Pioneer Potluck: Memories of Costco

Pioneer Potluck: Memories of Costco

The State Of Alaska sends residents who have lived here for one year a check that was at one time an overflow of money from the oil companies. It has always been welcomed in our house hold and used wisely! This story was suggested by Bob who has a vivid imagination and a memory for fine details.

There is an article written by Susan Dunsmore in this year’s October Alaska Magazine that reminded Bob of the first time we visited Costco. She suggested that if you are looking for a boyfriend for the winter, try Costco. She says you can tell a lot of the man by what he has in his cart. It is a hilarious story — you should read it.

The year of our first trek to Costco was about 1987. We lived in a small one-bedroom cabin. We received our permanent fund checks at the same time Bob’s son, Mugs, age 9, was coming to visit us.

With much discussion we decided while we were in Anchorage picking Mugs up, we should go to Costco for some much need items.

We picked Mugs up at the airport our 1962-3 (?) LTD Ford and stopped at Costco. I took a big cart and Bob and Mugs took one. We headed off to pick up a “few” needed items. I do not know who broke the rule first, but it was like a big dam burst. The few items grew bigger and bigger in our carts.

I wanted 50 pounds of flour, and 25 pounds of sugar and all the cooking supplies that go with it. AND I needed canisters! Big canisters! We got some clothing, and for some reason Bob and Mugs found the candy isle. Big bags of candy, nuts, candy bars and a large sack of gummy worms found there way into the cart.

We wheeled our overflowing baskets up to the cashier, loaded our “bounty” back in the carts and out to the car. Opened the trunk and pushed and shoved as much goodies as we possible could and still be able to shut the trunk lid

We opened the back door and started packing things into the back seat. Higher and higher it grew. Bob is good at packing things into small spaces. The 50 pounds of flour went in the middle of the back seat, and the 25 pounds of sugar beside it. He then packed all that was left in the carts around the flour and sugar. The floor of the car was filled up, and the last thing was a coffee pot I wanted. That went onto the floor in the passenger front seat, so I could fit my feet beside it.

Well, the ONE thing we forgot was where Mugs was going to sit!! He solved that by climbing over the mound of groceries in the back seat and perched on the 50 pounds of lour!

He towered above us in the front seat. We all laughed at the big stash topped by Mugs!

The LTD looked like an overloaded freight train. The nose of the car high in the air and the back almost dragging on the ground, BUT we did not care — we had Mugs and a car load of “stuff we needed?”

Our trip home was uneventful and so much fun. Mugs, being a good sport, never complained about his perch!

After unloading the car and relieving it of its load, we packed every nook and cranny and cupboards full of our Costco stash into the cabin. We were happy and all set for the winter.

A few days later we went to the circus that was in town at the Sports Arena. I had only seen a few circuses in my life and we wanted to take Mugs. So we found our seat in the very middle of the arena about four flights up.

We were surrounded by lots of happy people who jabbered and talked as much as we did. We spotted daughter, Gail, and her then young son, Arleigh, age 3, way across the arena on the other side. I waved and waved, until they saw us. Just them Areligh started crying, screaming and sobbing. I looked at Bob and started to say he must be scared of the elephants.

To my horror, I looked at Bob with gummy worms sticking out of his ears, nose and mouth! AND Mugs had done the same sitting behind me, only he had twice as many sticking out of his mouth, nose and ears!

They were waiting for me to see them! I could not believe my eyes — sitting in the middle of a bunch of people we slightly knew, with a grinning grown man and a crazy kid with gummy worms stuck everywhere. They laughed so loud at my reaction they lost most of the gummy worms and ate the rest.

It was then that I realized that Arleigh MUST have seen his Grandma setting next to a man and a boy with worms sticking out all over! Arleigh cried so hard Gail had to take him home. I KNOW that is what happened to him! I was sure! Gail told me, NO, that was not the reason; he indeed was scared of the elephants. I am still not sure.

So this is the end of my story about our trip to Costco and the gummy worms. I never pass a bag of those disgusting things without smiling a little. AND you will NEVER get me to eat one!

Bob and I laughed at this memory that will be forever stashed in our memory bank. This was proof read and approved by Bob!

Thanks Bob!


I have had this recipe since 1969. I used it a lot when I entertained in Eagle River.

2 lbs of halibut chunks cut in bite-sized pieces

Stir-fry very quickly in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and one teaspoon of butter. Remove from pan, set aside. Halibut does not need to be cooked through.

Add to the skillet 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil


1 cup thinly sliced carrots

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 package of frozen and thawed French-style green beans. Drain and pat dry.

1/2 cup sliced onions

1/2 cup diced red and green bell pepper

Stir-fry quickly leaving the vegetables crispy.

In a separate small sauce pan, mix and stir and heat:

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger — this is what sets this dish off.

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 can chicken broth

Add to the skillet of vegetables and stir in the halibut. Heat one minute.

Serve with white steamed rice. Pass the slivered almonds and thin sliced green onions.

Try halibut cheeks, cut in half. Chicken is great in the recipe also.


1/2 pint of canned salmon dark pieces removed. Or 1 cup of leftover salmon

1 finely chopped onion

1/2 cup celery, chopped finely

1/2 cup chopped dill pickle

4 hard boiled eggs, shelled and diced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 teaspoon vinegar

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Serve on buttered toast or a toasted bun with lettuce and tomato and slice of pickle. It is just as good as an open-faced sandwich.


1 Box of favorite macaroni and cheese, fixed as directed

1 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup

1 Jar (1 pint) canned salmon — dark pieces removed — drained

1 tablespoon each chopped onion and chopped celery

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese or cheese of choice

Fold together with 1/2 cup milk

Pour into the beautiful blue stoneware oval casserole dish.

Grate one slice of toasted bread over top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


This recipe does not require eggs! Eggs were hard to buy in Alaska in the 50s and 60s

My very good friend Marie Bean made this for the hungry little faces and this young momma when we lived in Poudre Canyon, Colorado. We went to her house and played Yatzee two or three times a week. This is how my kids learned to count and use addition and subtraction. She was a great teacher!

The recipe card this is written on, from Marie, is all yellow, but readable.

Is there a place for recipes cards in the Hall of Fame?

In a bowl:

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons cocoa-heaping

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon soda

Stir with fork to blend well:


1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat with a wooded spoon for two minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. 

NOTE: This is a mile-high recipe — and it may just take a little longer to bake.

Frost with dark chocolate canned frosting. Or your favorite fudge frosting. It also is good without frosting, with a big dollop of whipped cream on top. OR, as our good friend Dan Fenton loved, cream and sugar poured on top.

More in Life

Miles Morales, played by Shameik Moore, finds himself opposed by a legion of Spider-People in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” (Promotional image courtesy Sony Pictures)
On the Screen: ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ is somehow again groundbreaking

It’s unlike anything else in theaters. It shouldn’t be missed.

Minister’s Message: Christ brings divine change

Change was a huge factor in the ministry of Jesus Christ

Quinoa Chickpea Kale Salad is packed with filling protein and great nutrition without being too heavy on the stomach. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Fresh and hearty salad to fuel springtime’s busy days

Quinoa Chickpea Kale Salad can be simply poured into a bowl and eaten without breaking stride

When Takotna resident Alec MacDonald registered in February 1942 for the military draft, he falsely claimed to have been born in 1900 in Chautauqua County, Kansas.
The Separate Lives of the Man Who Fell — Part 1

Even now, with much more of the truth laid bare, mysteries remain

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of H Warren’s “Binded” is held in the Peninsula Clarion building on Thursday.
Off the Shelf: Political resistance bound to the personal

“Binded,” a new poetry anthology by Alaska author, confronts nonbinary, rural existence

“A Thousand Cabbages and other poems” by Mary Mullen. Published by Hardscratch Press, 2023. (Promotional photo)
Taking a wider view

‘A Thousand Cabbages and other poems’ sweeps across time and distance in Mullen’s second outing

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: The spring emergence of Willie

He grudgingly skulks out of hibernation only when the sun has decisively conquered the last drifts of winter

Minister’s Message: Don’t give up on life

No doubt, life has its difficulties

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, August 5, 2022 for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Blues, brass, Cajun and local acts to perform at ‘eclectic’ Ninilchik festival

Salmonfest headliners include Old Crow Medicine Show, Sierra Ferrell, Leftover Salmon, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Jackie Venson, The Burroughs and the High Hawks

Most Read