Volume 6 Issue 2
September 1999


Chuck Wagon
National Capital Area Council

This can be as simple as a bake sale or can include hot dogs, chili, sodas, etc., depending on the time of day and the manpower available.

-Rock Candy 1 Serving
1 Glass jar/drinking glass
Food coloring (optional yellow for gold)
1 Piece of cotton string
1 c Water
1 Pencil or stick
2 c Sugar
1 Paper clip
Additional sugar

Tie a short piece of cotton string to the middle of the pencil or stick. Attach a paper clip to the end of the string for a weight. Dampen the string very lightly, and roll in small amount of sugar (this will "attract" the sugar crystals from the syrup to the string). Place the pencil or stick over the top of the glass or jar with the string hanging down inside. Heat the water to boiling, and dissolve 2 cups of sugar into it. For bigger crystals faster, heat the sugar-water solution a second time, and dissolve as much additional sugar as you can into it. Add a few drops of the food coloring to the solution if desired. Pour the solution into the prepared glass or jar and leave undisturbed for a few of days. Depending on how much sugar you were able to dissolve into the water, you should start to see crystals growing in a few hours to a few days.

My mind turned to mush trying to figure out fun food idea for this theme. Carolyn from the Chief Seattle Council sent me this great info about food eaten during the Gold Rush, plus tips on foods to feature.


During the Gold Rush there were no refrigerators and little meat except jerky. Prairie chicken were expensive and mainly for special occasions and miners didn't have a great deal of time to hunt. There were wild onions, prairie potatoes (something like turnips), dried corn, squashes, radishes, beans. Honey was the main sweetener since sugar was heavy to carry over the mountains. The pioneers brought baking soda with them and Baking Powder became commercially available in the 1850s (then called yeast powder). Sourdough became popular because it would keep. They used few herbs and spices with the possible exception of some sage; they seasoned with only salt and pepper or followed the Indian tradition and used neither. They ate lots of biscuits -- often with gravy -- and lots of flapjacks. They also made fry bread.

Fry Bread
4 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

Combine ingredients. Add about 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water and knead until dough is soft but not sticky. Shape dough into balls the size of a small peach. Shape into patties by hand; dough should be about l/2 inch thick. Make a small hole in the center of the round. Fry one at a time in about l inch of shortening in a heavy pan. Brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with honey.


Blonde Brownies
for their golden color

2/3 cup melted margarine
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
2 cups flour, sifted

Stir together melted margarine and sugars. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in sifted flour, baking powder and soda. Stir in chips (and nuts.) Spread in greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Do not overbake these; they will get dry and crunchy instead of soft & moist.

Hardtack Biscuits
(A truly old recipe)


2 Cups all-purpose Flour

One-half Teaspoon Salt ( or more, for authenticity. Salt was used very extensively in food preparation and storage in the 19th Century ).

Work in by Hand:

One Teaspoon Shortening


About One-half Cup of Water, stirred in a little at a time to make a very stiff Dough.


Beat the Dough to one half inch thickness with a clean Top Mallet or Rifle Butt. Fold the sheet of dough into 6 layers. Continue to beat and fold the dough 5 or 6 times until it is very elastic. Roll the Dough out to one-half-inch thickness before cutting it with a floured Biscuit Cutter or Bayonet.

Bake: About 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Hardtack Recipe Preheat oven to 400° F. For each cup of flour (unbleached wheat), add 1 tsp. of salt. Mix salt and flour with just enough water to bind ingredients. Roll the dough about 1/4 inch thick, and cut into squares 3 inches by 3 inches. Pierce each square with 16 holes about ˝ inch apart. Place hardtack squares on cookie sheet and bake in oven until edges are brown or dough is hard (20-25 minutes), making sure all moisture is removed from mixture before taking out of oven.

Note: The longer you bake the hardtack, the more authentic it will appear. If you want to make it softer for eating, bake only about 15 minutes.

Simple Pancakes
Peanut Butter Pancakes
2 c Pancake mix
2 c Milk
2 Eggs
6 T Peanut butter

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. Bake on a preheated, lightly greased skillet or grill.

Sourdough Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil

Let starter sit at room temperature overnight. Sift dry ingredients. Combine eggs, buttermilk and oil with starter. Mix in dry ingredients until just blended. Cook on prepared griddle over medium heat. Makes about a dozen 6 inch pancakes. For Waffles, use 1 teaspoon soda.

On the Subject of Sourdough

If you are lucky enough to be gifted with a good sourdough starter, treasure it! If not, you can start your own:

2 cups milk
2 cups unbleached flour

Mix milk and flour with a wooden spoon in a 2-quart nonmetallic container (sterilized with boiling water). Cover with lid slightly ajar and let stand overnight in a warm place (75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) until the start bubbles and has a sour smell. It starter turns color, or mold appears, throw it out and start again! If the above process does not work, substitute buttermilk for whole milk and add 1 teaspoon dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Never store starter in a metal container or use a metal spoon to stir. After the starter is fermented, it should be kept in the refrigerator. Before using, stir in the liquid that has collected on top. After each use, replenish with 1 cup each of flour and milk. If you do not use the starter for 10 days, or it fails to rise properly, pour out half and replenish with flour and water (you may wish to sterilize the starter container). Let the starter sit at room temperature, lightly covered, overnight before refrigerating.

Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that USSSP, Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.

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