Here we have found ourselves—
for the wilderness is nothing else.
— Rockwell Kent

 

I've long admired the art of artist-adventurer Rockwell Kent II (1882- 1971). One of his paintings in particular, of father and son outside a cabin in a mountainous wild place, inspired my curiosity about the story behind it. Kent and his 9-year-old son Rocky had made a trip to Alaska together in 1918. For several months, Kent Sr. painted while Rocky explored Fox Island (near Seward), where they lived.

I wondered about what young Rocky experienced that winter, given the gift of autonomy and grand wilderness at his doorstep every day. Being a parent, an artist and a child of nature lovers myself, I related to many aspects of the Kent’s sojourn. I wanted to create the story of Rocky’s Fox Island for adventure-loving young readers.

"Wlderness" by Rockwell Kent. c. 1919. Forbes Magazine Collection

"Wlderness" by Rockwell Kent. c. 1919. Forbes Magazine Collection

Fox Island Corn Soufflé 

2 cups whole uncooked hominy
2 cups cream sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bring 1 quart of water with pinch of salt to full boil. Add hominy to water and turn to
low heat, simmer for 1 hour.

Prepare Cream sauce as follows:

BASIC CREAM SAUCE  
4 tbsp. butter
2 c. milk
1/4 c. flour

In frying pan melt butter, add flour over medium high heat. Mix until mixture looks like dough. Slowly add milk stirring rapidly.

Cook until mixture is same texture, add more milk, continue until thickness desired.  Set aside.
 
When hominy is cooked, drain off any remaining water in colander. Mix cream sauce with Hominy in a standard size baking dish.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  Place in preheated 325° oven for
20 minutes to brown.

“My Wilderness, an Alaskan Adventure” is based on real events. Here are the books, records and articles I used in order to write Rocky’s story as true to life as possible.

Bibliography

Brinkley, Douglas. “The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom” New York, NY: Harper Collins 2011: 184-202.

Capra, Doug. “A Frightened, But Brave Boy: Young Rockwell in Alaska.”  The Kent Collector, Spring 2008: 5-11.

Kent, Rockwell. Wilderness: A Journal of Quiet Adventure in Alaska. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1996. 

Martin, Constance. Distant Shores: the Odyssey of Rockwell Kent. Berkley: University of California Press, 2000.

Roberts, Don. Rockwell Kent: The Art of the Bookplate. San Francisco: Fair Oaks Press, 2003.

Rockwell Kent Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. [microfilm reel numbers 5204, 5252, 5254, 5255].

Traxel, David. An American Saga: the Life and Times of Rockwell Kent.New York: Harper and Row, 1980.

 

    "My Wilderness, An Alaskan Adventure" is an historic fiction memoir, told through Rocky's perspective. What was it like to live so far away from home (New York City) essentially "roughing" it during winter in a cabin heated by two wood stoves in the middle of the Wild? Come find out!                       Around the table on Fox Island A good meal always makes you feel at home, especially nice after you’ve been exploring an island all day! Rocky’s father liked to cook and bake. A favorite dish he made for Rocky was called Fox Island Corn Soufflé. Kent writes how to make it in his journal. I bet it tasted a lot like a modern day mac and cheese. Here is a recipe for your family to try. You can think of Rocky eating this for dinner in their cozy Fox Island cabin! Typical Fox Island meal of the Kents' BREAKFAST Oatmeal, Cocoa Bread and Peanut Butter DINNER Beans (one of several kinds and several ways) Or Fox Island Soufflé Or Spaghetti or Peas Or Vegetable Stew and Potatoes or rice And Prunes or apricots or apples (dried) SUPPER Farina {a cereal, like Cream of Wheat} Cornbread with peanut butter or marmalade Tea for Father, milk for Rocky And sometimes dessert stewed fruit, chocolate, or when Olson gives it, goat milk junket{kind of a milky jello!}.

 

 

"My Wilderness, An Alaskan Adventure" is an historic fiction memoir, told through Rocky's perspective. What was it like to live so far away from home (New York City) essentially "roughing" it during winter in a cabin heated by two wood stoves in the middle of the Wild? Come find out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Around the table on Fox Island

A good meal always makes you feel at home, especially nice after you’ve been exploring an island all day! Rocky’s father liked to cook and bake. A favorite dish he made for Rocky was called Fox Island Corn Soufflé. Kent writes how to make it in his journal. I bet it tasted a lot like a modern day mac and cheese.

Here is a recipe for your family to try. You can think of Rocky eating this for dinner in their cozy Fox Island cabin!

Typical Fox Island meal of the Kents'

BREAKFAST
Oatmeal, Cocoa
Bread and Peanut Butter


DINNER
Beans (one of several kinds and several ways)
Or Fox Island Soufflé
Or Spaghetti or Peas
Or Vegetable Stew
and Potatoes or rice
And Prunes or apricots or apples (dried)


SUPPER
Farina {a cereal, like Cream of Wheat}
Cornbread with peanut butter or marmalade
Tea for Father, milk for Rocky
And sometimes dessert
stewed fruit, chocolate, or when Olson gives it, goat milk junket{kind of a milky jello!}.

dogwood for snohomish.jpg