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.
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.
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.