Eatonville Lumber Camp Food

Cooks at Eatonville Lumber Company dining room
Cooks at Eatonville Lumber Company dining room

I believe these shots, provided by the Kjelstad family, are at the Eatonville Lumber Company camp — in part because there were other photos of the lumber camp with these two.

This is a picture of some of the most popular guys in the camp — the cooks and the cooks assistants.

Logging was hard work and required a LOT of calories — on average 8,000 a day.

Healthy, well-fed loggers were productive loggers and the cooks provided three square meals a day to the entire crew. The University of Washington describes the meals like this:

The call to meals was a blast on a cow’s horn, beating on an iron triangle or a gong made from a circular saw blade. No talking was allowed at meals, other than to ask for food to be passed, and most meals were consumed within 12 minutes. A good logging camp cook could routinely produce meals that compared favorably with those served in the finest hotels.

Cooks at the Lumber camp
Cooks at the Lumber camp

A survey of logging camps in the Northwestin the 1930s found the following items frequently served: corned beef, ham, bacon, pork, roast beef, chops, steaks, hamburger, chicken, oysters, cold cuts, potatoes, barley, macaroni, boiled oats, sauerkraut, fresh and canned fruits, berries, jellies and jams, pickles, carrots, turnips, biscuits, breads, pies, cakes, doughnuts, puddings, custards, condensed or fresh milk, coffee and tea. Breakfast and dinner were served in the cookhouse. 

Waiters, waitresses, or “flunkies,” usually women, fired the wood stoves, did prep work for the cook, waited tables, and handled the cleanup. There were a few women cooks in the camps as well. As the men went off to work in the woods, they picked up a lunch bucket that the cook or flunkies had packed for each of them, usually consisting of items such as meat sandwiches, boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and a dessert of pie, cake or doughnuts.

 Photos courtesy of the Kjelstsad family.
Click on images to enlarge.

5 thoughts on “Eatonville Lumber Camp Food”

  1. Having worked in a logging camp with 150 men I can say your description of meal time in a logging camp is accurate.You always sat at the same table in the same place.Nobody spoke they just passed the plates around & you took some & everyone just put their head down & ate if you were late you just sat there unil everyone finnished because no one would pass you any food.

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