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Pemmican, in the Swallows and Amazons series, is bully beef (or tinned corned beef). The explorers choose to call it pemmican as that was a staple food used by many explorers.

The original pemmican originated as a North American native foodstuff which consisted of fat, dried meat and dried berries ground up and mixed. It keeps well and provides a good combination of fat and protein.

  • Mother said You will soon get tired of living on corned beef .... Pemmican said Titty ..... Pemmican said the female native. So if I were you I should only open a pemmican tin when you haven’t anything else that you can eat without cooking (SA5).
  • When they first see Amazon and decide to follow her John says Let’s have a pemmican day. Then we needn’t wait to cook dinner. Don’t lets wait a minute. A loaf of bread and a tin of pemmican and some apples .... So when they land on Titty's island On the hunks of bread and butter they put hunks of pemmican .... (SA8).
  • Susan says We've got pemmican and sardines so there was a tin of pemmican to open (SA11).
  • Titty's rations had a good big hunk of pemmican. Man Friday said What if we were to make pemmican cakes ..... she chopped up the pemmican into very little bits like mince ..... and broke them (the potatoes) up, and mixed them with the chopped meat and made half a dozen round flat cakes of pemmican and potato .... and fried the pemmican cakes until they sizzled and bubbled .... their meal was a very good one (SA18).
  • When settling in, Susan was able to hurry on with the dinner: a good one, hotted pemmican and green peas with a lot of butter on them, and after that the usual bunloaf and marmalade, chocolate and apples. (SD14).
  • At the Halfway Camp they have a breakfast including hunks of pemmican improved by being held for a minute over the fire (this gives the meat just that touch of camp-fire smoke that makes the difference) .... (SD26).
  • The Amazons say they are homesick for pemmican so they open a large-size pemmican tin (SD27).
  • Susan has blued a birthday present on a mincing machine? To improve the pemmican. Mrs Blackett says I'll come to supper with you another day ... to try Susan's minced pemmican (PP2). Later the cooks were going to show her how good a meal they could make with minced pemmican served hot with plenty of green peas out of a tin and potatoes .... Susan says to Mrs Blackett that the pemmican would have been better with a little chopped onion (PP4)
  • Fried cannon balls were an improved form of pemmican .... with corned beef, a couple of onions and some stale bread mixed together in a pudding bowl with a raw egg and some milk and browned in a frying pan, which was very hot work .... and a slip, or twist of a weak wrist had been known to send all eight cannon balls together headlong into the fire (PP20).
  • When they move to Camp Might Have Been, a camp of their own, they have Plain pemmican, followed by bread and marmalade and apples (PP27).


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