Pioneer Recipes Often Puzzling for Modern Cooks

Grandmother's pioneer recipe for gingerbread causes woman to wonder about results.

Content Tools

Pioneer recipes were seldom as specific as recipes today, but this one for gingerbread from my grandmother's day really has me puzzled. She wrote:

"I always take some flour, just enough for the cake I want to make. I mix it up with some buttermilk if I happen to have any of it, just enough for the flour. Then I take some ginger; some like more, some like less. I put in a little salt and pearl ash, and then I tell one of my children to pour in molasses till I tell him to stop. Then the children bring in wood to build up a good fire and we have gingerbread for company.”

No doubt Grandma got better results from this recipe than I would!

Mrs. E.A. Stowell
Boscobel, Wisconsin


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.