Dutch Ovens, Hockey, & Earthquakes: Another Alaskan Weekend

Living in Alaska, I start taking things for granted. I stop realizing that things we do and experience are actually odd and interesting to people outside of Alaska. Our weekend was exactly that.

On Friday night, Mr. T and I went on a date to our first Alaska Aces hockey game. (Up here, it’s blasphemous that weΒ haven’t been to a hockey game!) Friends of ours had season tickets and we did some last minute babysitting for them, so they traded us with tickets (and babysitting!) to the hockey game. The evening cost us $6 (for parking) and was very fun and enlightening. The Aces lost 0-2 and there was no blood on the ice, but it was still very entertaining.


On Saturday, we spent the entire day at a local Dutch Oven Group gathering. We arrived around 3PM for a roll cooking demonstration. Then we set up our Dutch Oven (we only have one small 10″ Dutch Oven while other people have many in all different sizes). The view from the home that hosted was an incredible panoramic view of the inlet and we enjoyed watching the sun set on the partially-frozen water. There was even a moose in the backyard (safely below the deck on which we cooked)!

Dutch Oven ViewDutch Oven Food
Everyone goes in and out for three hours, making sure there are enough hot coals, making sure the breads are shielded from the cold wind so they can rise, and making sure nothing burns. Then, around 6:30PM, everyone brings in their meals and we have a big feast. Pictured to the right are about half of the Dutch Ovens that were there. We had an assortment of meats and potatoes, rolls and breads, jambalaya, pie, and we made a rhubarb custard cake from mooched rhubarb that is chopped up and ready to go in our freezer. In our Dutch Oven group are several state Dutch Oven cooking champions (including a high school girl that has won the youth division twice) and even a fewΒ that have competed at a national level. (No, Mr. T and I have never competed… and we’ve only actually cooked in our Dutch Ovens four times, but we’ve had a great time.) This is a very Alaskan tradition that we enjoy continuing (and yes, even people up here think we’re crazy sometimes).

Saturday night, around 1:30AM, we awoke to a very violent 7.1 earthquake. While we’re no stranger to earthquakes,* this was the biggest one we have ever experienced. It started slow, got really violent, and then just shook hard for a really long time. It felt like several minutes, though I’m sure it was probably less that one. Lui slept through it (amazing!) and the girls knew just what to do. When it ended and I ran down to check on them, they were tucking themselves back into bed. We had books, pictures, and other random stuff fall off of shelves, but only a handful of things fell and nothing broke.

After a very Alaskan weekend, we have finished eating our cake leftovers, the books are back on the shelves, and we’re ready for another week of living in this great state that’s full of opportunities and surprises!

*This time, our elephant wasn’t on the shelf, so no need to glue it back together again!

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  1. Wow! I didn’t see the news so I didn’t know. Glad all is well with you!

    Your Dutch oven gathering sounds awesome and the food looks delicious! What a cool get together.

    • MaggieBanks

      Alaska is fun sometimes and scary other times. But we’re all well-fed and safe after the weekend. Always something to celebrate!

  2. Whoa, that’s a pretty big quake! Sounds like an interesting place to live with their own cultural “oddities”. I miss that after we moved here from Louisiana. There are a lot of things they do there that are fun, but you don’t find in most other parts of the country. Glad you guys are safe with no major damage.

    • MaggieBanks

      Still waiting for the BIG ONE to kill us any day now… πŸ™‚ That’s always the scariest part of the earthquake… wondering if it will be this one!

  3. We live in Minnesota, so watching hockey and dutch-oven cooking are very familiar (my son is an Eagle Scout, so we’ve done a lot of the latter). That said, we definitely do not have EARTHQUAKES. That has to be some experience!

    • Minnesota, huh? I’m right across the border in Eau Claire, WI. Skol Vikings!

    • I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little disappointed this post wasn’t about trapping someone under bed covers πŸ™‚

      • MaggieBanks

        Oh dear! πŸ™‚ We do it the old fashioned way around here. The real deal.

    • MaggieBanks

      We have a ton of Minnesotans that move to Alaska. After maybe Washington, I would say it’s the biggest state of transplants to Alaska. Yes, earthquakes can be very scary – mainly just wondering if they’re going to be the one that kills us! πŸ™‚ And nothing beats a good Dutch Oven dessert!

  4. I love the dutch oven gathering. What a fun spin on the traditional potluck – and so frugal too! I didn’t realize that earthquakes were that common in Alaska. My sister just moved to California last year and I keep asking her about eathquakes. She hasn’t felt one yet. But anyways, back to the dutch ovens . . . I just did some internet browsing and have a new goal to add to my list: learn to cook with a dutch oven πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    • MaggieBanks

      It’s very fun! And I figure it’s a good skill to know if there ever is a major emergency in Alaska. We’ll still be cooking cakes. πŸ™‚

  5. That sounds like a wonderful time! Sure beats us being buried by a blizzard this weekend…but I think I’m talking to the wrong people πŸ˜‰ It’s so cool to hear the traditions that live and breathe in other parts of this country. Thanks for sharing!

    • MaggieBanks

      We would LOVE that much snow! Ironically, at the Dutch Oven cook-off, the dinner conversation was all about how the year we broke the Anchorage snow record was the greatest winter ever!

  6. So glad to hear you are all safe from the earthquake! 7.1 magnitude is so vast. Okay…so this Dutch oven party sounds amazing & all of the food looks incredible! I can safely say I have never attended a party quite like that (only potlucks with crock pots)! Also, how fun you got to experience the hockey game! Trade-offs between friends are some of the best ways to experience new things. πŸ™‚

    • MaggieBanks

      The earthquake was very deep, so a 7.1 closer to the surface would have been WAY worse. But it was still pretty big. And I agree that trade-offs are awesome. I don’t think we ever would have purchased hockey tickets, but we had a great time! (We’re not really sports people.)

  7. Glad the earthquake didn’t do too much damage for you. This dutch oven tradition is fascinating! I never knew this existed. How fun.

  8. Wow, I was not expecting to read this! Sounds like a great time minus the earthquake. I’ve always been curious to know what one feels like. Glad everyone is safe and you didn’t have any major damage.

    • MaggieBanks

      This one felt exactly like being in an earthquake house in a museum. We were in bed and the bed just moved very violently forward and backwards for a long time!

  9. I was wondering about you when I heard about the earthquake. Glad you are okay. The potluck sounds like so much fun! What division is your hockey team?

    • MaggieBanks

      ECHL (According to Wikipedia… I’m clearly not a huge sports fan, so I had no idea!)

  10. Haha, growing up in Alaska, I didn’t think anything of earthquakes. When Seattle had one, my boyfriend had to wake me up, or I’d have slept through it.

    But a 7.1… That I would’ve taken note of. I’m glad nothing got broken.

  11. So, I did not know what a Dutch Oven was, but thanks to your post (and a little googling) I am now enlightened! πŸ™‚ Man, you did have an eventful weekend, didn’t you? I’m glad everything was okay with the earthquake — I’ve never been in one, but it sounds super scary!

  12. Since we already covered the EQ stuff on Twitter, I’ll just jump right to the dutch oven group. πŸ™‚ I had no idea that that was a thing, but I love it! Cooking while camping is my favorite part of camping, hands down, and I get practically giddy if I get to cook something in the coals. That sounds like such a great state tradition! Oh, and one earthquake thing — that is so awesome that your daughters knew what to do! I’m sure you felt proud. πŸ™‚

    • MaggieBanks

      I was very proud of the girls. Apparently Penny started yelling at Florin to stop shaking the bed, to which Florin yelled “EARTHQUAKE” and they took action. As far as Dutch ovens go, it’s delicious… and NOTHING beats a good, Dutch oven dessert (our first ever dish in our Dutch oven was a Chocolate souffle cake that was to die for!)

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