Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, was one of America’s great conservationists. His efforts helped develop what would one day become the National Park Service (NPS), which was formally established on August 25, 1916.
It’s really quite a legacy, since most of America’s national parks are amazingly beautiful, not to mention a good time. If you go car camping, you can actually look forward to great eats. Steak or chicken to throw on the grill, for instance, or pate on crackers, or fancy Asian-style trail mix with chili and basil, and you could wash it all down with wine in your metal cup or maybe some nice micro-brew. But all this is easy. If you want a challenge, in homage to the great T.R., the next time you head out to one of America’s gorgeous national parks, you could try to eat like Teddy did. I don’t really know what he ate, although I did read that his favorite breakfast item was bratwurst cooked just right.
To take on this challenge, you would only have available to you the foods of his period:
1. Trail Mix? No go. It was Invented in 1968, and Teddy died in 1919. Nuts! You’d have to make do with good old peanuts and raisins but remember – you couldn’t put them in a Ziploc bag, which was patented as late as 1954.
2. Steak? Well, technically, you could eat steak in the 19th century, but how would you carry it out into the wilderness without a cooler? The ice chest wasn’t invented until the 1950s. You could try to hunt your own meat like Teddy did, but U.S. national parks have very strict regulations about hunting. Not to mention, could you really kill a deer? With those big, adorable ears? Not to worry. You’ll eat beef jerky instead. Apparently, beef jerky was created by the Quechua tribe in South America in the 1800s. Not as satisfying as steak on the grill, but you’ll get your protein.
3. S’mores? Could you be so lucky as to eat s’mores on your Tribute to Teddy camping trip? Let’s break it down to the essential ingredients:
- -Graham crackers. Check. Invented in 1829.
- -Marshmallows. Believe it or not – Check! 1850s.
- -Hershey bar. Getting nervous? Check!! 1894, baby!
And best of all, Teddy liked to drink his rum. But just once in a while.
S'mores photo courtesy of foodistablog/Creative Commons Roosevelt photo courtesy of Library of Congress