Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED

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BackRhodes
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2011/12/09 02:39:43 (permalink)

Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED

At one point in time some of the most elegant trains had superb meals...
 
The Super Chief, the Empire Builder, and the ultimate train: the California Zephyr...
 
Yet these meals were created under difficult conditions in a cramped galley that was often swaying back and forth...
 
How did they do it...???
 
What (authentic) recipes were used...???
 
Anybody have any authentic RR recipes...???
 
#1

22 Replies Related Threads

    Foodbme
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/09 03:04:43 (permalink)
    There are a number of books on the subject. Here's one:
    http://books.google.com/books/about/Dining_by_Rail.html?id=wfHPhP0HLLEC
    Google- Authentic Rail Road Dining Car Recipes
    #2
    RodBangkok
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/09 06:32:33 (permalink)
    Well one authentic result of these kitchens was something called a pullman loaf.  As oven space was at premium they designed a bread loaf pan with a lid, this kept the loaf shape square, as the bread when rising would fill out the square shape, and minimise the space needed in the smaller ovens.  So you can thank the square shape of your sandwich bread today to the Pullman Company.  The pans with lids in the baking industry are still called pullman pans to this day.
    #3
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/09 15:17:51 (permalink)
    Thanks Foodbeme...I'll look it up later this evening...
     
    Thanks Rod for the info...that's something that I not only did NOT know, but is a fairly obscure factoid...
     
    The Zephyr Project of the Western Pacific RR Museum has one of the metal egg boxes they used on the CZ (Calif Zephyr)...and the historic original CZ diner car, named the Silver Plate, that is being restored...
    #4
    RubyRose
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/11 14:45:23 (permalink)
    I have James Porterfield's Dining by Rail, the book linked above by Foodbeme.  Besides answering any questions you might have about provisioning, equipment and staffing for railroad dining, there are original recipes from many of the railroads.  I've made at least a dozen of them, with good results but also a somewhat decadent caloric content.
     
    I would highly recommend that book for an interesting read and some luxurious recipes too.
    #5
    rumaki
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/11 15:18:33 (permalink)
    I have Dining by Rail, too, and have made several delicious recipes from it.  I particularly like the crab salad "Olympia Hiawatha" -- very simple to put together, but very good.
     
    The book is well worth getting!  
    #6
    RubyRose
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/11 17:02:58 (permalink)
    The Illinois Central Railroad's Orange Praline Toast is an amazing breakfast treat!
    #7
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/11 21:18:37 (permalink)
    I went and ordered FOUR books...2 of Porterfields...one from the B&O, and one from the Northern Pacific...
     
    I talked this weekend with the head of our Zephyr Project in Portola, and he's enthuisastic to see what we can cob together...the galley of the Silver Plate is 95% complete...the only thing missing is the stream coffee pot / urn...
     
    I'm not a chef, but I'm really curious as to what would work...the books should arrive soon (Merry Xmas to me)...and next time I'm up there I'll inventory equipment...
    post edited by BackRhodes - 2011/12/11 21:20:19
    #8
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/11 21:28:23 (permalink)
    To those that have already tried some of the recipes:
     
    What adaptations have you made to any of the recipes, and why...???
     
    I guess the biggest challenge is cooking enough food and holding it at a proper temperature until enough is cached to be able to serve...but I'm not thinking in terms of any large scale...like feeding a train full of people...
     
    I figure I'd experiment and feed the results to our RR crew...(no big deal if I croak one of the crew)...and after that we'll have to see what we can do for special public events...
     
    The Silver Plate diner car is in Portola at the WPRR Museum (LINK) and I guess the county health dept will want to inspect before anything is served to the public...
    post edited by BackRhodes - 2011/12/11 21:31:56
    #9
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/12 16:40:30 (permalink)
    I also ordered The Harvey House Cookbook
     
    I guess Harvey House was proto (rail) Road Food...
     
    The estimated delivery date is a week from now...
     
    I bet I have the Harvey Girls movie somewhere...
     
     
    #10
    randix4
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2011/12/15 19:51:46 (permalink)
    I have a google search set up to collect any post on railroad food, so found your post here that way; just signed up here today to reply.  I have a rather extensive collection of original railroad dining car manuals, from railroads across the country.  The oldest I have is 1883.  These are manuals, NOT menu's.  They are all listed with piks on my website.  Go to [SEE BELOW]  and click on "Eclectic Food Related" and follow the links to Original Railroad Paper for a listing, or the link for photo's.  Also on the site you'll find a listing of books written ABOUT railroad dining food, along with other railroad related items.  And the blog on the site covers some of my memories of riding the Rock Island Train and being in the dining car, from Iowa to Florida every winter with my family.  Take care...  Steve
     
    PS: It appears the link to my website does not appear in the above paragraph.  If you type in http:// followed by stephenrmiller followed by .webs. followed by com/ you'll get to it.  Perhaps no link is displayed due to spam concerns...moderator, feel free to edit, have no wish to abuse the terms here.
     
    post edited by randix4 - 2011/12/15 19:55:08
    #11
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 00:01:52 (permalink)
    THANKS for the info, Randix4...
     
    So far I'm about half way through the books I got...the challenge for me is to try to cook something not too fancy (I'm only a rank novice cook with very few skills, but, I've not croaked any of the RR crew...yet)...
     
    #12
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 00:27:14 (permalink)
    Randix - I can't get to your webby site...
     
    Please send the URL via "Send A Private Message" option pull down (when you click or hover on my name, to the left
     
    Thanks...
     
    #13
    6star
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 00:40:04 (permalink)
    Here is randix4's website: http://stephenrmiller.webs.com/
    #14
    randix4
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 06:36:39 (permalink)
    Without suggesting goosebumps are in order (well, maybe), I can't think of anything more exciting (ok, a few things) than cooking from the railroad recipe manuals of the past.  I concede there's a dose of nostalgia in there, but why not... to re-create from the authentic recipes that were used to serve railroad diners during the 19th and 20th centuries, food to taste and enjoy, at least has some history behind it, than picking a random recipe from a modern cookbook.  If you close your eyes, use a little imagination, you can follow the food across the country.
     
    It's my intent (work in progress?) to actually DO something with all of the manuals rather than let them sit and collect dust.  I want to present the recipes in a fun and entertaining way, perhaps show how they changed over the century, how they differed on the various railroads, and put a story along with it.  Some of the manuals come wth the original snapshots taken inside the dining car, I think it would be fun and entertaining to build a story out of it...the audience being not only railroad dining car "lovers", but those who enjoy food, and those who just enjoy a good story.  I think I have almost every modern book written about railroad dining cars, but I'm more interested in tellng a story, using the recipes as the main character.
     
    I will try and post some of my favorite recipes from all of the manuals on my website, just have not gotten to it...I'm in DC at the moment, the manuals are back in Palo Alto.  Odd, but some of the simplest recipes from those manuals have grown to become my favorite, although of late the kitchen and I have been distant dance partners.  Example... cocktail sauce...amazing what just the right amount of lemon and horseradish will do :)
     
    Anyway, yep, cooking from the manuals is an adventure (to me).  If we have to eat, why not have some fun and make it an adventure...
    #15
    doggydaddy
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 08:35:00 (permalink)
    Another thought about swaying kitchens can be found in the Navy's recipe files. You have to cook in any condition and no train can duplicate it. During a typhoon, I had a pork roast lift off the counter and roll down the passageway.  I still pull some of them out of my hat and use them as a daily special. I was doing Korean Kalbi/Bulgi bbq sauce 35 years before I saw it in food trailer menus.
     
    mark
    #16
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 16:53:42 (permalink)
    Does a roast get "tenderized" while rolling down a passageway, and is the flavor enhanced...???
     
    Randix...when are you returning to Palo Alto...???
     
    I'd like to see some of the simpler recipes...
     
    And yes, I DO have a REAL dinning car to experiment in: the CZ "Silver Plate" and the kitchen is 95% complete...this spring I hope to get together with the CZ project manager and inventory what equipment we have + plus pots and pans...I know the oven will be small...plus we need to know IF the propane and water tank lines are in good shape...there have been limited attempts to cook in this kitchen in the past, so we're pretty much on our way to making it 100% functional...I've seen the kitchen magic that has happened on the Feather River Express charter trains the last 3 years (we're told it will NOT run in 2012) and on other rolling premium charter trains, and right now the Silver Plate is sitting in the RR yard...
     
    Several trains had Dome cars, but there was only ONE  "CZ" (California Zephyr)
    post edited by BackRhodes - 2012/01/03 17:03:11
    #17
    californyguy
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 19:36:28 (permalink)
    would love to have that recipe..it sounds so good!  v interesting thread!

    I have Dining by Rail, too, and have made several delicious recipes from it.  I particularly like the crab salad "Olympia Hiawatha" -- very simple to put together, but very good.

    The book is well worth getting!  


    #18
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 22:00:18 (permalink)
    How's things BACK EAST in Sac-a-tomato (Sacramento)...???
     
    I think horseradish is a forgotten ingredient...
     
    I'm half way through my new books...great late night reading, except on an empty stomach...kinda like watching a food show with a spikey white haired guy in a red Camero visit places to eat, at midnight on an empty stomach, and the next thing you know you're in front of the 'fridge looking for taste bud satisfaction...
    #19
    randix4
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/01/03 22:31:39 (permalink)
    I'll get back to Palo Alto later this month or February at the latest; you are more than welcome to browse through all the manuals and make copies of whatever recipes strike your fancy.  Or if there's something specific you're looking for (eg food type) or from a particular line, let me know and I can copy and send.  S
    #20
    claracamille
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/02/19 13:26:53 (permalink)
    In the early 1950's my dad worked on a labor gang that repaired railraod crossings.  They traveled in 2 train cars, one for sleeping & bathing, one for cooking & eating.  They had the best food.  One of the things my mom & still make is the cook's oyster dressing recipe,  the best ever.
    #21
    BackRhodes
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/02/19 15:46:18 (permalink)
    For those with a sense of humor, listen to Utah Phillips "Mooseturd Pie"...
     
    It's about how cooks were selected on a certian RR crew...really funny...!!!
    #22
    Foodbme
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    Re:Railroad Kitchen recipes WANTED 2012/02/19 16:05:17 (permalink)
    randix4

    Without suggesting goosebumps are in order (well, maybe), I can't think of anything more exciting (ok, a few things) than cooking from the railroad recipe manuals of the past.  I concede there's a dose of nostalgia in there, but why not... to re-create from the authentic recipes that were used to serve railroad diners during the 19th and 20th centuries, food to taste and enjoy, at least has some history behind it, than picking a random recipe from a modern cookbook.  If you close your eyes, use a little imagination, you can follow the food across the country.

    It's my intent (work in progress?) to actually DO something with all of the manuals rather than let them sit and collect dust.  I want to present the recipes in a fun and entertaining way, perhaps show how they changed over the century, how they differed on the various railroads, and put a story along with it.  Some of the manuals come wth the original snapshots taken inside the dining car, I think it would be fun and entertaining to build a story out of it...the audience being not only railroad dining car "lovers", but those who enjoy food, and those who just enjoy a good story.  I think I have almost every modern book written about railroad dining cars, but I'm more interested in tellng a story, using the recipes as the main character.

    I will try and post some of my favorite recipes from all of the manuals on my website, just have not gotten to it...I'm in DC at the moment, the manuals are back in Palo Alto.  Odd, but some of the simplest recipes from those manuals have grown to become my favorite, although of late the kitchen and I have been distant dance partners.  Example... cocktail sauce...amazing what just the right amount of lemon and horseradish will do :)

    Anyway, yep, cooking from the manuals is an adventure (to me).  If we have to eat, why not have some fun and make it an adventure...

    Your ideas & concepts sound like a great project for Ken Burns and PBS!!!!
    It could all be tied together into a documentary on the history of train travel in the USA.
    I suggest contacting Ken Burns with your ideas!!! 
    http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/contact/
    #23
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