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Tales from the Tread: Exploring our heritage through food


Candice Bannister
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Cinnamon-apple skillet cake. (Courtesy photo)
Courtesy photo

“…the most treasured things passed down from generation to generation are the family recipes.” — Robert St. John

Take a culinary journey through the past with the Tread of Pioneers Museum in the tasty, three-part series, “A Taste of History,” and savor the history and family traditions that are held in family recipes and cooking methods from Routt County.

Recipes and family meals are an integral part of our heritage as they demonstrate a historical perspective of home life, local agriculture, wildlife and plants, as well as family ties and connections between generations.

Now in its fifth year, each event features food-savvy speakers from longtime local families in the county as well as cooking implements and food preparations from the past. Delicious dishes are available for tasting made from historic Routt County recipes.

Many of the recipes used for the events come from the “Fair Family Favorites” cookbook, a compilation of hundreds of historic Routt County recipes from the last 100 years. The cookbook, which honors the 100th anniversary of the Routt County Fair, was created by a group of women with lineage in Routt County dating back decades. The women contributed recipes from their own families and scoured the county for others.

In the cookbook’s introduction, contributor Nancy Mucklow wrote, “The recipes gathered here come from generations of Routt County ranchers, farmers, homemakers, city folk, culinary geniuses, chefs, master food preservers and young tykes adventurous enough to make an entry for the fair. … These pages include recipes that pioneers brought with them from home and memories of rows of luscious cakes and clear jars of home canned pickles.”

Mucklow, along with Linda Long, is a volunteer for the “A Taste of History” events.

If you go

What: Tread of Pioneers Museum’s “A Taste of History” events
When: noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 28 and March 27
Where: Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St.
Cost: Free but donations are appreciated

Through the events, the museum aims to honor the recipes, heritage, traditions and wonderful families in our county.

The 2020 line-up

  • Friday, Jan. 31: WWII Ration Recipes
    Presented in conjunction with the museum’s new World War II exhibit, “End of an Era,” this program will feature Routt County recipes used during the war when food and other rations were in place. We will focus on satisfying sweet tooths, despite sugar rations and discuss the beginnings of home demonstration agents.
  • Friday, Feb. 28: Recipes from the Root Cellar
    Featuring soups and using up those carrots, squash and potatoes, leftover in the root cellar.
  • Friday, March 27: Celebrate Local Food and Agriculture Appreciation Week
    Presented in conjunction with the Community Agriculture Alliance and Ag Appreciation Week, local foods and recipes will tickle your taste buds.

Candice Bannister is executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs.


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