Pioneer Potluck: About bears in Alaska

From 1967 to present
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska


Lots and lots of bear stories. I love hearing them!

Bear Story No. 1

Wife screams to husband, late at night, when husband is sound asleep.

“There’s a bear in the garbage on the porch — get your gun! Hurry, Hurry!”

Husband jumps out of bed, grabs the gun and shows up downstairs with nothing on, stumbling around with his gun. Wife turns around and screams back at him – “Get your clothes on! Do you want the neighbors to see you?” Husband to wife: “There are NO neighbors up at this time of night and that bear does not care!” The bear ambled away and husband puts gun away and crawls back in bed.

Bear story No. 2

Many, many years ago, I was helping my friend, Lonna, at a Democrat or Republican rally at the Lamplight Bar. I have never been into politics, just enjoyed the fun of having good friends get together and chew the fat and eat the goodies that were provided. We had a large crowd and a small band was playing (a man singing with a guitar and a man with drums). When they got tired, the jukebox blared away. Everyone was having a good time and Lonna and I had a hard time keeping up with demands of the beer drinkers.

I came around the corner of the bar with a tray full of drinks and almost ran into gal I have known a long time. I did not see her come in the door. She lived on a homestead about 7 miles as the crow flies, down a small trail, back in the woods. She said: “Hi, I just shot a bear.” In a hurry to deliver drinks, I said: “Oh, that’s nice!” Not paying to much attention, I took about five steps, as her words registered above the noise; I stopped in my tracks, whirled around, “YOU DID WHAT?”

“I just shot a bear. He was stalking me in the yard.” I regained my tipping tray and my speech. “Are you OK?”

“Yeah,” she said. “I did not know what to do with the thing, so I skinned it out. Do you want a roast or something? I am going to tan the hide.”

“No, no, I don’t think so,” I replied. “I am not fond of eating bear roast, and I know Bob isn’t! Thanks anyway! Are you sure you are OK? Let me deliver these drinks and then you tell me what happened.”

She’d had trouble with a bear stalking her goats and pigs for a few days. This particular day, her horse, who was deathly afraid of bears, went into wild hysteria, letting her know there was a bear in the area. She got her “bear gun” and looked out over the area and did not see anything, so she carefully walked out into the yard, where an older car was parked. The bear stood up a few feet from her. He was stalking her! She ran around the side of the car, opened the door and jumped in, poked the gun out the window and shot the bear — dead! Then she had the task of gutting, skinning and cutting it up. She did this all by herself, as her husband was “on the Slope.”

Whenever she tells this story (and she is a good story teller!) to the many, neighbors, relatives, travelers and visitors, she can make your hair stand up on your head — mine too!

Bear story No. 3

Bob and I came home from town one day — and again the black bears had gotten into what we thought was secured bear-proof trash bin. They had destroyed our greenhouse/storage area earlier in the week. We had just gotten that mess cleaned up and the greenhouse torn down.

I started into the house and noticed little “finger prints” on our big sunroom window. I mentioned to Bob that some little kids must have been here. He looked at me in total disbelief! He said those are little bear cub prints. We had a mamma black bear and her three baby cubs move into the area because of a fire up north of us. She made herself at home and was teaching the babies to feed themselves out of neighbor’s garbage, greenhouses, claw the flower planters apart for grubs, and if she could, try and get into houses. We would have to step out of the porch and look in all directions before we went to the car or out in the yard. We were house bound, because of bears that summer.

Getting a trash bag, Bob went out into the middle of the yard, to pick up the garbage those bears had made. He got within 2 yards of the mess, when mamma stood up in the bushes beyond the outhouse, just as all three baby bears scampered up three different trees. Bob saw the action and FROZE in his tracks, one foot suspended in the air. (I was watching all this from the safe place in the sunroom.) Bob let out a “WHOOOOFFFEEE! WHOOOFFFEE!,” put his foot down, and raised the other high in the air, slowly pivoted, still saying “whoooffee whoooffee!” He put that foot down and “goose stepped” with his shoulders high, advancing ever so slowly towards the house. The mamma and the babies watched in great curiosity, as he finally did his “Hitler step” back to the saftey of the house, letting out a big airless sigh. He was sure she had followed him all the way to the house. I really DID see his hair stand up on his head!

My view of the whole thing brings back giggles to this day! As a matter of fact, I am doing just that as I write this!

Lots more bear stories —

to be continued …

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

Chicken Lasagna

From my sister, Ginger.  She has an eye for good stuff.

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cups chopped onions
1 Tblsp butter
1 envelope of Hollandaise Sauce Mix
(OR 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup plus half the milk as directed on can.)
8 oz lasagna noodles, cooked
1 pound of chicken, cooked and thinly sliced-rotisserie chicken works well.
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp basil  
1/2 tsp oregano 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese   1 12 oz. frozen drained or fresh steamed broccoli or one 12 oz canned asparagus

Sautee mushrooms and onions in butter or vegetable oil.  Prepare Hollandaise, using directions on envelope.  Spread a small amount of sauce in 9 X 13 inch baking dish.  Layer half of the noodles and chicken.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add half mushroom mixture and one the Hollandaise sauce.  Sprinkle with half basil and oregano.  Sprinkle half the cheese.  Arrange all the broccoli or asparagus over cheese.  Repeat the layers of noodles, chicken, salt and pepper, Hollandaise sauce, herbs and cheese.  Bake at 350 degees  for 35 to 45 minutes. 

Can be made the day before.  Ham or a combination of ham and chicken can be used.  You have to try this.  It’s very good and when I do not have canned asparagus, I use broccoli and substitute Cream of mushroom soup, mix with half the milk, for Hollandaise sauce.  A good potluck dish!!!

Coca-Cola Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup coca-cola
3 tblsp Heresy’s cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk  
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and mix will.  In a saucepan preheat butter, Coca-Cola and cocoa.  Bring to boil.  Pour over flour and sugar.  Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add marshmallows and pour into a 9 x 13 greased cake pan.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes.  Marshmallows will rise to the top during baking.

Coca-Cola Frosting

1 stick butter
6 tblsp Coca-Cola
1 16 oz. box of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp cocoa
1 cup toasted pecans

Cream butter and remaining ingredients and beat well.  Pour over cake while still in pan.  This cake keeps very well in the pan in which it was baked.

Monkey Bars

Supposed to be heart friendly……..a big hit at our annual Labor Day picnic.

1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana-about 5 bananas
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup oil       
1/4 cup milk     
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp each baking soda and cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt    
1 3/4 cups flour  
1 cup mini chocolate chips (we had the regular kind and Elaine put half the bag in the batter and sprinkled the other half bag over the top..yummm)

Bake at 350% in a foil lined and buttered 15 x 10 baking pan –kinda like a cookie sheet.  Leave the foil sticking out over the pan 2 inches at both ends so you can lift the cookies out of the pan.

Method:  Mash bananas, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and cinnamon and salt in large bowl until mixed thoroughly. Stir in flour until just blended and stir in 1/2 the chocolate chips.

Spread batter in pan and sprinkle remaining chips over top.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until tooth pick comes out clean.  Cool completely on rack.  Hold foil at both ends and put on cutting board, Cut lengthwise into 4 strips and then cut each strip in 10. 

80 calories per bar, 13 carbo 1 gram fiber  3 gram fat 1 gram sat. fat. 
11 chol  52 sodium

Oatmeal-Chocolate-Cranberry Cookies

Yummy good!

In a large mixing bowl beat until fluffy:
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 1/3 cups butter at room temp.  NO substitute!  (one and one third for both)

4 eggs and beat until well mixed

2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups of flour – beating after each cup

3 cups old fashion regular oatmeal
Stir with a spoon until well mixed

1 1/3 cups white chocolate chips – dark will do!   (one and one third)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/3 cups Craisins   (dried cranberries)  

Stir well into cookie dough

Drop by teaspoons full on foil lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  Set timer on microwave oven for 10 minutes and add extra minutes if necessary, for the first cookie sheet full.

You are looking for slightly browned cookie.  All ovens are different – Mine took 13 minutes.  I baked half and froze the other half.

Dough keeps well in refrigerator for three days.