Introduction to The AWBGBP Cookbook

It seems like ages ago, but I actually worked as a cook and, for a time, cooking was one of my favorite hobbies. During that time I use to bake bread twice a week, and made a mean Szechwan Chicken. Fifteen years and fifty pounds later, my hobbies reflect a desire to shed some of that baggage and get out into the wilderness.

So, one day I was pawing thru some of my fathers old things, I came upon a cookbook published in 1949 by the American Gas Machine Company, of Albert Lea, Minnesota, called "Favorite Recipes of Famous Outdoorsmen". The American Gas Machine Company, it seems, produced a line of portable stoves and things, such as: a portable camp stove called a Kampkook, a portable ice box called Kampkold, and a considerably less portable gas stove called a Kabinkook. It seems that the cookbook was a vehicle for advertising their product.

After examining the recipes contained within I realized that this was a cookbook, the likes of which, I have never seen before. It was a cookbook made by manly men who did manly things, and ate manly food.

The cookbook contains three types of recipes:

  1. Standard "Joy of Cooking" type recipes, which can be found in just about any cookbook, and certainly in the "Joy of Cooking".
  2. Recipes where an assortment of wild game is breaded and fried in a half inch of bacon grease.
  3. The real gems, which are found in the Axe-Woodsman Bacon-Grease Bear-Paw Cookbook.
So, why go through the effort of publishing this stuff? There are two main reasons: first, I am curious, before these book I did not know how "head cheese" was prepared, nor how one would cook a bear, (not that I am inclined to). I imagine that others may be as curious about things as I am. My second reason for publishing this on the internet is for historical reasons. These recipes are not easy to find. The "Favorite Recipes of Famous Outdoorsman" may not exist outside of that cedar chest, and in the current atmosphere of political correctness, some of these recipes are certain to draw a few frowns. Hell, my wife has a big problem with me publishing this stuff and wants me to post disclaimers all over it. These recipes tell me part of a story of how a previous generation lived, if we can listen with an open mind, it is possible learn something.

Everyone should know that each recipe is the actual prose of the original author. Also, keep in mind that manly men have little time to write down minor details such as actual quantities used, the actual flavor of the dish may have improved with the telling, and some of the recipes have ingredients that may be on protected species lists. I don't nessesarily recommend you try this at home.

Not too long after finding "Favorite Recipes of Famous Outdoorsmen", I came across another book called "What in the World's for Dinner?" presented by Folkl-Rama from Canada's Festival of Nations.

In it were some fabulous Inuit recipes. Simple, direct, and perfect for the AWBGBP Cookbook. I'd like to quote a paragraph from the book:

Many of the following are not recipes as we know them. They are direct quotes of verbal conversations with the Inuit people and give a wealth of insight into their character and culture. The instructions for preparing the food are delightfully direct, with an honesty and forthrightness that is a true reflection of the people who originated them.