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Native American Recipes
November 17, 2013 3:44 PM   Subscribe

For your culinary enjoyment, I present NativeTech's collection of recipes, which you can browse by recipe category, regions, types of dishes, and alphabetically (the site is pretty vast, and you can find recipes throughout the site). For more manageable lists, here is a mixed collection of Native American Recipes, from Apache acorn soup to Zuni corn soup (there's more listed than soups, I promise). One Feather has shared some favorite recipes, and then there's the Native Food blog, with recipes and more information.
posted by filthy light thief (26 comments total) 71 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's really interesting to me on a first scan how some of the recipes complement what I think of as ranch style food. Clearly a lot of borrowing from native cultures going on for Western-style American foods.

Unrelated, my favorite place to eat on the mall is the cafe at the NMAI, which I strongly prefer to the fast food next door at Air and Space.
posted by immlass at 4:20 PM on November 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Acorn soup! My grandpa (who is Apache) used to talk about that and how his mom and grandma used to make it. I've never tried it, but would totally be up for it.
posted by Malice at 4:24 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Acorn-based foods were a major childhood obsession of mine. I had one of those children's books about "how did the Indians live" that went into substantial detail about the leaching process to remove the tannins. At some point after I had read that book, my family brought a bucket full of acorns collected from our Chicagoland neighborhood and brought it to Koreatown to get turned into dotori muk. And ever after, I felt like the squirrels have kept me under close surveillance.
posted by spamandkimchi at 4:34 PM on November 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have also been obsessed by trying things made with acorns and have never had the chance. The leaching process is very important.

I will be perusing this for awhile tonight. Mr. Roquette was told he's half Apache. I don't think he actually is. He definitely has some East Coast tribe in his background.

I do have Anishanabe on my mother's side.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:47 PM on November 17, 2013


I like how a few of the recipes are apparently just what Native American users of the website came up with and like cooking.
posted by Bwithh at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


A propos of that Bwithh, one of my favourite "traditional" dishes is from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, where "herring-roe-on-kelp chow mein" has been a long time hybrid of Tshimshian and Chinese foods, coming out of a 100+ year relationship between these two cultures on the northwest coast of BC.
posted by salishsea at 4:58 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember making traditional First Nations bannock for a badge in Boy Scouts, then being quite disillusioned to later discover that bannock was probably introduced to Natives by Scotsmen.
posted by 256 at 5:01 PM on November 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


On the subject of more baffling recipies, is this one "Great Lakes Salmon." Pacific coho salmon are a recent addition to the Great Lakes, where my ancestors traditionally fished whitefish and pickerel and pike. So not only is it a recipe from a region in which none of the ingredients are native, it was submitted by a Cherokee woman from Texas.

Not exactly a "northeastern" recipe, in anyway whatsoever actually!

But having said that, the website is great and contains lots of great ways to eat traditional and indigenous foods from around North America.
posted by salishsea at 5:02 PM on November 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


"herring-roe-on-kelp chow mein"

that sounds awesome! traditional chow mein could do with a bit of livening up
posted by Bwithh at 5:07 PM on November 17, 2013


My Mom used to make something very much like this halibut . It was nearly as addictive as crack cocaine (and at today's prices would be nearly as expensive).
posted by islander at 5:18 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I look forward to digging in to this feast. From my visit NMAI's opening year on the Mall, I keep remembering and wishing I had a recipe for the wild rice and watercress salad. Speaking of which, check out the Mitsitam Cafe's Thanksgiving dinner to go menu. That visit ranks with the best museum experiences ever.
posted by Anitanola at 5:25 PM on November 17, 2013


Where I work (in the Government), we participate in monthly celebrations of various people's heritage. African-American heritage (we had a Gullah pot-luck that was wonderful), Asian-Pacific heritage (potlucks always great), GLBT Heritage (no potluck for that, but great documentaries), and Native-American Heritage month. We once had a story-teller for NA Heritage, lots of good documentaries, a member of a local tribe came in to talk about the difficulty of becoming an "official" tribe. However, our attempt at a Native American potluck was a disaster because we only found websites suggesting we mix berries with lard or make pemmican. People brought cornbread and succotash, and that was about it. This website should help our next potluck a lot.
posted by acrasis at 5:40 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but a "Native American" recipes site that has no mention of Saskatoons, one of the most important indigenous foodstuffs in the province with the highest Aboriginal population per capita in North America (excluding the territories of course) isn't trying hard enough.

We have real live first nations people here, in Western Canada. Not "my great grandmother was Cherokee" people.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:54 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


They just switched one of the public access channels in Chicago to FNX, which seems odd because I think our population is less that 1% Native American, but I'm glad to see it there, and it might be of interest to folks reading this.
posted by timsteil at 6:10 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


They don't have one of my favorite foods I learned to fix from my Creek Indian maternal Grandmother years ago: Sofkey
posted by govtdrone at 6:32 PM on November 17, 2013


Chocolate? So these are recipes made up by people are are tribal members, or identify as such, but not necessarily traditional foods, right?
posted by Ideefixe at 7:05 PM on November 17, 2013


You may have also noticed ones featuring hot dogs and ones which call for canned tomato sauce. On the other hand I came across one with the instructions "Beware of little bones in squirrel", which is awesome.
posted by XMLicious at 7:15 PM on November 17, 2013


We have real live first nations people here, in Western Canada.

Uhh yeah, we have them too.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:32 PM on November 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


Chocolate? So these are recipes made up by people are are tribal members, or identify as such, but not necessarily traditional foods, right?

Yep, I think that's the idea.

Stuff that natives eat can be inspired by their culture and heritage without needing museum-ready "authenticity" for the sake of nonnative validation.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:46 PM on November 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


I like how a few of the recipes are apparently just what Native American users of the website came up with and like cooking.

I also like the note on that particular recipe: "Very easy to do . JUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER COOK. ENJOY - THIS WILL FEED THE WHOLE REZ IF YOU DOUBLE."

I'm a white boy, recently moved to New Mexico, the land of "feast beasts" (a term that a native co-worker used for people who go to lots of feast days), and I've been lucky to be invited to a few local celebrations. From what I've learned, food is an important part of local celebrations and communities, and much in the way that native traditions have changed over the (hundreds to thousands of) years, even "traditional" recipes aren't set in stone.

While it would be interesting to find "historic" native recipes, I imagine they might be similar to old recipes from other cultures - very vague guides of what to throw together, and the exact mix is only understood by those who cook the recipes after learning from people who have made it before, or they revised or made them up on their own, and tweak them based on what is available right then.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:26 PM on November 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


For recipes with more nutritional information, USDA Food and Nutrition Service has produced A River of Recipes (59 PDF), to accompany the USDA food distribution program on Indian Reservations. Some ingredients are not what you would expect, but that's because they are made with "commodity foods" (I'm not sure what those include, TBH).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:55 PM on November 17, 2013


commodity foods explanatory pdf from the UDSA

When I'm in northern NM I love getting fry bread from local natives at roadside stands. But it's not really "what they ate before the white man came". But it is entirely a Native American food, with a long history.

I don't think it's really fair to have this "oh, this is too modern or uses ingredients from the grocery store" attitude toward these recipes. This is what native people eat, and they have put them forward as being something specific to their way of life.

One walks dangerously close to some form of white imperialism if one tries to define recipes as "authentic" or whatnot when not actually part of the culture.
posted by hippybear at 10:41 PM on November 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, "authenticity" can be a sketchy term. I mean, the tomato isn't an authentic ingredient of traditional Italian food, too, but it sure does make for a tasty sauce.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:00 AM on November 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


a "Native American" recipes site that has no mention of Saskatoons, one of the most important indigenous foodstuffs in the province with the highest Aboriginal population per capita in North America (excluding the territories of course) isn't trying hard enough

contact and suggest ...
posted by tilde at 6:44 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think at least one of the corn soups will be part of my Thanksgiving table this year ...
posted by tilde at 6:45 AM on November 18, 2013


I'll be honest, that was one of my inspirations. And after the various well-received recipe posts in the past, I've been thinking about Native American recipes, and I was hoping I could find some online. Lo and behold, the internet provides, like a virtual cornucopia of knowledge!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:55 AM on November 19, 2013


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