Eating on Sleepovers

What did early Edmontonians eat when they were fur trading, farming, and building what we know as Edmonton today?

In making your own supper for your overnight experience, here is what early fur traders ate throughout the course of a month. Issued at York Factory (on the Hudson’s Bay) from 1830 onwards, this is what a man’s monthly ration would be:

  • 1 lb of flour, baked into bread
  • 2 lbs of Scotch barley
  • 1 quart of peas
  • 2 lbs of fresh or salted beef
  • 1 ¼ lbs of salted pork
  • 2 lbs of pemmican
  • 2 lbs of dried meat
  • 1 fresh or salted goose
  • 2 or 3 fresh or salted ducks
  • 6 fresh or salted plovers
  • 2 or 3 fresh lake fish (3-5 lbs each)
  • 8 fresh river fish
  • 4 lbs of fresh venison
  • 4 rabbits
  • 4 partridges

Do you think you could survive for a month with this food?

See our recipe recommendations below for food that would have appeared on tables during the fur trade and pioneer eras!

Recipes for Overnights

These recipes are vegetarian and closely resemble what fur traders or pioneers in early Edmonton would have eaten.

Vegetable Stew

Vegetables could be preserved to some extent over the winter, and would keep fur traders healthy!


  • 2 onions, 1 chopped, 1 minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 stalk celery, 1 minced, 2 sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, 1 minced, 2 sliced
  • 4 1⁄4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp pepper
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 potatoes (Yukon Gold)
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbls cornstarch
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp rosemary (optional)
  • 1 tbls balsamic vinegar (optional) Instructions
  1. Mince the carrot, celery stalk and onion very fine
  2. Saute this mixture in 1⁄4 cup vegetable broth until veggies soft
  3. Add another onion and continue to soften
  4. Add seasoning (italian and rosemary)
  5. Add rest of broth, diced tomato and tomato sauce
  6. Add rest of vegetables
  7. Once boiling, turn down heat and add peas
  8. Mix cornstarch with tablespoon of cold water and stir until thicken
  9. Simmer to desired consistency

Split Pea Soup

Dried peas were a winter staple and soup was an easy meal to prepare in camp.

Makes 8 – 10 servings, double ingredients for a larger group or make 2 batches


  • 2 cups green split peas (can be bought as a package)
  • 12 cups cold water
  • 4 whole cloves and 1 bay leaf (wrapped in cheesecloth if possible)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1⁄2 cup finely diced carrots
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes * You may add other desired vegetables and seasoning to this to this recipe such as potatoes & garlic Instructions
  1. Bring peas and water to a boil, cover and remove from heat, let stand for 1 hour
  2. Collect bay leaf and cloves in cheesecloth
  3. Add the bay leaf with cloves to the pot with water and peas, bring to boil and cover, simmer for approximately 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours, or until peas are soft
  4. Remove bay leaf with cloves
  5. Puree soup in blender or food processor
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste