Author: RichardEngeman

Father’s: the Guru, the Treasure, the Best Food in Oregon

The Rajneeshee were not the only followers of an Indian guru who opened a restaurant in Oregon. Our other culinary guru was Ciranjavi Roy, who inspired Nelson and April Souza to create a novel upscale restaurant in the sleepy and rather remote seaside resort town of Manzanita, Oregon (1970 population: 261). Opened on June 17,…
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The Cake Plop, the Dozen Dozen Cookies, and the Fire

During my high school years Warrenton, we lived in an old farmhouse on a hill overlooking an expanse of former tidelands—now pastures and shopping malls—at the mouth of the Columbia River. We had no near neighbors, and my younger sister Laural and I were often left to our own devices; both our parents had bizarre…
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Can Allies and Axis Unite? Really, the United Nations?

The United Nations was a huge presence in the 1950s, associated with efforts to establish peace around the world, to feed people, to relocate refugees, to improve health, to advance scientific discoveries. While some Americans viewed the United Nations as a big step toward damaging or destroying their country, for most it was a positive…
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Our Celebrity Chef of 1936

We live in an era of celebrity chefs: colorful characters, often tattooed, who preside over legendary kitchens in food-conscious cities and who concoct startling new recipes involving exotic ingredients and high-tech processes. The men who go BAM! and the women who tout EVOO are household names. It was not always so. Half a century ago,…
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A Vanished Albany Hostelry

A century ago, towns and cities were often characterized by their hotels. In Oregon, Portland had the Portland (for the elite, Queen Anne-style), the Benson (for lumber baron dignity), the Multnomah (for civic pride and boosterism). In Bend, there was Pilot Butte Inn (sportsmens’ HQ); in Salem, the Chemeketa/Willamette/Marion (legislators’ HQ); and there was a…
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A Tiffin in Portland

Here we have a menu for a meal at the famed Portland Hotel in 1904. What meal is it? Why, it’s A Tiffin! How very raj! Starting from the British slang term “tiffing,” for taking a drink, in the early nineteenth century it morphed into tiffin, to describe, in British India, a light lunch. It…
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Oregon Prunes: for Health!

Recipe booklet, 1909 I rather like prunes. However, I rarely eat them. As a child, I occasionally encountered pitted prunes stuffed with a nut and rolled in powdered sugar, and those were pretty appealing. Oh, wait a minute—those were dates, not prunes. A century ago, prunes were a great big crop in the Santa Clara…
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Cruisin’ to Astoria

Over Labor Day weekend, I once again I found myself in Astoria aboard a cruise vessel, the American Spirit, once again as a guest speaker. This was a special themed cruise, a fact I discovered two days before I boarded the ship, and the theme was “Food and Wine.” For that reason, we had a…
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Mable in Albany with Cranberries

My aunt Mable (not Mabel!) was born in 1913 in an Oregon logging camp. She married my dad’s older brother Gaylord, and they lived in various places in western Oregon over the years: the now-vanished town of Signal, North Albany, Goshen, Albany, Springfield. Mable was the last survivor of my dad’s generation, living long enough…
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The Brief Life and Fiery End of The Elk

Graphically, it’s not a very impressive menu, but it caught my eye. That was because the typography suggested that the menu was printed earlier than the seller’s estimate of the 1920s. Oregon restaurant menus prior to the 1930s are pretty scarce, so I looked inside: what’s to eat? The variety of offerings, as well as…
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