What Lewis and Clark Ate

Aug 29, 2014 by

What Lewis and Clark Ate

This article was written by Phineas Upham

Planning an expedition like the one undertaken by Lewis and Clark is not really something we would be familiar with. The closest we could equate it to would be a long backpacking trip, but even that barely covers the provisions and preparation. Items were much bulkier, and greater care had to be taken in preserving food. There was also a lot more open land, which meant a lot of opportunity for hunting and natural foraging.

It’s likely that when Lewis left for St. Louis, he took everything that he needed with him. He also left with full confidence that what he didn’t need, he would be able to buy. His shipping list is as follows:

Lewis orders 3 bushels of rock salt that he does not ultimately buy.

He asks for 6 kegs of spirits, and buys almost that exact quantity.

He also asks for 150 pounds of portable soup, and barrels with iron hoops to hold the wine. He ends up with 193 pounds of soup at the time that he sets out. He also buys some spaces, mostly as curatives and not to flavor food. Cinnamon, for instance, is used to relieve the body of diarrhea and nausea. He also buys a significant quantity of bourbon before he departs St. Louis, and we know he purchased this from a druggist. This may also have something to do with medicine, as it is unlikely Lewis would have been able to keep up the arduous pace if he were always drunk.

All told, Lewis paid less than $400 for his provisions to St. Louis, and roughly $2,000 for two tons worth of provisions once he arrived.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his LinedIn page.

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