1897 Klondike Gold Rush Supplies

by Rena

The Canadian government required those going to the Klondike gold fields to bring a year’s supply of food with them to avoid starvation during the long Yukon winter. Some of the recommended supplies included 400 pounds of flour, 200 pounds of bacon, and 100 pounds of beans! (1)

(1) Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

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Baked Alaska

It was probably about the time of the Klondike Gold Rush when the dessert Baked Alaska was so named. The ingredients are:

  • Sponge Cake [invented 1700s – early 1800s] or other sweet base
  • Meringue [invented in the 1600s]
  • Ice Cream [invented in China 3000 BC ]

The recipe itself was earlier, probably from China, and introduced to the Parisians by the Chinese in the mid 1800s. The Paris cooks revised the recipe from a pastry casing to a meringue casing for ice cream, and that is how it was introduced to the United States. It was probably from Delmonico’s NY kitchen under Chef Charles Ranhofer that the recipe was adapted and renamed to honor the American rush to Alaska. [See The Big Apple article by for a well-reseached time-line with recipes from different times.]

Directions

Place on a board a thin layer of sponge cake cut an inch larger than your brick of ice cream [any size rectangular block] Place the very-hard frozen ice cream brick on the sponge cake and cover quickly with a meringue, spreading it thickly all over the ice cream, using a pastry tube for the finish. Place in a hot oven to brown the meringue, and then transfer to a serving plate.

Or you could use a pie shell or cookie as a base. For how-to videos on Baked Alaska and for a thourough reflection on the history please see The Big Apple article by Barry Popik.

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