Pioneer Potluck: The Pea Green Dodge

The series is written by a 44 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends.  She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years.  Some are her own creation.  Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook.


She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.

Grannie Annie can be reached at

Growing up in Northern Colorado

After World War II, Dad ordered a Dodge car from the dealership in Fort Collins. He was put on a waiting list and was told there would be no color preference. That was OK with Dad, as he just needed a new car for his growing family and a car Mom could drive to town to get groceries and shop for the family. He waited almost a year until the call came to tell him that his new car had arrived.

He went into town to pick up the eagerly awaited car. He proudly drove it into the yard for Mom to see. Mom took one look and muttered something to the effect that she was not riding in the “ugly pea green thing!”

Dad, quite shocked, asked “Why not?”

“Just look at that ugly thing, John, it’s pea green!”

Dad was color blind, so I just wonder what color he thought it was! Dad took a quick look at the car and said, “I told you they would not give me a color preference. I had to take what came off the assembly line when my number came up.”

Johnny, Ginger and I, tongues stuck to the roof of our mouths, lined up, looking at Dad, then Mom, waiting for her answer. Her answer was “HUMMFPHH” and she marched right back into the house. Dad raised his eyebrows, shrugged his shoulders, then bent down in our faces and said, “You guys wanna go for a ride?”

Ho! He did not have to ask us twice and we did not care what color a new car was! We all piled in the front seat, (no seat beats in those days!) and off we went around the farm sections, Dad like a big kid with new toy, honking to the farmer-friends hanging on the fences or leaning on a hoe in the middle of a beet field, waving and waving. We waved back with great big smiles.

Then he said in a loud whisper ... "Wanna go over the derbies?"

"Yeah," we said in unison.

The "derbies" were a series of rolling high hills that crowned at the top and then dipped low into a valley. He would drive "real fast" — probably 35 mph — our tummies would go up in our throats, then dip down to our shoelaces. Then we would squeal, “”Do it again!” There were five hills in a row, he would turn around at Black Hollow Lake and go over the derbies again on the way home. Oh my goodness, what fun! Especially when Dad was having as much fun or more! Then he would swear us to secrecy: “Don’t tell your Mother we went over the derbies.” She claimed they were unsafe — and they were! Dad took his half out of the middle of the road and delighted into going a little too fast to scare us to death — and then told us NOT to tell on him!

The reason for the awful pea green car was after the War, they had a surplus of Army green and white paint, that they painted jeeps, tanks, trucks and everything else “Army Green.” So the car manufactures mixed the green with the white and painted every car that came off the assembly line “pea green” until they ran out of green and white paint. Everyone that ordered a car in that year got a pea green car.

In later years in our house that car was referred to as “The Pea Green Dodge.” It had four doors, called suicide doors. The back door hinged on the back instead of the middle post. There was a middle post where the two heavy doors met. I was one of the very many who had my hand wrapped around the center post to get out of the back seat, just as Dad slammed the front door. It completely shut on my fingers. The minute Dad shoved it shut and heard the thud and my scream, he turned around within a half second and opened it — but too late! I had a broken third finger, and crushed tips on the other three. I had to have that finger operated on, put in a splint and the rest of my fingernails fell off. I learned to eat and do whatever, with my left hand for almost a year. Ginger hated me because she had to wash the dishes, as we took turns, washing and drying dishes.

Mom learned to drive the “awful pea green car” and actually took delight in going into town, getting groceries all by herself. Before the Pea Green Dodge, Dad would take her to get groceries, with us in the back seat. Now she was free of kids and could shop at her leisure.

We loved to stay with Dad because when Mom came home, not only with groceries, but also with new clothes for us. It was like Christmas when she came home from shopping once or twice a month. Besides we had lots of fun with Dad when Mom was gone!


Creamed Asparagus and Salmon on Buscuits

I served this for breakfast many times when we entertained at our home in Eagle River Valley.

1 pound of fresh asparagus, cut in fourths
3 boiled eggs *  peeled, cut in fourths
1 pint lightly smoked salmon, dark pieces removed and drained

In boiling water cook asparagus until tender crisp, no more that 4 minutes. Drain.

In a medium saucepan:
2 tblsp butter
1 tsp garlic  butter
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 and 1/2 cups milk 
2 tblsp  cornstarch
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Melt butter and add rest of ingredients.  Stir until thickened. Fold in cheese.

Fold in salmon, asparagus and eggs.  Serve spooned on hot buttered biscuits or sourdough toast.


Coleslaw Dressing

Almost the same as the bottled kind!

1 cup sugar
5 tblsp apple cider vinegar
2 and 1/2 cups Mayo or a bit tangier use Miracle whip
1/3 cup Vegetable oil
1/4 cup prepared mustard

Stir in a large container and let set for 2 hours in fridge before pouring it over:

2 Medium heads of cabbage, shredded finely
2 carrots, grated
3/4 cups of fine minced onion (optional)
A sprinkle of mustard seed and celery seed

Sprinkle cabbage with salt and combine.

Let set one half hour. Pour dressing over cabbage and chill two hours.  If you have liquid formed in the salad, just pour it off.

B-B-Qed Corning Game Hens

2 hens split and backbone removed (not necessary)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 cup catsup* 
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic shopped
1 tblsp honey
1 tblsp red wine vinegar*
1 teas Worcestershire sauce
*OR one bottle of favorite barbecue sauce instead of the catsup and vinegar

Add the Worcestershire and honey to the barbecue sauce, also the chopped onion and garlic and honey.

Preheat** oven to 375 degrees. Line a broiler pan with foil.

Sprinkle hens with salt and pepper. Lay hens cut side down on foil and brush with sauce.

Bake** for 30 minutes, basting again at 10 minutes. Bake until done.

**OR Grill on Barbeque Grill on low for 45 minutes, waiting until the last 10 minutes to baste sauce.