Pioneer Potluck: From Daniels Lake to Eagle River and the beginning of Pipeline days

Eagle River, early 1970s


Our time on Daniels Lake came to an end. We moved to Mallard Park, near Unocal, for a short period of time, before going on to Eagle River to start a new business and a brand-new way of life.

The kids' experience on Daniels Lake, learning to ski, skate and snowmachine, continued while they were in school in Eagle River and high school in Chugiak.

Our new experience came with the pipeline in 1970. We built a house in Eagle River Valley and started a business in Anchorage, supplying welders, roustabouts, equipment and material for the North Slope. We purchased a restaurant/bar in Eagle River and rebuilt it from the ground up, decorating it in the South of the Border theme. I was in charge of the restaurant. The customer cooked their own steaks to their liking. I baked the potatoes, made the garlic bread, and set up the salad bar every day. The salad bar consisted of several different salads, but the main salad and the most popular salad was the Mexican Bean Salad -- a salad of my own creation. You will see the recipe in this column.

We also had another business in Eagle River, doing the underground work for basements water lines and septic systems. I purchased a thriving little takeout business, named the Jolly Burger. I started the breakfast on a bun, before McDonald's. It consisted of a sausage patty or bacon or ham with egg and cheese on a large toasted hamburger bun. We opened at 5 in the morning, meaning I got up at 4. We sold tons of breakfast on a bun, not only to the early rising working men and women of Eagle River, but the working force that drove from Wasilla to Anchorage every morning. We had a big following. Breakfast slid right into lunch, which was, a special hamburger on a bun, named the Jolly Burger and poor boy sandwiches and tacos.

This special hamburger on a bun, was a grilled 1/4 pound handmade hamburger patty, then dipped in au jus and put on a large toasted hamburger bun. The customer added their own condiments.

The poor boy sandwiches were made on large loaves of French or sourdough, split length-ways. The top half had the middle of the bread hollowed out with a spoon. It was spread with mustard and mayonnaise. The bottom half of the bread got various sliced cheese and a large amount of assorted sliced deli meat. That was piled high with thinly sliced onions, green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives and shredded lettuce. The whole thing was then sprinkled with Italian dressing, the top half of the hollowed out bread was placed on top. It was wrapped in Saran wrap and placed in the refrigerator to marinate for noon lunches. We made these following the breakfast rush.

We were very busy, but never too busy to have fun snowmachining on Big Lake during their races. We all won trophies but not as many as David.
Grannie Annie is the author of Grannie Annie Cookbook series, featuring Alaskan recipes and stories

Mexican Bean Salad

I made tons of this salad in a restaurant that we owned in Eagle River. It will keep in your refrigerator two or three months. It’s very good as a topper on a lettuce and tomato salad also
In a pint jar:
1 – 1.25 ounce package taco seasoning
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Set aside until cool.
Add 1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil.
1/2 cup of Italian dressing, non-fat kind.
1/4 teaspoon oregano.
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic.
1 teaspoon sugar.
With lid on jar shake until all ingredients are dissolved. Adjust seasonings to your desire.  Put in refrigerator to chill. (1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, if the Italian Dressing is not to salty.)
 Get out your can opener and open and drain the following in a large colander:
1 can15-ounce each:
 Kidney beans, red beans, black beans, Pinto beans, whole kernel corn
1 can 15-ounce cut green beans
1 can 15-ounce cut yellow wax beans.
One can 15 – ounce black olives
 Drain all beans and olives in colander and lightly rinse, set aside to drain thoroughly.
In a large bowl:
1 can, 15-ounce, Chili beans-undrained, use the liquid in the can. (Not ready made chili in a can.)
Add the drained beans.
Add the following:
1/2 chopped onion.
1/2 each large green and red bell pepper diced.
1- 4-ounce can diced green chilies.
Add the dressing from the pint jar, stir to coat vegetables, cover and refrigerate for four hours. I usually make this the day before I service it. Stir occasionally. Adjust seasoning.
You may also add yellow and white hominy rinsed and drained.

Reuben Casserole

Another suggestion for the Super Bowl.
Make ahead of time and bake later.  This would make 4 to 5 large servings. However, with other dishes on the table, I would cut this into 9 pieces.  The ingredients in this recipe are rather expensive.  

Spread four slices rye bread with prepared mustard and placed in the bottom of a buttered 9x9 baking pan.
Crumble one or two cans 12-ounce each, corned beef evenly over bread.

Stir together:
One 16 ounce can sauerkraut - drained well. One can 10 ounce- tomato soup diluted with a fourth cup water.
3 to 4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish.
Stir together and spoon over corned beef.
Bake uncovered 375 degrees for 25 min. Arrange slices of Swiss cheese over top and return to the oven for 5 min. Cut into squares to serve.  
Here I go messing with a recipe. I would use lots of shredded Swiss cheese on top.


Pioneer Potluck: About getting ready for visitors

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