Monday, June 3, 2013

A Shawnee Feast #NativeAmerican



 Welcome to the Feast of the First Nations! 

Wait. It's Monday morning. What is Allison doing writing to me on a Monday morning? Well, I'm glad you asked that. This week is going to be a bit different. I've been asked to participate in the Summer Banquet Hop. The Summer Banquet Hop is a one week event where I and other authors will post about food that is related to their books on their blogs. The other authors who are participating in this blog tour are: 

Allison Bruning

 I will be giving away an ebook copy of Calico and an ebook copy of Reflections: Poems and Essay to two lucky winners. How do you win? Just leave a comment below this posting. The contest will run from now until June 7th. 

A Shawnee Feast
Welcome to my cabin. I cannot tell you my name because anyone who knows my real name has power over me. You may call Christine, for that is how the white people know me.  I was born the daughter of the Peace Chief and married a French Fur Trader. You know my people as the Shawnee but we call ourselves the Shawano. Shawano means southerner in our language. Please sit and let me tell you about my people and the feast I have prepared for you. 

My people are part of the Eastern Woodland Tribes and shared many culinary traits with the other Woodland tribes.

 Our men are highly skilled hunters. They are highly skilled in imitating the calls of a wide variety of animals. One time a man in my village imitate a panther and not soon after the panther pounced on him. The man lived but he never tried to hunt down the panther ever again.

On your plate are a variety of meat that my husband and brothers hunted this morning that represent the kinds of animals we hunt in different seasons.  The raccoon is our principal meat during the winter season. Our men watch for when the frogs come out of their hiding places. When that happens we know the raccoons are not that far behind because the raccoons will hunt for them close to the ponds. Our men trap the raccoons by placing a long pole over one of the logs that the raccoons use to hunt.  The pole has stakes on the side of it so it won't move. On the end of the pole is a sinew noose. When the raccoon walks across the log it triggers the trap and the pole falls on top of the animal with the noose around it's neck. The other meat on your plate are deer, turkey, rabbit, and fish. Here is my recipe for the baked raccoon on your plate. http://www.nativetech.org/recipes/recipe.php?recipeid=16


On the left side of your plate you will find Hominy. Hominy is one of our favorite dishes and we eat it
Indian Corn by Thomas Quine
http://www.flickr.com/photos/quinet/93022898/
on a daily basis. Hominy is made from flint corn. You know flint corn by another name, Indian Corn. Flint corn is just one of the varieties of corn that we grow in our community garden.

 We, like other Native American groups, plant our crops using the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters are corn, squash and beans. I have made you a wonderful Three Sisters Stew that you can find in the bowl beside your drink. Here is my recipe for that stew from the Oneida Nation. I'm keeping my recipe a secret. http://www.oneidaindiannation.com/culture/threesisters/cookbook/41034407.html

We, Shawnee women, use digging sticks to plant corn kernels. We wait until the corn stalks are about a foot high then return to the garden and plant squash, beans and pumpkins between the stalks. The squash and pumpkin vines will attach themselves to dead trees and stumps. We hoe the corn stalks from time to time with blades made from shells, stone or elk shoulder blades. The bowl above your plate on the right is corn and bean stew. I have placed some pumpkin and squash slices beside your hominy. Beside that is Succotash. You can find my succotash recipe at http://www.nativetech.org/recipes/recipe.php?recipeid=76 

On a separate plate, in the middle of the table, are two types of breads that are very common among my people. The one on the left is Sour Bread and the Blue Bread. Here are the recipe for the Sour Bread. I can't share with you the Blue Bread recipe because it's a Shawnee secret.

Sour Bread

1teaspoon baking soda
2 cups white cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups lukewarm water

Mix the ingredients together then let it sit for two or three days. Stir it thoroughly and add cup of flour. Stir again to make the dough. Pour the mixture into a well greased bread pan. Cook at 350 degrees until well browned.

Are you enjoying the meal so far?

Great!  Here let me pour you some bread water in your cup. What's bread water? It's a corn drink that we learned how to make from the Creeks.

Time for desert.
Not only do my people hunt and farm but we also gather berries and fruits. We usually eat these uncooked but sometimes we will dry them. I've made you one of my people's favorite dishes. Take a look at the dish I just laid before. These are wild grapes that I have slightly scalded. The thick, rich juice they lie in is from pressing the grapes. I heated the juice up and when it boiled I added dumplings and sugar.

Thank you for visiting my cabin today.

21 comments:

  1. Lovely article - nice to read something a bit different. Thoroughly enjoying the articles on this Banquet Blog Hop!

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  2. Your meal sounds like it would be delightful to experience, Christine! Thank you for sharing!

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  3. Really interesting! And Christine is a gracious hostess. I would have guessed that the dessert would be sweetened with honey. What was the Shawano's source of sugar? I'm guessing maybe maple sugar from syrup? Just curious.

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    1. Thank you, Tinney. It was maple sugar.

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  4. I'm going to make succotash & sour bread this weekend! Great blog!

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    1. Thank you. Be sure to let me know how it turns out.

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  5. I recently moderated a session on historical fiction at the SC Book Festival. The participants had all written books dealing with Amerinds. You would have loved the experience.

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    1. Are the Amerinds a Native American tribe?

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  6. This is so cool! Great to read a post on Native American culture and cuisine. Well done!

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  7. I really liked this - first of all because I learnt a lot, but also because of how you'd written it. And I will keep on wondering about the blue bread!

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    1. Thank you Annabelfrage. I tried to get the blue bread recipe but couldn't find it.

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  8. ...and now I will wonder just what went into making the blue bread. An interesting and well-written post!

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  9. Would love to know what Racoon tastes like - can't imagine it at all. And fascinated by the length of time the Sour Bread sits for - I'd expect it to go off - especially in heat? anyway thanks for this unusual post. I love hearing about different people's cultures. margaretskea@hotmail.co.uk

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    1. I don't think I would ever want to try racoon. A friend of mine's father makes it and she won't dare try it. She says he's crazy.

      The sour bread surprised me as well. I guess that's why it's called sour bread.

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  10. Definite no to the raccoon, but the the bread recipe is great as well as the veggies! Thanks for the giveaway! denannduvall@gmail.com

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    1. You're welcome. I would have to agree with you on the raccoon.

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  11. Great post.

    I've eaten blue cornbread that was made with ground blue corn. I wonder if the secret blue bread recipe incorporates blue corn? There are few edible plants in nature that yield a blue color.

    ShaunaRoberts [at} nasw [dot] org

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