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California Trail Center to host presentation on the diet of emigrants



ELKO — The Elko California Trail Center will host a presentation called “Eating up the Trail” about food-ways on the California Trail, starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 4.  Trail Center intern Suzanne Miller will discuss the diet of emigrants on the overland migration and will emphasize the importance of adequate provisioning.

Visitors can learn how limitations in packing, procurement and preservation impacted the diet of those heading westward.  Miller will use diary entries and excerpts from popular nineteenth-century guidebooks for the journey from California and Oregon to show what the recommended provisions were, and what meals were most often consumed on the trail. She will also discuss cooking methods and show how the diets of emigrants and Native Americans converged on the trail.

For the emigrants, packing enough food for the journey required time, effort, and expense.  Those who planned their provisions well would face far less misery than those who focused less on necessities and more on frivolities. After the presentation concludes, visitors are welcome to tour the completed exhibits and check out the temporary displays on frontier medicine and the Pony Express.

Operated by the Bureau of Land Management Elko District Office, the Elko California Trail Center is located just off Interstate 80, eight miles west of Elko at Hunter Exit 292.  Admission is free, and the Trail Center is open to the public during the summer, Wednesday-Sunday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.  After Labor Day the Center will be available to school groups and other organizations on a prearranged basis.  A meeting room is also available.  For more information about these programs or for questions about the Elko California Trail Center, please contact Suzanne Miller at 775-738-1849 or 775-934-2467 (cell).

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