Cooking "Clan of the Cave Bear" Style!

Image of Bar

Final Thoughts

Rawhide is an amazing material. I even created a blade from it with a serrated edge and used it to cut a tomato. It can be used in the construction of shields, armor, boats, masks, drums, and all manner of things (not forgetting that it can also be tanned and made into leather), and as a binding is very strong and useful in both construction and repair.

shasta image However, most fascinating from an archaeological perspective is that it is virtually invisible in the archaeological record. Not only time and decay play a role here in consideration of human artifacts. Rawhide is so irresistible to dogs that anything discarded (and some things no doubt even before they were willingly discarded) would have been made short work of by camp or wild dogs.

But even if rawhide artifacts shone forth from the archaeological record as brightly as stone, I doubt, based on the results of this experiment, that we would find skin pots that had been used for cooking over a fire. Neandertals and other hunter-gatherers had better things to do with their time.


Auel, Jean M. (1980) The Clan of the Cave Bear, Bantam Books

McParland, Pat (1977) Experiments in the firing and breaking of rocks. The Calgary Archaeologist v.5, pages 31-33

Overstreet, Charles (1993) Plains Indian and Mountain Man Arts and Crafts, Eagle's View Publishing.

Wilson, Michael (1996) in conversation

Neandertal Stew (a la The Clan of the Cave Bear, pages 81,82)


bison (we substituted cow)
wild onion (substituted domestic)
unspecified herbs (chose marjoram, cloves, garlic, and bay leaf)
thistle stalks (we omitted)
watercress (substituted bamboo shoots)
small immature yams (substituted grocery store yam)
cranberries (substituted canned cranberry sauce with whole cranberries)
"wilted flowers from previous days growth of day lilies for thickening" (substituted potatoes)

Note on other substitutions from Elizabeth B. Naime (Feb, 1998)

Add meat first, then potatoes (if used), then softer ingredients which don't take as long to cook. You might want to have salt and pepper on hand as well. Auel used the adjective "salty" for coltsfoot (omitted, see below), and this may be what that ingredient was intended for [August 30, 1996, personal correspondence ~ Auel notes that the saltiness may actually be from a source where the coltsfoot was flavoured with ash.]

Some ingredients were omitted and not substituted for as my sister Betty, wise in plant-lore herself, expressed skepticism about some of them and looked them up. The roots of milkweed should be avoided, and the other parts "must be boiled in three or four different batches of water to remove toxic substances and make them safe to eat." The cooking water should be discarded (Magic and Medicine of Plants, senior editors James Dwyre & David Rattray, 1986, published by Readers Digest Association Canada Ltd.). The tome also mentioned that "coltsfoot may cause cancer if taken in large doses or repeated small doses." Betty also expressed some reservations about lilies, noting that some varieties are poisonous. I should add that the mushrooms we used were from the grocery store, and that anyone using wild mushrooms they've picked themselves does so at their own risk. [August 30, 1996 ~ further info from Jean Auel.]

The Icons below will guide you to the other Cooking Clan of the Cave Bear Style Pages

Page Icon Page Icon Page Icon
Home Icon E-Mail Icon

 Date & Inn Image