Pioneer Potluck: About living at Daniels Lake

Pioneer Potluck: About living at Daniels Lake

  • By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg
  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019 10:00pm
  • LifeFood



We had a wonderful fun winter in 1969 on Daniels Lake. The kids made good use of the frozen lake with snow machines and skating. Of course there was a lot of sledding down the hill and onto the lake, but everyone went feetfirst after seeing how David broke his arm going down the hill headfirst. He healed and I have never forgotten that I did not believe him.

In the spring when fishing started, we fished at Bishop Creek and at Swanson River. Me and my gal friends Leatha and Jo Anne canned tons of salmon. We also canned smoked salmon that most men did because they had just a little bit better recipe than the next. All was good, but I think the best was from Gene and Betty Coulter. (My daughter, Gail, is the very best when it comes to smoked salmon. She goes to a lot of work skinning the bark off the wood and does a long cold smoke. It is wonderful. !)

I learned to scale and gut and skin salmon. I also learned to cook salmon every way possible. BUT the very best recipe was the one I got from Gene and Betty Coulter, beer-battered halibut and salmon. Gene was so precise about what kind of beer — had to be Ole Beer, warm. He stirred and stirred and then let it set for hours. He finally dipped his fish chunks cut just the right size into the batter. He fried it like a professional cook and took great pride in the end result. Betty did the same when she cooked fish, except she liked Budweiser for her batter. And she added her wonderful-tasting Alaskan-grown cabbage from her garden, for slaw that she cut so thin and even. She also used the real mayonnaise. Hellmann’s!

I learned to can that spring also. Up until that time I was terrified of pressure cookers. Leatha was my teacher. Earlier that winter we made 46 DOZEN tamales from ground moose meat.

We ground moose hamburger from a homemade meat grinder. It consisted of a large meat grinder nailed to a stump and the drill from a grinder hooked to the handle. Two men would push with all their might to hold the stump down with their feet, while one more man would start the grinder. If they did not do that, the stump would take off in a circle flinging moose everywhere.

We had an assembly line of friends and we shared every bit of moose meat. The men shot and dressed the moose, then they cut it into steaks and roast, and tough pieces into hamburger. The gals would trim and wrap the different cuts of meat and put them in a pile — usually we shared with four families. When the hamburger was ground we divided up the large amount, and put it in four different piles to wrap in freezer paper. Everyone got equal amounts. We had moose and fish in the freezer at all times. Between the four families, there were 13 or 14 kids from age baby to just barely teen.

Our life was full and fun and we developed friends forever. That was 50 years ago and my memories are as clear as the day I learned all about Alaskan living. I loved it and I still do! Which brings me to the next story!


2019 January.

My grandson Arleigh and my son David are home from the North Slope. They came to visit us Sunday. Arleigh piled his two little sweetie pies on his snow machine and brought them down to visit. Braleigh age 3 1/2 and Bralyn who is 4 1/2 always have smiles to greet us while the big folks talked. David and Kyianna had arrived earlier. Braleigh crawled up on my lap and I asked her what Grandma (Gail) was doing.

She turned and looked at me like I should know — and replied, “She’s making me bread to eat.”

“Oh,” I said. “Are you going to share?”

Another look of amazement came from her cute face and looking at me like I was dumb!

“Yes –I love it! We gonna eat it when we get home.”

Turns out that they helped Grandma Gail make bread. Gail is the best bread maker around! She takes time and has the patience that I sometimes do not have. It is so very good. I bet Braleigh will OVERSET FOLLOWS:grow up making bread just like Grandma!!

That put a smile on my face and I remembered the first time I ate “Grandma’s bread.”

I was probably about Braleigh’s age and I was being baby sat by Grandma and Grandpa Cosgwell. I can still remember where she kept the flour and sugar in her side-cupboard with the flour and sugar bin built in. How nice the loaves looked as they rose in the pans. And how the kerosene stove smelled as it was baking — sending out the grand aroma of home-baked bread.

Grandpa was in his wooden rocker with his pipe in his mouth, legs crossed waiting for the bread to cool so we could sit at the table and have a piece of warm bread.

It was so hard to be patient to let it cool.

Finally, Grandma would put out three small dishes and the homemade butter, cut the loaf in large slices and put each piece on our plate.

Grandpa would always wait for her to sit down and then he would pick up my piece of warm bread and put a thick slather of butter on it and lay it back in my plate.

I knew by instinct that I had better wait for them to get their bread buttered. Grandpa would take a big bite and look at Grandma — that’s the very best bread Freda, she would tell her. I had my mouth full and would agree.

She would grin and say thank you Ernest. BUT the very best bread and butter at Grandma’s was day-old bread for a snack — that had a lots of butter and then grandma would remove the sugar bowl lid and take the spoon and sprinkle large amounts of sugar on my piece of bread. My mouth waters to this day!!

It’s the little simple things that have gone from this world!!

Susan shared a memory of Grandma McClure’s bread (My Mom). While visiting in Colorado, Susan said that Grandma baked a loaf just for her. She ate the whole loaf, but not at one setting. She did slurp up every bit of it though!

Oh great memories I have of Mom’s bread too — homemade butter that I got to churn in a big gallon jar by rolling it on the cupboard until it turned to butter, then we got to drink the buttermilk. We had homemade bread or biscuits at almost every meal while I was growing up

Mom made our sandwiches out of her bread to take in our school lunches. Now that was extra good! Lots of mayonnaise and lunch meat with lettuce while we were in high school Mom discovered white sandwich bread from the grocery store. It must have been a wonderful time-saver for her! Her sandwiches were just as good!

Bob tells me he remembers his mom’s bread-baking by the great smell of homemade bread. He also says he made his kids BS sandwiches to take to school. When the teacher asked one day what kind of sandwiches they ate, they replied quite innocently, “BS Sandwiches.” The teacher called the dad (Bob) and asked what he was teaching his kid? She said they were eating BS sandwiches!! Bob said, “Well, have you never heard of butter and sugar sandwiches?”

No more was said abut his kids’ BS sandwiches.

So here I have filled this page with memories of homemade bread. Now I guess I had better bake some bread and make Bob a BS sandwich. !!

Oh dear, one more story!!

Helen Forshay lived on a dry-land farm in Colorado — not to far from Dad’s farm — in the 1940s during WWII. Dad hired Helen to babysit me, Brother Sonny and Sister Ginger, while Mom worked in the fields on a tractor. Helen always brought homemade bread for everyone to eat.

Dad went to take Helen something one day. She lived with her Mom and son in the middle of a fenced-in yard that was dusty and dirty with cows, hogs, chicken, geese and goats that wandered in and out of the house. Helen was kneading bread on the table when a chicken flew up on the chair back and watcher her knead bread.

Dad would tell this story many times and he would say she brought it down to us and WE ATE IT!!


I have to tell on myself as I had never heard of Focaccia bread. I also did not know how to pronounce it!! I called it “Foc-a-see-a” bread. A very nice lady who was a customer of the gift shop and greenhouse that Susan and Porter own, finally corrected me in a low modest tone, “Honey, it is pronounced Fo-Kay-Sha!”

I was embarrassed and thanked her, but then I had to hurry and tell Susan I had mispronounced the bread before she told someone to go get some good-tasting Foc-a-see-a bread. We still smile about it.

In a large bowl that has been warmed in the oven or in the sink full of warm water:

3/4 cup lukewarm water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fast-rise yeast

3/4 teaspoon salt

Stir to dissolve.

Add 2 cups of flour.

Stir until smooth and knead into a ball until it is shaped and shiny. Place in the warm, buttered bowl and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until double.

Punch down and press into a large, oiled pizza pan. Make a lip around the edge and dimple the top by pushing finger tips into the dough. Let rise 30 minutes and gently re-dimple dough.

Drizzle with olive oil over top. Place in oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Remove and add the following toppings:

1 cup onions that have been sautéed until gold

Fresh herbs, any combination of oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme and parsley

Cracker pepper, generous amount

A sprinkle of Kosher salt or sea salt or garlic salt

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

Sliced black olives

You may add diced tomatoes also — I do not

Parmesan cheese

Place bread back in oven for just 10 minutes to warm the herbs and onions and bring out the flavor of the cheese. Cut in squares in the round pan. Serve warm and enjoy this delightful bread.


This is fun bread for Easter.

Make dough same as above, except place apples on top of dough before baking.

After you have dimpled it twice and let it rise, sprinkle with olive oil.

Place 1 1/2 cups each green and red apple sliced very thin, layered in a circle on the dough.

Top with:

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoon sugar

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly and drizzle with powdered sugar frosting. Cut in small squares.


This is for a bread machine but can easily kneaded on board.

Place the following in order in bread machine:

3/4 cups warm water

1 egg slightly beaten

3/4 cups buttermilk, warm

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons dill weed (optional)

1 ½teaspoon garlic salt

4 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons Rapid Rise yeast

Place in order in machine.

Program for basic bread dough. I sometimes program just for kneading and then form my own loaf and bake for 30-40 minutes in oven.

Sometimes if bread dough looks sticky, I add one tablespoon at a time of flour until the dough no longer sticks to the bread machine pan.

Good slicing bread for sandwiches.

• By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg

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