Tuesday, June 14, 2016

To Be #Shawnee: Feasting with the Shawnee

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
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.

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