Pioneer Potluck: Dropping the connection

This week’s recipes: sauerkraut casserole, lemon ginger salmon, banana split dessert

  • Tuesday, February 19, 2019 10:07pm
  • LifeFood

February 10-17, 2019

Our days run together this time of year, like a lot of your days I am sure.

I had troubles with my internet and so for three days I was out of contact with the other world! In the wintertime in North Nikiski, it is a big void in my life. My life came back together with the internet back in order.

The next day the other lifeline, my pal, my phone — the link to the outer world — accidentally flew out of my vest pocket and into the toilet. It dunked in and I grabbed it out in a matter of seconds. That was just long enough to soak everything. My phone had drowned. Yes, I had lots of helping comments and the main idea — putting it in a rice sack — did not do its magic. So I was without my phone for four days until our friend Kelly Cooper at Glacier View Cabins in Homer came to the rescue and left a phone in Soldtona for us to retrieve. Daughter Susan drove me to Soldotna and to the phone company for them to restore my data. That took all day.

Susan spent many hours getting my first phone set up and then had to do that again!! Actually I think this is the third time she has done this!! She took a whole day and drove me around and got me set up again. I am back in business again and in touch with my friends and relatives. My world is round again!

What did people do without phones (and computers)? How did they function? Letters! When I first came to Alaska we did not have phones. I wrote long letters to my family every week. It is a lost art I am sure! The homesteaders of Alaska must have loved their way of life as they were at times snowed in for months. And if you were lonesome you went to visit. Another lost art!

Bob and I do not mind being snowbound, but some people do and they are on the antsy side until they can continue with the daily routine. This current snowstorm we are having in North Nikiski brings us back to the year in 1989 when we were snowed in for days. Bob read Robert Service and all the Patrick McManus stories to me. We played Kings Corner, put puzzles together and did cross word puzzles. We always had a stock of canned food in supply. And we were always warm beside the woodstove!

We walked in and out through the hip-deep snow with laundry and groceries. We had a woodstove and were soon warm and toasty. Our lights were oil lanterns and we had a battery-operated radio. Oh, those were to good ol’ days … Well I am grateful for the snow plow and the battery-operated lanterns and we still have a woodstove in case the electricity goes out.

I am sure we all get a little dingy in this long winter, snowy Alaska, so when I was talking to my friend Cathy on the phone I spent about five minutes looking for it!! I looked all over the house; I checked my pockets in my coat. My next step was to go out to my sewing room which is separate from the house. I reached for the door knob when I discovered I had the phone in my hand up to my ear talking to Cathy!! I blame it on the long winters!!

We have a friend who told us she looked all over her house for her phone, with the light on her phone in her hand!! Ever lost your phone and had no way to call your phone to see where you parked it? Anyway, I actually could not do without my phone as I use it for emails and texts and photos and, of course, talking to my relatives and friends. I am forever grateful to Susan for her courage to teach me NEW things and never give up ‘till I learn them. And reteaching me when I forgot…

While I am telling on myself, I need to add the big mystery Bob put us in a few mornings ago. He came out of the bathroom and said, “Can’t find my teeth.” That was a big alarm to me because he has had his bottom teeth for three days and we had just paid them off! No, he said I have those — I can’t find my uppers. I looked on the table, under the table, and in every nook and cranny. He looked in his pockets. If we would have had a dog we would have blamed him! Well, he said they must be in the cave/shop, put his clothes on and was slipping into his shoes when he turned around and pointed at his mouth. YUP! He had them in his mouth the whole time!! We laughed so hard we both had tears running down our face. It is still funny!

Of course, there are a million stories about lost glasses — found perched on top of the head. I have to tell this one on our Dad. He came storming out of the bedroom … with his elbows out and said to Mom, “Loretta how many time have I told you to buy your own glasses — I am tired of looking for mine when you have them.” Mom looked up and in total surprise saw Dad’s glasses perched on top of his head. She said, “John they are on your head.” Dad quickly turned around and marched back down the hall — he never ever said a word about his glasses after that.

Oh, then there was the mystery of the varnishing salt and pepper shakers. I found then later behind the bread in the refrigerator. I have no idea how they got there because I do not remember doing it. I am sure someone else put them there.

I hope you find fun and a little laughter each day.


2 pound salmon steaks or fillets

Juice of one lemon

3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey

1 to 2 grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon powder ginger — yes, both

Place salmon in ziploc with rest of ingredients

Close bag and gently shake to coat. Refrigerate one hour.

In a double-lined cake pan, place fish with marinade — add:

1/2 melted butter

1 sliced lemon — lay on top of fish

Seal top with foil.

Place in oven for 45 minutes to one hour. Check to see if fish is done in thickest part. Remove top of foil and serve from the pan — garnish with sliced lemon and parsley.

Rice goes great with this tasty dish. Add garlic sourdough bread and green salad.


I have made my share of homemade sauerkraut from Alaskan cabbage. You do have to be knowledgeable about how to ferment and care for it. Nora does a great job making sauerkraut.

In a large skillet, brown:

1 pound of kielbasa or Italian sausage

Cut in 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, chopped

Stir in: 2 apples if you like, peeled and quartered. 1 large can of undrained kraut or 1 quart of homemade.

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 cup water

Put lid on and simmer until apples are tender and the smell makes your mouth water.

Serve from the skillet. Pass the butter and salt and pepper.


2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

1 stick of butter melted

1/2 cup sugar

Mix sugar into the crumbs in a 9 x 13 dish

Pour butter over and mix until well blended. Press the crumbs in dish and up sides. Bake 10 minutes and completely cool

Spread 1 large package vanilla pudding mixed as directed, minus 1/2 cup milk

Pour in bottom of dish with crumbs. Slice 3 bananas over top.

Spread 1 large can of crushed, drained pineapple over top.

Frost with Cool Whip.

Sprinkle with walnuts or pecans and cherries.

Sprinkle with a small amount of nutmeg.

Serve large portions in a dish and see the smiles.

• By ANN “GRANNIE ANNIE” BERG, Pioneer Potluck

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