Time travel at the park
Park-goers were met with the opportunity to theoretically travel through time over the weekend as they experienced an authentic replication of a 1700s frontier meal during Wilderness Road State Park’s Hunter’s Harvest event.
Reenactors came from all across the United States to be a part of the educational program, which was focused mainly on demonstrating the crucial importance hunting had during the frontier days.
While today vegetables and baked goods are incorporated into most dinners, this was a time when the primary, and oftentimes only, focus of each meal was centered around what could be consumed from that week’s quarry. It wasn’t uncommon for a day’s worth of food to consist entirely of various sources of meat, especially during the late fall and winter when crops were scarce.
In order to better display what a regular diet would consist of during this time, reenactors believed it would be best to prepare an authentic frontier meal entirely from scratch for the participants.
Although hunting was most often considered the man’s job during this time, meat was prepared for consumption entirely by the women, which provided reenactors with the opportunity to experience some of the day-to-day tasks that were carried out by women on the frontier.
“It was rather challenging to cook that much meat over an open fire, but by the time we were finished it was extremely rewarding,” said reenactor De-Anda Fultz. “It was definitely an intellectual experience to see how women back then would have went about preparing their food.”
The meal consisted of deer meat, buffalo tongue, buffalo marrow and elk meat, which may not seem too out of the ordinary to many, especially those in the south. However, many found themselves doing a double-take after the preparation of a certain frontier delicacy — deer heart.
Overall, everyone who participated in the event seemed to agree that it ended up being not only educational, but entertaining and enjoyable as well.
“The program turned out great this weekend. We had wonderful reenactors and the public really seemed to love it. We’re excited to continue this for years to come,” said chief ranger Billy Heck.