“Food on the Westward Trail: More Than Bacon, Beans, and Biscuits?” by Richard Foss
What kind of provisions would you pack for a camping trip lasting six months? That question occupied the minds of the people who set out from Missouri on the long wagon trains west, and it’s a tribute to their ingenuity that so many of them made it across the plains and mountains. They had plenty of advice, some of it terrible, and widely divergent skill levels in packing, making fires, cooking, and all the other elements of traveling. Their journeys were mythologized even as they were happening, a process that went into high gear when silent films made it possible to depict their struggles to survive. This program is about their everyday life coming across three thousand miles of rough country on the way to the promised paradise of the West Coast.
Richard Foss has been writing professionally since 1986 and has contributed to over thirty different publications, including the Encyclopedia of World Food Cultures and the Oxford Companion to Sweets. He taught culinary history at Osher Institute/UCLA Extension, and is on the board of the Culinary Historians of Southern California. His book on the history of rum was released by Reaktion Books in April of 2012. “Food in the Air and Space; the surprising history of food and drink in the skies,” was released in December 2014. He is curating an exhibition called “Cooking Up A New West” that will open at the Autry Museum of the American West in 2021.