Meals in the Klondike (Moose Turd Pie)

Lowrie Beacham reminds us of this tale. He knows the good old ancient stories to which I am too young and innocent to have been exposed, but for which I am grateful.

It concerns a group of hunters and trappers setting up camp in the frozen wastes. It’s been a long stay. One hunter has been cooking for some time, and is getting fed up with the others freeloading off his skills.

One of their complaints is the last straw: “…Any more complaints,” he says, “and you have to cook!” Well, this is quite effective, and for a while this shuts up the other hunters; no more complaints. But by now the cook is really getting tired, and wants to force a swap. His cooking gets worse and worse, on purpose, but still there are no complaints.

Eventually, while hunting, the cook picks up some fresh steaming moose turds with which to season the evening’s dessert. Waiting around the campfire, finally he hears:

“…This tastes like moose turd pie!” [slight pause] “Good, though!”

A much shaggier, perhaps, more venerable version was posted on the groaners listserv.

Moose Turd Pie

The worst job I ever had was working for the Pacific Railroad, doing a thing called “gandy-dancing.” Now most of you know the railroad was built partially by Irish labour.

Well, back then the workers would use this long handled shovel, made by the Gandy Shovel Company of Great Neck New York. Well, they’d shove one end of the shovel under a railroad tie, and then run out to the other end of the shovel, when they could find it, and do a little jig on it, and they called it Gandy-dancin’. This would lift the tie up so they could shove gravel under it, which would level the roadbed, so when the train came along, it wouldn’t tip over, which would be a real drag for everyone.

Well, nowadays, they run three cars out on the rail: a bunk car, an equipment car, and a mess car. The only thing they don’t give you is a cook. The bosses figure you’ll find out who the best cook is, and use him.

Well, they were wrong. Y’see, they just find out who complains the loudest about the cooking, and he gets to be the cook. Well, that was me, see. Ol’ aligator mouth. That was the worst food I’d ever had, and I complained about it. Things like “dog bottom pie” and “pheasent sweat.” I thought it was garbage. So I complained.

And everyone said, “alright, you think you can do better? You’re the cook” Well, that made me mad, see? But I knew, that anyone who complained about my cooking, they were gonna have to cook.

Armed with that knowledge, I sallied forth, over the muddy river. I was walking along, and I saw just this hell of a big moose turd, I mean it was a real steamer!

So I said to myself, “Self, we’re going to make us some moose turd pie.” So I tipped that prairie pastry on it’s side, got my sh*t together, so to speak, and started rolling it down towards the cook car: flolump, flolump, flolump. I went in and made a big pie shell, and then I tipped that meadow muffin into it, laid strips of dough across it, and put a sprig of parsley on top.

It was beautiful, poetry on a plate, and I served it up for dessert.

Well, this big guy come into the mess car, I mean, he’s about 5 foot forty, and he sets himself down like a fool on a stool, picked up a fork and took a big bite of that moose turd pie.

Well he threw down his fork and he let out a bellow, “My God, that’s moose turd pie!”

“It’s good, though.”

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1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Rhue

     /  May 14, 2021

    From the album Good Though by Utah Phillips…1973.

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