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Donner Party Cookbook: A Guide to Survival on the Hastings Cut Off Paperback – January 15, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


Maddux, in telling this timeless epic of man's thirst for freedom, tells all sides of the story. -- Mooreland Oklahoma Leader

The authors present the political, military, economic, and social milieu contemporaneously to the time in which the trek took place. -- Dr. Richard Littlebear, Dull Knife College Montana

strongly recommended addition to personal, academic and community library Native American Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists. -- Wisconsin Bookwatch

About the Author

Terry Del Bene is a resident of Green River Wyoming. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology and has authored many professional publications. He has worked mapping emigrant trails for a statewide trails project and has participated in several archaeological digs. He chairs the Archaeological Committee of the Oregon-California Trails Association. In 2003 the OCTA honored him with a Distinguished Service Award for this work in trail preservation. He gives frequent lectures and living history demonstrations to share his knowledge of the westward migration and 19th century cooking. Terry has worked as a participant in living history programs for over 20 years. His focus is upon 19th century culture and lifeways. He has designed programs for numerous parks and other venues, and has appeared in several films including Gettysburg, Andersonville, Crazy Horse, and Gods and Generals, as well as numerous television documentaries. He is a staff writer for the Civil War News.

The author also works as an archeologist for the Bureau of Land Management, Rock Springs Field Office, Wyoming. His second book, Interrupted Journey’s: Ghost Stories from the Trails, is forthcoming from Horse Creek Publications, spring 2005.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Horse Creek Publications (January 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972221735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972221733
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.4 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,518,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By RedFoxTotem on February 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
When most people hear about a cook book in relationship to the Donner Party .. I doubt their stomachs start rumbling with hunger!! However, this book has authentic recipes mixed in with true history. Few people are aware of the facts "behind the scenes" concerning the fate of the Donner wagon train and what led up to the terrible winter disaster. Terry Del Bene even tells HOW to have a SUCCESSFUL Donner Party of your own!! Great read!! Highly recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
In The Donner Party Cookbook, anthropologist and archaeologist Terry A. Del Bene applies a dark humor with his accurate representation of 19th century cooking as reflected by the doomed Donner Party of 1846-1847. Deftly blending history, anecdotes, and recipes that have withstood the test of time, this unique and absorbing culinary tour of a bit of American frontier history is especially recommended for its authenticity and presentation style. From Rabbit; Gruel; and Brain Stew, to Bacon and Rice; Scrapple; and Carrot Coffee, the narration and recipes offers a glimpse of life and cooking on the westward trails of over a century ago, making The Donner Party Cookbook a superb read and a prized addition to dedicated cookbook collectors.
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By waltersg on March 7, 2015
Format: Paperback
"I get the spleen!!!"
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Blondie59 on January 31, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The recipes are very interesting and I'm going to try one or two (just can't bring myself to try and make the Brain Stew though). However, if you've read any other book on the Donner Party, this author's narrative is nothing but a repetition of other's material, with very little insight (i.e., character development or details) into the people and events of the party.

I would have much rather read discussion of how the cooking was performed, expanded discussion of diets or meals, food prep and storage, just, in general, diet/food-related anecdotes and history from the time of the Donner Party and travel along the Oregon Trail. This book provides very little of that.

If you have no intention of reading any other book on the Donner Party, then by all means, get this book! You will enjoy it and the story of their travels and travails will give you a good background. But if you've read anything on the Donner Party, this book is not worth the money. It is just a rehash of their story with a bunch of frontier receipes thrown in without relation to the context.
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