cooking and eating on the Oregon Trail. She investigates the mundane—biscuits and bacon, mush and coffee—as well as the unexpected—carbonated soda made from bubbling spring water; ice cream created from milk, snow, and peppermint; fresh fruits and vegetables.

“An enjoyable gold mind of information for both general readers and historians.

—Journal of American History

Wagon Wheel Kitchens is one of those marvelous combinations: a book that is both a valuable piece of scholarship and a delight for the casual reader.

—Great Plains Quarterly
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Understanding what and how the pioneers ate, Williams demonstrates, is essential to understanding how they lived and survived—and sometimes died—on the trail.