The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

How We Ate

    In the winter the whole party on this stream [mining in 1849 in the Sierra Nevadas] had touches of the scurvy. Seaman saw blotches on his limbs and started in haste for Sacramento. He never came back. Those who remained by mere accident got rid of the plague. They were, innocently enough, trying to make vinegar in a syrup barrel that had considerable sugar in it. One day somebody tasted it, and it reminded him of good cider. It reminded all of them of good cider, and none of it ever got to be vinegar. They were surprised to find that their scurvy disappeared, and their general health improved. In time they learned that they had followed the best plan possible to cure the scurvy.
"Pioneer Days," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, March 7, 1886, page 7

    I will now give you our bill of fare and the cost of the same. We have good bread which I make myself. The flour costs us at present eighteen cents per pound. Of meats we have ham, the cost forty cts. Beef thirty to thirty-five cts. We had a mess of sausages at fifty cts. a pound which was rather steep. Beans twenty-five cts. per pound. Sugar & coffee thirty-seven cts. Molasses one dollar a qt. O yes, we have something extra, a keg of pickles which costs us three dollars per gallon but they are extra. We have some butter at times which is from one dollar to one dollar twenty-five cts. per pound. There are about three dairies. Milk is worth fifty cents a quart.
John R. Tice, letter of May 8, 1852 from Weaverville, California. Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS180. Transcribed from manuscript.

    It was lots of fun those days [while operating a pack train in the early 1850s] to get up of a cold, rainy morning at daylight, go out and try to find the mules, while the others mixed up some bread with water and saleratus, baked a pone of bread and fried some bacon in a frying pan over a camp fire. With a tin cup full of good coffee--did anything taste so good?
James H. Twogood, "Reminiscences of an Old-Timer," Evening Capital News, Boise, Idaho, March 24, 1906, page 3

    "Abner and I freighted from Portland to our place for three years, 1852 to 1854. We lived well in those days. We had all the venison, grouse, wild geese and other game we could eat. One of our staple breakfast dishes was boiled wheat with cream. When we were tired of deer meat or grouse we ate salmon or trout. In spring and summer we had all the wild strawberries, raspberries and huckleberries we could eat."
G. W. Riddle, quoted by Fred Lockley, "Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man," Oregon Journal, Portland, August 14, 1925, page 8

SUNDAYOCTOBER 30, 1853. Sunday morning. Honey & I breakfast alone on baked squash, biscuit, butter, coffee and pie. Deary goes for the cows while I put my house to rights and arrange my dress for the day, then we pass the remainder of the day in reading.
Oscar Osburn Winther, Rose Dodge Galey, eds., "Mrs. Butler's 1853 Diary of Rogue River Valley," Oregon Historical Quarterly, December 1940

Monday, July 3rd [1854]
    Worked hard all day and part of the night making preparations for the celebration. Hired three cooks. Have half a beef, a fat venison, a number of pigs and 40 chickens. The deer and pigs are to be barbecued whole. Three hundred feet of tables. Borrowed all the dishes from Winchester. Gathered knives and forks from the settlers. Will have any amount of bread, pies, cakes, peas, potatoes, fruit, beets and cucumber pickles, butter, tea, coffee etc. enough for all.
J. H. B. Royal Journal, Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS 373

    "Mother took boarders, and I got a job as hired girl at the home of Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Dryer. Mr. Dryer was editor of the Weekly Oregonian. The paper was published in a small building on the same lot on which stood the Dryers' dwelling house. Their daughter married a man named Ogden, the son of one of the officials of the Hudson's Bay Company. While I was working for the Dryers a child was born to the Ogdens, so Mrs. Dryer spent a good deal of her time at her daughter's home. I was 15 [in 1854], but I wasn't much of a cook. I had always preferred doing outside work. I had not been there long when Mr. Dryer came in and said: 'Amy, get a good dinner this noon, I have invited General Joseph Lane to eat dinner.' I asked him what I should get, and he said: 'Get a New England dinner.' All I knew about New England was that that was where the Pilgrims had landed, but I hadn't the faintest idea what the Pilgrims ate nor how they cooked it. I didn't know whether a New England dinner was salmon or deer meat, so I said to Mr. Dryer, 'You will have to tell me what New Englanders eat for their dinner.' He said, 'Get a big chunk of corned beef, put a cabbage in with it, and some beets, potatoes, turnips and any other vegetables you have in the house, and boil them all together in a big kettle.'
    "Another time he came in and said, 'I have invited Governor Gaines and General Lane to dinner. See that we have a good dinner, and plenty of it.' Governor Gaines and General Lane had both served in the Mexican War, and both served as governor of Oregon Territory. It rather flustered me to have two such noted men to cook for, but they were easy-going home folks, so I got along all right, in spite of Mrs. Dryer's not being there to oversee the dinner."

Amy Briggs Rowley LaRaut, quoted by Fred Lockley, "Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man,"
Oregon Journal, Portland, May 9, 1924, page 8

    Brother Starr brought out some fine large apples a few minutes ago, all ripe and sweet. Dinner. What do you guess we had for dinner? Chicken, corn, cucumbers, cabbage, coffee, cream, sugar, biscuit, butter and peaches. . . .
    [At a different house] Oh, how welcome they make us! They have a large, fine house, garden orchard and farm etc. We go in. Supper is over, but soon good Sister P----- spreads the table again. Said I: "Shall I help you, Sister?" She says: "Yes, you may peel some of those fine peaches for your supper." And suiting the action to the word, she placed by my side a large basket full of them, ripe and sweet. I peel a large dishful for supper. With sugar and cream and warm biscuit, tea, etc. we made out a hearty supper.
Mary Ann Royal, letter of September 1856

    My grandmother, not having been brought up to do housework, found it very much to her disadvantage to prepare food and lodging for the miners and transients who almost every night filled the old fort. Many times have I heard her tell of her experiences in learning the art of cooking. Everything was very high at that time [1854-55]. Meals brought $1 apiece, and were composed chiefly of beans, bacon, reflector-baked bread, and probably some kind of dried fruit, all of which was brought through from the north by pack trains.
George R. Birdseye, "The Story of Fort Birdseye," Jacksonville Sentinel, May 15, 1903, pages 4-5

    At Oakland, Judge [David C.] Underwood, county judge of Umpqua, and a candidate on the national ticket for reelection, pressed us to accept his invitation to go with him to his home for the night [in April 1858], from which, he assured us, it was a direct road to Yoncalla, and not in the least out of our way. The ride to his home in the hills was difficult, wearisome and very rough. It was a miserable cabin, and the shelter for our fatigued animals was scanty. There were no oats--only hay of poor quality. It was dark when we reached the place. Supper was served in about an hour. Sassafras tea, rusty bacon, heavy hot biscuits of the "Oregon sinker" quality, brown with saleratus and indigestible, and a kind of greasy stew served as soup constituted the meal. Hunger was barely sauce for the wretched layout. . . . The call for breakfast was bawled from the cabin. The meal was less satisfying than the supper of the previous evening--the similar slices of rusty bacon, the same order of Oregon sinkers for hot biscuit, discolored with saleratus, and a nauseating decoction for coffee did the business for us.
James O'Meara, "Our Pioneer History," Oregonian, Portland, November 9, 1890, page 16

    Traveling to and from the courts, it became necessary sometimes to stop at the house of a settler. This was generally a small, rough building, in which people lived frontier style. It was not uncommon to find a bed in one corner of a room and a pile of harness and saddles in the other. Hot bread and bacon were the staple articles of food, with a side dish sometimes of fried cabbage. Some of the people, more ambitious than others, had venison or bear meat. This food was very acceptable to one made hungry by riding on horseback, or doubly acceptable by the warm-hearted welcome with which the settlers received those who stopped with them. They gave the best they had.
Judge George H. Williams, "Historical Society Starts Movement for Establishing Hall of Records," Oregonian, Portland, December 30, 1906, page 8

Grow and Eat Vegetables.
    One of the very strongest arguments in favor of the culture of vegetables and fruit, and their consumption in the family, is the fact that such consumption prevents disease. We are by no means strictly vegetarian in theory or practice, but we know by experience that fruit, even at large prices, is cheaper and far more profitable to purchase than the services of a physician, and that if the former are not consumed as an article of everyday diet, the services of the latter will be required. We have seen it asserted recently by a medical writer that the introduction of the tomato upon the table has reduced the severity of certain types of summer diseases to a noticeable extent, and yet in a book, not a dozen years of age, we saw it asserted that this same tomato is a "most unhealthful and innutritious fruit." As soon as we learn how luxuriously we can live with no increase of cost, and a great increase of health, by the consumption of the products of our gardens, more and better gardens will be found in every homestead.--Emery's Journal.
Oregon Farmer,
February 1859, page 106

    Rode that day fifty miles by trail to Clarke's, and next day thirty miles to his little house on Butte Creek. This was Novr. 18th 1869--Thanksgiving Day. We stopped about four miles short of his house to get some dinner at a little shanty of a place. We found several men who were about to go out on a hunt. The woman of the house gave us some dinner. It was plain fare and served in a rather primitive manner. Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of some very fat and very strong venison ribs, boiled, a flat of heavy bread, baked among the ashes on the hearth, and a tin cup of water. Nothing else, save a pinch of salt. Now there is nothing nicer than a fat venison rib roasted before the fire--but these we had were those of an old buck, and boiled.
Reminiscences of Greenleaf Austin Goodale, Southern Oregon Historical Society MS1852.

    Those who expect to think, says the Phrenological Journal, should not eat much food which simply produces warmth and fat, such as ham, fat pork, white bread, butter, rice, tapioca and starch. These contain very little phosphatic food, being carbonaceous.
    The proper food for laboring men--we mean those who have to exercise muscular strength chiefly--should be that which contains the greatest amount of nitrogen. Among these barley and cheese stand high. The red flesh of the ox or sheep and unbolted bread are the leading articles. Men who train prizefighters seem to understand much better than others how to build up physical strength and endurance. When their battle or race is ended they lay aside their lean beef and mutton, and fall into their old habits of drinking and of eating starch-bearing articles, such as rice, fine bread, pudding, with fat meat and butter, and they soon become fat and lazy, as these carbonaceous articles can make them.
    If a man wants to stand the cold he may eat buckwheat cakes with butter, syrup, fat pork and beans; but let him look out when hot weather comes, for bilious fever, pimples on the face, and a rank smell of the whole system, and muddy, dirty complexion. Men living at the North Pole, or near it, can drink fish oil by the quart, or eat pounds of cake tallow, and the cold climate will burn it out; but in warm or temperate regions the food should be so selected as to furnish nourishment for muscles, bone, brain and warmth in proper portions.
    The student should eat articles which are pretty largely charged with phosphates of brain food; the laborer, those articles containing nitrate, or food for muscle; and those who are much exposed to cold, but not required to exert great muscular strength, that kind of food which is largely charged with carbonates, or heat-producers.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 9, 1871, page 1

    Soda Springs was reached in good time [by the stage in May 1877], and we felt much cheered and reassured to behold "little faces at the window" and larger ones smiling at the door. Hot coffee, ham and eggs gave us new strength to encounter the perils ahead.
C. B. Watson, "To Klamath Falls in 16 Hours,"
Ashland American, April 1, 1927, page 1

    The statement is sometimes made that a person does not weigh any more after eating a hearty meal than they do before, but the fallacy of this assertion was proven one day this week in the case of a citizen of this place. His exact weight before eating dinner was 140 pounds, and on stepping on the scales after a meal at the Franco American he raised the beam at 152½--a gain of 3½ pounds in the short space of half an hour. The Madame says he is a healthy boarder.
"Random Jottings," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 14, 1878, page 3

    At a given signal to the teamsters to "knock off for dinner," it was the work of scarce one minute till a cavalcade of horses, with their drivers, were moving toward camp, and at another given signal an army of Chinese went scampering pell mell whopping and hallowing in Celestial gibberish to the Chinese quarters, and about ten minutes' comparative silence reigned, while pork, beef, beans, potatoes, cabbage, rice and other edibles disappeared from mortal gaze to fill the stomachs of the hungry army of laborers, washed down by the usual beverages, tea, coffee or water--the latter indulged in quite sparingly.
"At the [railroad] Front," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 29, 1882, page 4

    There are several good restaurants in [Portland], and last Sunday I dined at a thirty-cent restaurant where the bill of fare was: Chicken and oyster soup; lamb pot pie; lamb and green peas; pigs' feet soused; roast chicken, beef, pork and mutton; potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes; mince, cream and apricot pie; cornstarch pudding; tea, coffee or milk; and bread and butter.
Charles D. Stuart, "The New Northwest," Sonoma Democrat, Santa Rosa, California, December 22, 1883, page 3

    John Dyar and Veit Benz are now conducting the new meat market in this place and have rented the Medford market, which they will run in connection with the one here. They propose keeping choice meats of all kinds constantly on hand.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 14, 1884, page 3

    Tramps have been numerous in town this month. After they have succeeded in begging enough money to stay for the time their yearning for bed and whisky, they go around to the houses and call for lunch. They prefer hot biscuits and Jersey butter and porterhouse steak or fried chicken, though on a right hot afternoon they will be satisfied with chicken salad, coffee bread and peaches and cream. 
Ashland Tidings, August 15, 1884, page 3

    The locomotive struck and killed a deer this side of Grants Pass, coming south, last Saturday morning, and Engineer McCarty secured some choice venison steaks in consequence.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, October 24, 1884, page 3

 The friends spread a bountiful supply of provisions on the table, and after thanksgiving, the little ones were first waited upon and supplied. Then youths, middle aged and the old grandparents participated with a will that demonstrated the fact that it was good. After all had eaten of the good bread, meat, fowls, etc., the table was cleared. The sisters having nearly half of their provisions to take away with them.
    Then Mr. Perry Foster's wagonload of large watermelons from Holmes Bros.' patch were placed on the table (that is most of it) and all participated in them (and such a feast). All enjoyed it greatly.
Martin Peterson, "Sunday School Picnic," Ashland Tidings, September 25, 1885, page 2

    A few days since, taking a trip into the Siskiyous, almost up to the line that separates Oregon from Cal fornia, I found night approaching and began to look out for quarters for myself and mule, and had the good fortune to find a cabin inhabited by two old miners. When I say "old miners," I mean it, for these men told me they had lived there twenty-seven years. They have been rich and poor half a dozen times, and are now worse off than ever. I found these gentlemen intelligent and well posted in the affairs of the outside world, and well they might be, for after a good supper of codfish and potatoes with drawn butter gravy, hot biscuit and butter and a good cup of coffee, we took our pipes and, sitting in front of a big fire in a broad fireplace, we talked of the Sharon-Hill case, the gift of Mrs. Crocker of her art gallery, Mexican news, etc.
J. J. Aiken, "Southern Oregon," Record-Union, Sacramento, December 5, 1885, page 2

    The question of greatest present interest is: "How much fruit is there left?"
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, May 7, 1886, page 3

    The boys are spearing some fine salmon trout in Ashland Creek.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, January 1, 1886, page 3

    "PECK'S SUN" ON ICE CREAM.--It would seem as though there were enough secret societies doing business in this country, but no one is needed. There is need for society that shall have for its object prohibition of the manufacture and use of ice cream at picnics. Almost every day there is a dispatch in the papers giving an account of the poisoning of from thirty to fifty persons from eating ice cream at [a] temperance picnic. When picnics are organized at which beer is prohibited the participants feel that they must have something to take the place of the alleged wicked beer, and so they fill up on ice cream. Whether the cream is poisoned or not, the people are. A little ice cream at home, for a dessert never seems to hurt anybody, but when a party goes to the woods to picnic, and everybody becomes heated and nervous, they eat ice cream by the platter full. Take a stomach that is warm and not accustomed to ice as a diet, and fire into it a quart of cold slush and wash it down with sour lemonade, and there is a state of things in that stomach that is horrible. Not one stomach in a thousand can stand it, and in such a moment as ye think not, there is an able-bodied cramp that makes victims pay attention. Persons who think they were going to sheol ["hell"] if they drank a glass of beer will eat a quart of ice cream, and before night they will think sheol has smuggled itself into them. Let a society be formed to sit down on ice cream at picnics.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 7, 1886, page 4   Food poisoning was common in the 19th century, but never blamed on food-handling practices.

    Some of the largest and finest watermelons brought to Ashland this season were from the farm of J. H. Stewart (the old Ball place), between Medford and Phoenix. It was thought before Mr. Stewart bought this place that vegetables couldn't be grown there to advantage, but Mr. S. tried his system of farming on it and has thoroughly surprised some of his neighbors. The Tidings can testify to the quality of the melons, having been favored with a thirty-pound sample by Clayton & Gore, who are handling them here.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, September 17, 1886, page 3

    Mrs. Susie West was dangerously ill on Monday at her residence, caused by eating too many hard-boiled eggs for dinner on Sunday.
"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, April 27, 1888, page 3

    At this season of the year we haven't really much to offer the distinguished gentlemen except fine scenery and a glance at our good-looking girls. There isn't even a pumpkin or a beet to rhapsodize over.
"Editorial Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 24, 1891, page 2

    Early garden stuff, such as radishes, lettuce, onions and asparagus, is in the market.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 1, 1891, page 3

    The festive watermelon will soon be in our midst; we yearn to receive it here.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 24, 1891, page 3

    Many of our citizens have been indulging in the past few weeks in the luxury of fresh mushrooms, obtained from the pastures near town, which are unusually fine this season. The warm rains we have been having are conducive to their growth.
"Here and There,"
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 13, 1891, page 3

    C. Wolters, our staff of life manipulator, has ceased to knead the sponge for the winter, but will do the act again with the opening up of spring.
"Local News," Medford Mail, January 7, 1892, page 3    Apparently some bakeries only operated when it became too hot to bake at home.

    Jos. Rapp of Wagner Creek is furnishing this market with choice asparagus, radishes, lettuce and early vegetables.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 28, 1893, page 3

    F. Morgan, residing on the Harbaugh place on Butte Creek, was in Medford Monday. The gentleman came with his buggy loaded with a multiplicity of immensely fine vegetables from well-cultivated farm--and The Mail will "saw off" on dry feed and eat vegetables for a time.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 21, 1893, page 3

    It is almost one continued round of fruit in this man's country. No sooner is the first crop of berries out of the way than does the second crop come on. Mrs. Frank Sutter reports having gathered strawberries from her vines in sufficient quantities to well supply the table, and F. M. Poe is in the field with a second crop of red raspberries. Of course, these second crop berries are not very plentiful, but they are most delicious what there are.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, October 6, 1893, page 3

    "We didn't eat strawberries for breakfast, either [in Phoenix during the panic years 1893-96]. They were almost unknown. Grapefruit couldn't be had, and oranges were in the markets about once a year. Farmers had chicken dinners twice a year and laborers none at all."
Gus Newbury, "Newbury Recalls Days of Flour Sack B.V.D.'s," undated 1930s Medford Mail Tribune clipping, RVGS

A Pioneer Dinner.
    At a recent convention in Chicago the following bill of fare of an old California hotel was exhibited:
    Soup--Bean, $1; ox-tail (short), $1.50.
    Roast--Beef, Mexican (prime cut), $1.50; beef, up along, $1.00; beef, plain, $1.00; beef, with one potato, "fair size," $1.25; beef, tame, from the States, $1.50.
    Vegetables--Baked beans, plain, 75¢; baked beans, greased, $1.00; two potatoes, "medium size," 50¢; two potatoes, peeled, 75¢.
    Entrees--Sauerkraut, $1.00; bacon, fried, $1.00; bacon, stuffed, $1.00; hash, low grade, 75¢; hash, 18 karats, $1.00.
    Game--Codfish balls, per pair, 75¢; grizzly, roast, $1.00; grizzly, fried, 75¢; jackass rabbit, "whole," $1.00.
    Pastry--Rice pudding, plain, $1.00; rice pudding, with molasses, $1.00; rice pudding, with brandy and peaches, $2.00.
    Square meal, with dessert, $3.00.
    Payable in advance.
    N.B.--Gold sales at the end of bar.
    The above was given us by a pioneer of California, who remembers well the prices charged for board in mining days, when the luxury of a bill of fare such as the above could seldom be had at any price. Grizzly bear steaks were common in those days, but the great demand for the delicacy, brought on by the influx of epicures from the East, has caused a great void in the market, which is now filled with beef.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 15, 1894, page 3

Greatest Fast on Record.
    Editor MEDFORD MAIL, Dear sir:--As fasting has--I was going to say, become quite a fad--at least became quite prevalent--I thought I would post you up a little. Perhaps you are not aware that the crow comes home to roost, the foxes can eat sour grapes and the bear can suck his paw, but man, the son of woman, usually comes into this world at such an early period of his life that he is more helpless than a sucking dove or a kitten before the nine days are up. But I was going to give you some points on fasting. I will say to begin that it is a good deal like hanging--when you get used to it you don't mind it at all. Last winter I fasted 151 days, commencing with Nov., Dec., Jan., Feb. and March. I was working in the mines all the time--Sundays excepted. To find the exceptions: multiply months by days, divide the quotient by 7, cancel the two right-hand figures and multiply the remainder of days I DIDN'T work and the result will be Sundays--neither of those months had six Sundays in them.
    Well, to begin with: the first thing in the morning I said my little paternoster, which I here give in the sweet, flowing language of the native Oregonian: Nesika papa klaxta mitlite kopa sahale; kloshe kopa nesika tumtum mika nem; kloshe mika tyee kopa konaway tilakum; kloshe tumtum kopa illahe kahkwa kopa sahale; potlatch konaway sun nesika muckamuck; pee kopet kumtux konaway nesika mesache, kahkwa nesika mamook kopa klaska spose mamook mesache kopa nesika, marsh sizh kopa nesika konaway mesache. Kloshe kahkwa. Then instead of eating a good hearty breakfast I would go through the motions by partaking of say three soft-boiled eggs, a half pound of ham, three or four graham gems, two ounces of fresh ranch butter, a pint of good hot coffee--trimmed with Jersey cream--and a piece of mince about six inches square. Instead of dinner I had blinds put on my (miner's) cabin windows and then went through the same farce, a la Williams and Tanner, as I did for breakfast, and through the act of deglutition get away with a quart of baked beans (a la Bosting), a small loaf of bread, a few vegetables and canned goods, tapered down to a green apple pie and sago pudding. For supper I did not eat anything--just stowed away three or four baked potatoes with not a thing on them except perhaps a little butter and salt, a little white bread and perhaps a bite or two of rice spoiled with cream, a piece of sponge cake and a cup of tea. The above bill was followed, with perhaps some slight variations, for a consecutive period of 151 days. I was at hard labor and I think I can truthfully say I was, if anything, stronger mentally and physically at the termination of my unprecedented feat than I was when I began. Yes, Mr. Editor, it is all in knowing how. I remember the first few years after Huldy Ann and I (Huldy Ann is my wife) were incorporated, if she happened to trim her fingernails with my best hollow-ground or give one of the babies the looking glass and hammer to amuse itself with I would get in a pet and, in fact, I would go off into the bedroom and pout. I would not eat a bite of dinner but walk the floor all the afternoon and occasionally walk through the kitchen and slyly purloin a biscuit and chunk of meat from the cupboard then walk out to the wood shed and stow it away--then come back and walk the floor. When Huldy Ann would come with tearful eyes, lean on my bosom and take the starch out of my Sunday shirt, I would look sour as a cranberry and cross as a sawbuck and tell her that I would starve myself or leave the ranch. But when she would go off into the parlor, seat herself at the organ, pull out the vox humana, and in a tearful voice sing that sweet, though sad, refrain, Sta-a-ay at ho-o-oh-ome Tom-om-om-my do-o-oh-nt go-oh-oh-o--that would break me all up. I would then (like Davey's coon) come down and say the most awfullest, sorrowfulest things that even if I had murdered all your mother-in-law's relations, Mr. Editor, you would not ask the Governor to pardon me--you would do it yourself.
    Of course we must admit that we makes some mistakes (some folks admit it not knowing it.) This is altogether owing to--but I want to see the color of a man's hair whose digestive apparatus is in good working order and who after mauling bull pine rails all day and comes home at night, hyas till, nika, I say I want to see him walk around 2 table whereon among other things is a nice baked turkey, stuffed with oysters and not have a hankering to indulge. Bah! why, a man like that would be a raving maniac in less than three days--to say nothing of forty. I see Dr. Tanner is down in Mexico starting a new generation on his fasting hypothesis. He may turn out a race of centaurs, but more than probable he will raise up a lot of white-livered, half-witted idiots, that won't know enough to come in when it. rains. No, Mr. MAIL, it can't be did, honest and above board, there has always got to be some shenanigan about fasting unless you fast the way I do. It is like spiritualism with slate work,etc. I am a spiritualist myself, and I must tell you about it sometime--not now, this letter is too long already, but watch this space for what comes next. As I have given you "potlatch kumtux kopa mesahche," you must take heed.
.Medford Mail, February 16, 1894, page 4

    The next morning at 6 o'clock sharp, the whistle blowed, and all hands were out and at breakfast in a short time--and talk about your breakfasts, if you want a real, good, No. 1 meal come to the Hammersley mine. Would you like to know the bill of fare? Here it is: Hot rolls, butter, No. 1, from Woodville, ham, eggs, potatoes, beans, syrup, fruit, jellies and good coffee with cream. How does that strike you for a meal in the mountains? The cooking is done by Charles Tabor and wife of Woodville, and is first class in every respect.
"The Hammersley Mine," Medford Mail, April 20, 1894, page 4

    The era of the lean and skinny woman had not arrived in the middle nineties. Neither had sanitarium diet got hold of the popular imagination, and a man had few if any qualms about overeating. To these facts I attribute the absence of profit in a hotel we built at the farm, on the shore of Tetonka Lake. In those days a hotel meal meant a lot of food--and the leisure in which to eat it.
Ed Andrews, as told to Charles Hyskell, "The Andrews Opera Company," Medford Mail Tribune, November 4, 1934, page 3

    Fruit and melon thieves are becoming numerous, now that the moon does not look upon their depredations.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 18, 1898, page 3

    Miners, like other experienced men, prefer comfortable quarters and pretty good food. Even in rude cabins the American gold miner usually manages to have good provisions, and on  necessity is a good cook. One of these, on placing before his guests a splendid dinner of bean soup, brook trout, grouse, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, biscuits and ideal coffee, all elegantly prepared in the ample fireplace of his log cabin and served smoking hot, declared that "it is better to have good food on one's table than napkins and silverware." Good hotels are useful adjuncts to all important mining camps.
"Southern Oregon Mines," Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 1, 1902, page 36

An Old-Fashioned Supper.
    The Presbyterian ladies are planning to give a splendid old-fashioned dinner on the evening of Sept. 26th, at their parsonage:
Chicken Pie.
Mashed Potatoes.                                 Salad
Boiled Ham.
White Bread and Butter.                                            Sliced Tomato.
Baked Beans with Pork.
Brown Bread.
Pickles.                                                 Jelly.
Cake.                                                           Doughnut.
Remember the date, September 26th.
Medford Mail, September 26, 1902, page 6

    The headache mentioned in last week's Mail with which your Eagle Point correspondent was suffering, perhaps, was caused by Xmas excesses in eating, if not in drinking. Yes, he was at his daughter's in Sterling and took Xmas dinner and of course had to take oyster soup, turkey, mince pie, coffee and then to top off with just a little piece of fruit cake, and if that was not enough to give a common old hayseed the headache I confess that I am at a loss to tell what would, but as for the usual compounds that are used on Christmas that produce the headache and generally the heartache, no thank you, I never touch.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, January 13, 1905, page 3

    J. W. Blankenship, botanist of the government agricultural experiment station at Bozeman, Mont., has issued a bulletin devoted to the native plants of that state. The object of the compilation was to enumerate as far as possible such of these plants as were utilized for food by the Indians, early explorers, trappers and settlers, as well as to show how many are utilized either in native or cultivated form at the present time. The findings cannot fail to be interesting as well as valuable to the people of any state or section. To be comprehensive and reasonably accurate, such work should be done before the last of the older Indians have taken their departure to the happy hunting grounds, and while yet the touch with pioneer life is possible. Folklore tales of the shifts and makeshifts to obtain the necessities of life will make interesting reading a generation or two hence, and these, to have any other basis than that of the imagination, must be gathered within the next few years. So also the classification of the native food plants used in early times, and by Indians before the advent of the white man, must be undertaken soon if it is to be complete and authentic.
    Stories could even now be told of wild strawberries in their lusciousness and abundance; of camas and wild onions and thyme and sorrel and crabapples and grapes and gooseberries and watercress and a multitude of other edible wild things that could not now be verified by appeal to the woods and fields of Oregon. They exist chiefly in the memories of the early settler whose lives overlap the new era of cultivated abundance.--Portland Oregonian.
Medford Mail,
June 8, 1906, page 1

    The consumption of tropical fruit has become so large in Rogue River Valley that the importation of oranges and bananas by express lots will soon give way to car lots, as proven by the receipt of a carload of oranges at Medford recently. This is the first full car of tropical fruit ever brought to a Rogue River Valley town. And 60 crates of bananas received in one shipment recently is the record for that fruit for Medford.
"The Problem of a Market for Fruit," Rogue River Fruit Grower, April 1909

N A S H   G R I L L
75c--Table d'Hote Dinner--75c
Sunday, May 30
Oyster Cocktail
Olives     Radishes     Salted Pecans
Consomme aux Alphabet
Broiled Chinook Salmon, Maitre d'Hotel
Chip Potatoes
Salad a la Paysienne
Spring Lamb a la Turque
Fresh String Beans
Crater Lake Wafers
Stuffed Young Turkey
Cranberry Sauce
New Garden Peas     Mashed Potatoes
Nut Salad
Macaroon Ice Cream
Assorted Cake
Roquefort Cheese
Bent's Water Crackers
Demi Tasse
Advertisement, Medford Daily Tribune, May 29, 1909, page 8

Orders a Golden Buck and Thought He Would Get Venison.
    MEDFORD, Or., Oct. 2.--(Special.)--Because of his failure to discriminate in the products of culinary art, a popular young man and a member of the elite set of this community has been compelled to bear the brunt of a joke during the past week.
    The dapper individual escorted his fiancee to a table in one of the first-class cafes here the other evening. While scanning the menu card he observed the notation "Golden Buck 15 cents." With an air of suggestiveness he inquired of the young lady her taste for the dish. She was agreeable and accordingly her escort hailed a waiter.
    "Two Golden Bucks, please," he said, and the waiter bowed away.  The momentary silence that reigned was broken when the young man said:
    "I just love venison, don't you, dear?"
    "Yes," sighed the maiden.
    "I do wish that waiter would chase those two Golden Bucks in here quick," responded the young man, endeavoring to be cute.
    In the brief wait that followed they chatted foolishly of occurrences of the evening.
    Presently the waiter returned bearing a conglomeration of dishes on a tray. He equalized his burden on the table before the young man and his fiancee. The waiter was preparing to withdraw and permit them to continue their conversation when he observed the young man scowl as he lifted the cover from the dish before him.
    "Waiter, come here!" he said, sharply. "We ordered venison and look; you brought us poached eggs on toast!"

Sunday Oregonian, Portland, October 3, 1909, page 47

    A good inspector would be a good improvement in Medford. It is rather trying for the housekeeper to pay the high prices she must for food and then have a great deal of it unfit for use. If there was a food inspector the commission men would not dare accept a great deal of the green stuff which is unloaded in Medford markets. Dairymen would not sell worked-over butter for first class at exorbitant prices, and the ranchers would be a little more particular about collecting eggs for market. If the housekeeper were getting first-class food she would not object to paying the high prices.
"What Medford Needs . . .From Woman's Standpoint," Medford Mail Tribune, May 15, 1910, page B1

    A lot of folk fall down badly in their well-meaning attempts at economy by reducing both the quantity and variety of the bill of fare beyond a point which is justifiable and reasonable. It doesn't pay to underfeed horses which have to work, nor does it pay human beings to take less food than is needed to maintain the body in a healthy condition and furnish the excess vitality consumed in labor. A lot of folk who subsist largely on potatoes, wheat bread and tea should balance their ration with bacon and eggs, beefsteak, cornbread and baked beans when they would get rid of that "tired feeling" which they suppose is due to a disordered liver or some other like cause.
F. E. Trigg, Central Point, "Farm, Orchard and Garden," Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire, June 29, 1910, page 6

    A lot of folk in town and country are pretty regular takers of booze tonics and invigorators and are breeding bleary eyes and red noses when what they need is not slop of this kind, but more corn-fed beef, more pure milk and fresh eggs, more sunshine during the day and fresh air at night. This last prescription doesn't cost anything, but it will take the kinks out of a disordered stomach or liver quicker than any dope on the market.
F. E. Trigg, Central Point, "Farm, Orchard and Garden," Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, October 19, 1910, page 3




ICED CELERY                                                 OLIVES

        SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 1911

Grand opening menu, Medford Sun, March 11, 1911, page 6.  Presumably their everyday menu was simpler.

"Doc" Reddy Would Take Doughnuts for Breakfast,
While Walt McCullum Is Strong for Minced Clams
    If you had your choice of all the good things in the world to eat, what would you choose?
    "Doc" J. F. Reddy would take doughnuts for breakfast, but Police Chief J. F. Hittson would draw a circle around the bill of fare and take everything in sight except honey.
    "There is nothing to eat that I don't like," said the chief as he brought his auto to a halt and tilted his helmet on the back of his head. "I even like honey. But it doesn't like me. So I have to cut it out. Give me anything else from calves' brains to fried oysters and I am there three times a day."
    A popular breakfast food [i.e., Natural Food Co.'s Shredded Whole Wheat Biscuits] is advertised by the slogan: "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are."
    But in Medford it is safer to reverse this--"Tell me what you are and I will tell you what you eat."
    Here are a few of the gastronomical preferences of some of our leading citizens, with a few explanatory notes thereto.
    Mayor Canon: "I like about everything, but a piece of fat beef has my preference. That reminds me of a trip to San Francisco with Merrick and Wortman. We ordered a fine 10x4 beefsteak. About a third of it was tallow--not fat, but tallow. Merrick examined it and said it wasn't tallow, but whale blubber. Whatever it was we couldn't negotiate it. That is the only time I can recall that I had to pass up any sort of fat beef."
    A. S. Rosenbaum: "That's easy. Give me a good piece of broiled venison."
    Secretary Boos of the chamber of commerce: "That reminds me of a story. It was in 1900 and I was superintendent of printing for the census. We wanted a good appropriation, and Senator Knute Nelson and Senator [William A.] Clark of Montana were influential parties. So we asked the two distinguished gentlemen what they liked best to eat, so that we could give them a banquet that would be to their taste. Clark was easy. Pheasant was what he wanted. Then we went to Knute Nelson. "Well, yentlemen," said he, "I don't know anything better than a good corn biff an' cabbuge!" So when we gave the $1000 blowout, there was the pheasant before the senator from Montana, and a fine display of corned beef and cabbage ornamented Knute Nelson's place. We got the appropriation, but it was cut down a few thousand, and I have always attributed the fact to some disappointment on the Minnesota senator's part in that 'corn biff an' cabbuge.'"
    "Jess" Enyart, president of the Medford National Bank: "I eat no breakfast and drink no coffee. For lunch I take some strawberry shortcake and for dinner a good piece of beefsteak and the best baked potato I can find. Put me down for beefsteak and baked potato."
    H. B. Patterson of the Quaker Nurseries: "I am a chef. And I eat what I cook, and lots of it. Next to ham bone and 'possum smothered in French fries, put me down for calves' liver and bacon."
    Professor P. J. O'Gara: "Eggs. If I didn't know so much about the chemistry of hen fruit I would eat nothing but eggs three times a day. But I can't stand chicken. Put me down for eggs."
    George L. Davis, president of the Farmers' and Fruitgrowers' Bank, and county commissioner: "Beefsteak medium. None of these fad foods for mine. Some doctors say meat isn't good for you. It's the best medicine I know."
    Colonel Mundy: "Give me strawberries three times a day."
    Walter McCallum: "Minced clams. I know no sweeter sound when I go home at night than to hear my wife say 'minced clams.'"
Medford Sun, June 4, 1911, page B2

    "Any Medford doctor can tell to a day the day that the Medford water system was turned on," says Dr. Conroy. "Previously, all doctors were kept busy with typhoid and intestinal troubles. Since people have been using the gravity water supply, however, Medford has become one of the healthiest cities in the country, and there is little for the doctors to do. I really believe that in such a healthy climate as this, that if the people would eat properly, they would have the doctors starving to death."
"Water System Puts Doctors Out of Business," Medford Mail Tribune, August 1, 1913, page 5

    Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Price entertained at dinner Sunday afternoon, covers being laid for seventeen guests. The repast was a novel one, each course and every dish therein being prepared in Spanish style by the volunteer chef, Geo. F. Kelly, who furnished every evidence of possessing other talents than those customary to his calling of mining engineer. Curry powder and cayenne were lively constituents in the various meats and entrees, and the unusual dinner party was a distinct success despite the Spanish titles with which the volunteer chef ushered in each culinary stranger.
"Local News Notes,"
Gold Hill News, February 28, 1914, page 3

    S[ula] & I have popcorn & cream for supper--good enough for a king. This reminds me that when Jim Stewart & I were batching in Southern California we frequently made a meal on penola [pinole], i.e. parched corn ground fine and eaten with milk or honey. This is a favorite Spanish diet--penola and chilli con carne. This sticks to the ribs O.K.
Diary of W. J. Dean, January 5, 1915

    Speaking of bread, I was down to Geo. Brown & Sons' store Wednesday and noticed a large pasteboard sign with the word bread on it, so asked if they were selling bread, addressing Frank Brown, and he replied yes, that they had so many orders from the outside customers that they had to keep it for them notwithstanding there were two other stores handling it, it is not always that one can get it. And that shows how few of our citizens indulge in the old-fashioned luxury, hot biscuits for breakfast.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail Tribune, October 24, 1922, page 6

    A Christmas dinner that would have pleased the most fastidious of epicures was given to the members of the Medford fire department by their chief, Roy Elliott, Christmas Eve at 7 o'clock in the fire hall. The menu, extraordinary, was prepared and served by Chief Elliott himself, assisted by Assistant Engineer M. M. Harvey, who both cooked and baked each dish in the department kitchen.
    After the dinner was over the chief was presented with a pair of gold Masonic cuff links by the firemen as a token of their respect and in keeping with the Yuletide season.
    Nine fire department members: Assistant Chief Taylor Burch, Engineer Robert Rhiensburg, Assistant M. M. Harvey and Firemen Dewey Givan, Claude Stevens, Clair Speers, Ernest Epperson, Elliott Butler and Henry Haswell and Chief Elliott were present.
    The menu follows:
Cocktail                                                        Shrimp
Salad                    Waldorf Relish
Olives and Celery
Young Roast Oregon Turkey                               
                                Celery and Apple Dressing
Brown Gravy                                Cranberry Sauce
Creamed Mashed Potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Stewed Tomatoes
Hot Biscuit
Old English Fruit Cake, Whipped Cream
Raisin Pie and Coffee
    The dinner has become an annual affair, with Chief Elliott as host.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 26, 1925, page 6

    The first annual [pioneers] reunion was held at Ashland, Oregon, near where the Ashland creamery now stands, on the 13th of September 1877. There was a goodly number of the real oldtimers present, and the writer, at that time a spindling of a boy, distinctly remembers the occasion and especially does he remember the good things to regale the inner man provided by the good old pioneer mothers, who although they never heard of such a thing as a cooking school, knew just how to fry chickens, make pumpkin pies and build cakes that would make the rankest dyspeptic fall to and freely fill his rebellious paunch. . . .
    After the exercises come the dinner. My, what a feast it was! Fried chickens, boiled hams, roast beef, cakes of all kinds, cookies, jams, jellies, all kinds of fruits and melons, and oh! just everything good to eat! And not a soul there knew a thing about vitamin A, B, C or D, nor did they care a whoop about balanced rations. They just ate and talked and reminisced and altogether had a bully good time.
State Senator George W. Dunn, "History of Southern Oregon Pioneer Association, Formed in County Fifty Years Ago," Medford Mail Tribune, October 10, 1926, page B6

    America's eating habits are changing. From a corn pone-eating nation, we have turned into a nation of milk eaters.
    A recent study of American diet of the present day and that of 25 years ago shows that we are eating 73.3 percent less of corn meal--our national standby for 300 years--than we did then. We are also eating less of all bread, cake and the like, as is shown in the fact that the consumption of wheat flour products today is 12.7 percent under what it was back in the '90s.
    In contrast to this, we are now using 68 percent more dairy products than we did in the days "way back when." We eat more butter, drink more milk and consume enormous quantities of ice cream every day. We pamper our sweet tooth to the tune of a 43 percent gain in the consumption of sugar in the same 25 years. We are also helping ourselves to bigger meat and lard portions by 6.4 percent than did our parents.
    A factor which undoubtedly explains a good bit of the tremendous popularity of dairy products in our times is that we now take a lot of our milk in other ways than by drinking. Over 120,000,000 pounds of dry skim milk alone were used last year by makers of bread, bakery goods, biscuits, macaroni, prepared flours, sausage, ice cream, chocolates, cottage cheese and various other articles of human food to increase the health and nutritional qualities of these products. Increasing attention to the value of milk solids by the baking industry especially would appear to indicate that bread is due for a "comeback" to the popularity it enjoyed on the American table prior to the advent of the 20th century.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 7, 1928, page 7

    Reese Creek has started a new health record of eating some kind of mush cereal for breakfast, hoping to make the boys and girls better and healthier.
"Flames Destroy Barn,"
Medford Mail Tribune, October 19, 1928, page B1

    Long before the 900-calorie diet was ever thought of, Crowson's "Palace of Sweets" (near Swem's on Main Street) used to pile scoop upon scoop of luscious ice cream in a dish positively swimming with fudgy chocolate sauce, strawberry syrup, marshmallow and butterscotch toppings, real whipped cream, sprinkled generously with chopped nuts and topped with a teetering cherry. Total price, 20¢. Total calories, probably near a million.
    Come Sunday, it was the day to go to the Sunnyside Hotel (not a part of the Hilton chain) in Eagle Point, for it was there that "Ma" and Hattie Howlett cooked up a storm of food served family style for just a dollar. The menu included heaping platters of golden-fried chicken, mashed potatoes coming up for the last time in a sea of gravy, hot biscuits by the basket, roast beef, ham, succotash, creamed and freshly popped-from-the-pod peas, followed by your choice of big wedges of apple or berry pie and scrumptious layer cakes just begging not to be left alone on a table looking as if it had been struck by a tornado.
J.W.S., "Eating Out," Medford Mail Tribune, April 14, 1963, page 4

Last revised June 16, 2024