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Indian Tacos on Sheridan?

Indian Tacos on Sheridan?
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  • Indian Tacos on Sheridan?

    Post #1 - November 30th, 2005, 4:51 pm
    Post #1 - November 30th, 2005, 4:51 pm Post #1 - November 30th, 2005, 4:51 pm
    Last month I ended up having my appendix removed in an almost comical emergency surgery, anyhow, my roommate Hilda and I got to talking and she told me about these Indian Tacos which she described as "wonderful" that are sold the first Friday of every month at the Anawin Center (I think that's the spelling, she wrote it in my little journal and her handwriting is pretty spidery) which is at 4750 N. Sheridan, up on the second floor. She says they sell them for $4 a piece, it's a fundraiser for the center, which she described as a "Native-American Spiritual Center." They sell them from 11 am to 4 pm. I have not been (look, I never even made back to Tacos del Pacifico, arrrrrgh) but it sounds like a fun thing to investigate.

    I grew up with lots of Mi Wok Indian friends in No Cal, and the Indian Taco is a modern sort of generalized invention (Mi Woks' ate a gruel of acorns!) that I doubt has any ties to a particualr tribe (but I could be totally wrong) where a thick dough is deep fried in oil, it gets all puffy and then is topped with ground beef, shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, hot sauce and sour cream if you want it. There were always sold at special events and Pow-wows. I might even compare them to corn dogs, you know you always see corn dogs at fairs? Well, you always see Indian Tacos at Pow-wows.

    Anyhow, if anyone's been, let me know. I might try and sneak up there this Friday, which is in fact, the first Friday of the month.

    cheers.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #2 - November 30th, 2005, 5:11 pm
    Post #2 - November 30th, 2005, 5:11 pm Post #2 - November 30th, 2005, 5:11 pm
    bjt:

    Thanks for the information; we'll definitely be checking these Indian tacos out one of these days (hopefully soon).

    They've come up recently (and about one year ago) in the context of posts about the annual pow-wow at the UIC Pavillion. I had one there a couple of weeks ago and it was good. Amata took some photos of one of the ladies making the fry bread which we need to upload and she needs to post.

    Yes, like the modern dances, these tacos are surely an intertribal development of either relatively recent invention or considerable reformulation (and at the least of recent adoption across the country), but more and more I've come to regard and appreciate these innovations as part of a living culture. When I first started visiting pow-wows, I think I was too fixated on how they relate and don't relate to the past (which they do and don't) and didn't sufficiently appreciate that these are living, evolving traditions developing across the pan-Indian community and not at all 're-enactments'.

    Our visit to the pow-wow this year was, as always, a real pleasure.

    Anyway, thanks again. Good to have a regular source for Indian tacos around!

    antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #3 - November 30th, 2005, 7:35 pm
    Post #3 - November 30th, 2005, 7:35 pm Post #3 - November 30th, 2005, 7:35 pm
    bjt wrote:I grew up with lots of Mi Wok Indian friends in No Cal, and the Indian Taco is a modern sort of generalized invention (Mi Woks' ate a gruel of acorns!) that I doubt has any ties to a particualr tribe (but I could be totally wrong) where a thick dough is deep fried in oil, it gets all puffy and then is topped with ground beef, shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, hot sauce and sour cream if you want it. There were always sold at special events and Pow-wows.
    Sounds a lot like the "Navajo Tacos" sold all over the Great Circle national parks region (Arizona, esp. Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Colorado esp. Mesa Verde and Utah's various canyons). I never got around to having one, but saw these served at several of the national parks, roadside stands, etc.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #4 - November 30th, 2005, 10:13 pm
    Post #4 - November 30th, 2005, 10:13 pm Post #4 - November 30th, 2005, 10:13 pm
    Joel F: I kept thinking that my "tongue" was missing something and felt a little off in calling them Indian Tacos, but as you point out, in the Southwest they call them Navajo Tacos. My entire extended clan now lives in Colorado and often goes to New Mexico and we have also eaten them there as well. But it sort of makes me giggle in that, the Navajo Tacos might sound a bit more authentic than the er, suspect, Indian Taco. It's pretty generic/general ie totally derivative of a Mexican AMERICAN (not Mexican!!!) taco. But that's not to say that they aren't tasty, no matter what region/culture/understanding you eat them in.

    In fact, Hilda, my hospital mate, seemed to be mostly Latina but definitely had Native American ties. This is consistent to my experience growing up--one of the most active families on the Reservation near me were the Mantzourantises. A Greek family that somehow married into a Mi Wok family and they never looked back, complety cherished the Mi Wok ways, raised their children in its culture. I actually (naively of course) thought their last name was Indian until I went away to college and drank Ouzo.

    anyhow, to Indian Tacos . . . isn't Chicago a grand place?

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #5 - December 1st, 2005, 7:24 am
    Post #5 - December 1st, 2005, 7:24 am Post #5 - December 1st, 2005, 7:24 am
    isn't Chicago a grand place?


    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    I love Indian fry bread, especially if they happen to be anything remotely like Navajo Tacos. If you make it on Friday, please double-check they will be operating the first Friday of January. I'd hate to make the trek to learn this particular Friday they took a day off.

    Great find via your hospital roommate.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - December 1st, 2005, 12:24 pm
    Post #6 - December 1st, 2005, 12:24 pm Post #6 - December 1st, 2005, 12:24 pm
    If anyone's planning to give it a try on a weekend (assuming they do it on Saturdays), do post it. We live nearby and would love to link up to a local expedition.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #7 - December 1st, 2005, 12:44 pm
    Post #7 - December 1st, 2005, 12:44 pm Post #7 - December 1st, 2005, 12:44 pm
    bjt, thanks for this post -- you always post about the most interesting and little known things! :)

    I will, at some point soon, post something longer about fry bread, with photos, but can't do it right now.

    But I tried to find out more about the place bjt's roommate mentioned. It's actually called Anawim Center, and seems to be affiliated with the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Here is something from the archdiocese website:
    ANAWIM CENTER
    Director: Sr. Patricia Mulkey
    The mission of the Anawim Center is to create a place of prayer serving the Native American community in the Archdiocese of Chicago, contributing to the mission of the Church of Chicago and the Church Universal in the work of the Gospel.
    The Anawim Center serves to assist the Church in this mission through Worship, evangelization, catechesis, community-building, service, healing, and reconciliation, empowering this community with their particular cultural and spiritual gifts to be involved in the process by which the transformation of the human family into the Body of Christ will be realized.
    This will be carried out in the spirit of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha according to the Documents of Vatican Council II.
    4750 N. Sheridan Rd #255
    Chicago, IL 60640
    (773) 561-6155
    Fax (773) 561-6155
    E-mail: mulkepa@netscape.net

    (From http://www.archchicago.org/departments/ ... catec.shtm )

    So at least one could contact them by phone or email to find out more, including if the Indian tacos are available on any Saturdays or other times.

    Amata
  • Post #8 - December 1st, 2005, 4:05 pm
    Post #8 - December 1st, 2005, 4:05 pm Post #8 - December 1st, 2005, 4:05 pm
    Hmm...as a pretty recalcitrant agnostic, I'm not sure I'm ready for transubstantiation with my Indian tacos. Nor would I wish to defame an occasion of worship by showing up just for the nibbles. But if it's more like a supportive bake sale than a religious rite, I'm in.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #9 - December 1st, 2005, 8:34 pm
    Post #9 - December 1st, 2005, 8:34 pm Post #9 - December 1st, 2005, 8:34 pm
    I called the Anawim Center yesterday, spoke with a really lovely woman who asked how I'd heard about the Indian Tacos on Friday and I said, "Well I was in the hospital with this woman Hilda" and she said "Oh Hilda, yes, Hilda." Then I asked her to confirm hours and everything--all in my original post is correct (thanks, Hilda!) but she added that they do offer a vegetaraian option, although I wonder if that means you get fry bread, shredded lettuce and cheese? (I dodn't ask.) She said they are big and they are heavy.

    Anyhow, she was very warm and said, "Please tell any of your friends, it's a fundraiser for the Center." I was raised completely religion free, and am pretty dubious of organized religion, but I have had wonderful experiences with the Archdiocese in Denver, volunteering in the only shelter for families in the city. So don't let the language from the website above necessarily turn you off. It might just be a Center that reaches out to Native Americans, who are burdened with immense social and cultural challenges and this is possibly a healthy place for them to gather, be social, feel connected. I dunno, I've never been.

    It's looking like getting there tomorrow will be a challenge as meetings stack up so if someone goes, please post!

    And thanks for kind words, Amata. I only wish I had more time to explore!

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #10 - December 1st, 2005, 10:03 pm
    Post #10 - December 1st, 2005, 10:03 pm Post #10 - December 1st, 2005, 10:03 pm
    bjt wrote:

    "Mi Woks' ate a gruel of acorns!"

    According to the naturalist and author Euell Gibbons, ( in "Stalking the Wild Asparagus", I believe) acorns have been a staple for millenia. He gives a recipe for acorn bread which involves a long period of soaking to rid the acorns of their bitterness. Sounds like a lot of work, but then someone posted recently on home-curing olives. Acorns can't be any more bitter than olives, based on my one regrettable taste of an olive fresh off the tree in Corfu.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #11 - December 2nd, 2005, 9:45 am
    Post #11 - December 2nd, 2005, 9:45 am Post #11 - December 2nd, 2005, 9:45 am
    yes, the processing of acorns was (I can resist this) quite gruelling! Seriously, I think it's a triple soak process to get all the tannins out. In the 7th grade at Summerville Elementary, we made a local recipe book as a fundraiser, several of the kids' mothers and aunties provided recipes for Acorn Mush and the procedure was lengthy. As a side note, growing up, when we'd go to the swimming hole down by the river there would be spots on the large rocks with smooth, round "bowls" this is where waaaaay back in the day, the native women would use a rock (as a pestle) to grind the acorns and over time it created the concave bowls in the rock. Even then in the throes of adolescence and mostly boys on the brain, we thought it was very cool to see this living history.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #12 - December 2nd, 2005, 11:35 am
    Post #12 - December 2nd, 2005, 11:35 am Post #12 - December 2nd, 2005, 11:35 am
    The language on the website pertains, obviously, to the mission of the Center itself. The selling of frybread and tacos seems to be as much of a religious "rite" as the selling of cannoli during St. Anthony's feast or the purchase of a tamal in front of a church in Logan Square. Or drinking a Trappist Ale, or eating nun-made pierogi.
  • Post #13 - December 2nd, 2005, 3:41 pm
    Post #13 - December 2nd, 2005, 3:41 pm Post #13 - December 2nd, 2005, 3:41 pm
    LTH,

    Met Pigmon and Mike G for Navajo Tacos at the Anawim Center for lunch today. Walking down the unadorned halls, in the somewhat tired Sheridan road office building, we had no idea what to expect, but they were very warm and welcoming to three somewhat odd visitors with an obsession for taking pictures of food. Ok, one somewhat odd picture taking obsessive and Pigmon and Mike G. :)

    As we were walking in we met Georgina, who wields a deft hand with fry bread. It's a team effort, Georgina's sister Dorothy makes the dough, Georgina the frying.

    Georgina making Fry Bread
    Image

    Fry Bread
    Image

    We ordered our Navajo Tacos from Sister Patricia who was friendly, quick witted and had a darn good sense of humor.

    Sister Patricia
    Image

    The Navajo Tacos themselves were quite good, not so much for the beef and bean filling, but for the sheer simple joy of the Fry Bread. There are vegetarian fry bread tacos available as well. Georgina informs us the center will fill orders, large and small, of premade fry bread or fry bread dough with advance ordering.

    Navajo Tacos
    Image
    Image

    We ordered a few additional Fry Breads, and when we responded to Sister Patricia's question of how we liked the fry bread enthusiastically, she kindly gave us each an additional fry bread. Georgina suggested we try the fry bread with powdered sugar and honey, which was absolutely delicious. With sugar and honey the taste was similar to Sopaipillas, in other words, quite good.

    Fry Bread w/honey and powdered sugar
    Image

    All in all a very nice lunch, and certainly for more than just the food. The Anawim Center has a number of positive community programs, of which I'm sure one of the volunteers or Sister Patricia would be happy to outline. There was some supposition as to the potential for religion being served along with the Navajo Tacos, none that I saw or heard. Just nice people, terrific fry bread and a very pleasant place to have lunch the first Friday every month.

    As we were leaving we noticed
    Image

    I wonder when they serve lunch. :)

    Thanks go to BJT, sorry about your appendix, but very happy you learned about the Navajo Tacos on the first Friday of the month at the Anawim Center.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Navajo Tacos, first Friday of the month.
    11am - 4pm
    Anawim Center
    4750 N. Sheridan Rd #255
    Chicago, IL 60640
    (773) 561-6155
    Fax (773) 561-6155
    E-mail: mulkepa@netscape.net
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - December 2nd, 2005, 5:58 pm
    Post #14 - December 2nd, 2005, 5:58 pm Post #14 - December 2nd, 2005, 5:58 pm
    Darn nice post and pictures, thank you. As you know, the Anawim Center is near my house, but sadly quite a distance from my downtown office...too bad for that short Friday afternoon service window.

    I guess I will just have to be happy with another vicarious meal via the GPM express.

    pd
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #15 - December 2nd, 2005, 8:35 pm
    Post #15 - December 2nd, 2005, 8:35 pm Post #15 - December 2nd, 2005, 8:35 pm
    hey, I'm happy to cough up a non-essential organ to further the quest of the LTH Forum :wink:

    thanks for the pictures! looks homey and just like the kitchen on the rez.

    did they have table where you could eat and were you the only ones there?

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #16 - December 2nd, 2005, 10:47 pm
    Post #16 - December 2nd, 2005, 10:47 pm Post #16 - December 2nd, 2005, 10:47 pm
    bjt wrote:did they have table where you could eat

    Yes

    bjt wrote:and were you the only ones there?

    No

    Image

    BJT, thanks again for posting about the Anawim Center lunch.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - December 3rd, 2005, 9:02 am
    Post #17 - December 3rd, 2005, 9:02 am Post #17 - December 3rd, 2005, 9:02 am
    Hi,

    From your pictures, it's almost like you had lunch at the teacher's lounge at school.

    Many years ago, my Mother and I showed up in Tuba City, AZ at 10:30 PM just to eat Indian Tacos. We had them for our late dinner and again for breakfast the next day. So few opportunities to eat these, we cannot wait to go there in January.

    Thanks bjt! Thanks guys for actually going there, eating and driving my desires further!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #18 - December 3rd, 2005, 9:47 pm
    Post #18 - December 3rd, 2005, 9:47 pm Post #18 - December 3rd, 2005, 9:47 pm
    hey I just wanted to point out for those of you who can't make it during the limited hours (I couldn't) or want to try your own hand at a Friday (or Saturday) night Navajo Taco Fry at your own abode, it sounds like they're willing to sell the dough if they have advance notice. I don't know exactly what that means but perhaps a day or two prior to the first Friday of the month? Or who knows, maybe they'd even indulge special orders. My advice is to just call, they struck me as very warm and accessible.

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #19 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:14 am
    Post #19 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:14 am Post #19 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:14 am
    HI,

    I'm thinking of heading over for some Indian Tacos today. How much should I plan on paying?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #20 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:30 am
    Post #20 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:30 am Post #20 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:30 am
    Very few dollars. I don't remember exactly but it was awfully cheap.
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  • Post #21 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:49 am
    Post #21 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:49 am Post #21 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:49 am
    Mike G wrote:Very few dollars. I don't remember exactly but it was awfully cheap.

    Mike,

    Right, not much at all, though I suggest Cathy bring a few extra bucks in case she wants to take home a few fry breads.

    We also made a small donation to the Center. This was on our own accord, they, meaning the staff, in no way suggested or solicited donations with lunch.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #22 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:41 pm
    Post #22 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:41 pm Post #22 - February 3rd, 2006, 9:41 pm
    HI,

    We beelined from Highland Park to the Indian Taco monthly lunch and fundraiser. Dropped my Mom off while looking for parking. When we finally reached room #255, Mom was standing there advising, "No tacos today!" Yet we had passed someone with a take-out order, we could smell cooking and hear voices. We did an exploratory walk to some open doors down the hall to find Indian tacos. It appears Mom was reading last month's activity calendar.

    The Indian tacos, whether they are vegetarian or loaded with meat, are $4 each. Extra Indian fry bread is $1 each. When I do it again, I will order the fully loaded Indian Taco with an extra piece of fry bread. The Indian taco was so loaded down with filling, the extra piece would have come in handy.

    I inquired if they might make these on a Saturday instead with perhaps a lecture on Indian food. They were quick to agree, then suggested they could expand the menu to a full meal with soup and all. I expect to hear from them next week.

    So glad the opportunity of an appendix allowed bjt to learn about this place.

    Thanks again!
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #23 - February 4th, 2006, 11:25 am
    Post #23 - February 4th, 2006, 11:25 am Post #23 - February 4th, 2006, 11:25 am
    How are these different from Tex-Mex Puffy Tacos (aside from culturally/historically) ? Are the dough ingredients different?
  • Post #24 - February 4th, 2006, 4:00 pm
    Post #24 - February 4th, 2006, 4:00 pm Post #24 - February 4th, 2006, 4:00 pm
    Jay K,

    I have no idea though via google:

    There are Indian taco recipes on the web. This is a recipe for Indian fry bread and the sauces for Indian tacos.

    From an article describing 'what is Tex-Mex' there is a definition of Tex Mex Puffy Tacos:

    (Definitions are in order here: A crispy taco was — is — made with a hard-fried, folded-over corn tortilla; a puffy taco is a corn tortilla that has been fried so that its layers delicately separate and balloon out.)


    Here is a recipe for Tex Mex puffy tacos, which includes a picture verifying there is no similarity to Indian fry bread or tacos.

    Great question!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #25 - February 6th, 2006, 4:29 pm
    Post #25 - February 6th, 2006, 4:29 pm Post #25 - February 6th, 2006, 4:29 pm
    Indian Fry Bread was invented by people relegated to living on Government handouts of fat and flour. It's a reservation-era invention. Filling and full of calories, not necessarily healthy. That it's SOLD to non-Indians, especially in restaurants, is a great Indian cosmic joke. Trust me, Navajo people laugh about this.

    I'm a foodie, an anthropologist, and I lived on the Navajo reservation and in Flagstaff years ago. I still love fry bread and Navajo Tacos, I just like to buy 'em at pow wows.

    If I think of it, I'll dig out my recipe and post it this week.

    Diannie
  • Post #26 - June 1st, 2007, 9:04 pm
    Post #26 - June 1st, 2007, 9:04 pm Post #26 - June 1st, 2007, 9:04 pm
    LTH,

    Terrific Navajo Taco lunch today at the Anawim Center. Georgina was, once again, at the helm

    Georgina Fry Bread Cook Extraordinaire!
    Image

    With the able assistance of Jodie
    Image

    Lunch was terrific, fry bread even tastier than I remembered.
    Image

    The pleasure of lunching with Mhays, her husband Jason and Gypsy Boy was one of the better parts of my week.

    Jason, Gypsy Boy, Mhays
    Image

    Mhays engaged Georgina in an interesting conversation as to fry bread techniques and origins. We learned Georgina favors baking powder and her sister Dorthy, whose makes the dough for the Anawim Center Fry Bread Taco lunch, yeast. I should point out Mhays correctly called yeast in the dough where I disagreed. (Mhays-1, G Wiv-0 :) )

    Mhays
    Image

    We had a nice conversation with Nancy, a volunteer who assists with publicity. She gave us the details of the upcoming Pow Wow at the Dupage County Fairgrounds June 15-17.

    Nancy
    Image

    Georgina's son gave us a demonstration of his mom's secret kneading technique, short video may be found here. :)
    Image

    A very enjoyable lunch and an experience I highly recommend. The next Navajo Taco Lunch will be July 6 (first Friday of the month)

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Anawim Center
    4750 N. Sheridan Rd #255
    Chicago, IL 60640
    773-561-6155
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #27 - June 1st, 2007, 9:35 pm
    Post #27 - June 1st, 2007, 9:35 pm Post #27 - June 1st, 2007, 9:35 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Georgina's son gave us a demonstration of his mom's secret kneading technique, short video may be found here. :)
    Image


    Cool technique captured via video clip. Thanks for collecting this for posterity.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #28 - June 1st, 2007, 10:00 pm
    Post #28 - June 1st, 2007, 10:00 pm Post #28 - June 1st, 2007, 10:00 pm
    So mad at myself that I couldn't make it ...
  • Post #29 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:31 am
    Post #29 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:31 am Post #29 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:31 am
    It was a lot of fun - and the frybread is delicious - pretty much like a yeast doughnut without any sugar (which, I discovered, is why I don't like doughnuts because I love frybread)

    We did get into quite the history discussion, prompted by Diannie's earlier comment. According to Georgina (quite the font of historical knowledge) the frying part is what's relatively new to fry bread; wheat-based cakes called bannock or scones (pronounced with a short o) have apparently been part of the Ojibwa tradition pre-reservation - but her version of those cakes are baked with a little bacon grease on the tray. The baked cakes are also traditionally leavened with baking powder and not yeast - apparently they are served to the seniors at the Center for lunch sometime.

    The internet indicates some of my guesses were correct - wheatis an old world plant, imported here from Europe and originally from the Middle East. Along with the British word scone, the word bannock comes from Scotland. Apparently the earlier Native American cakes did exist, but were made with ground roots or corn.

    This is what I love about food: once people get together - for good or bad - their culinary traditions start mixing - and the results are delicious.
  • Post #30 - June 2nd, 2007, 1:47 pm
    Post #30 - June 2nd, 2007, 1:47 pm Post #30 - June 2nd, 2007, 1:47 pm
    Not to digress too far...this is the Eating Out thread after all...Alton has his nutritional Anthropologist, LTH will have to suffer with a Cultural Anthropologist...

    Anyway, when talking about Native American foods, it's important to remember that pre-contact America was home to many different cultural groups speaking about 500 different languages. Each group made use of plants native to their region and traded for other foods from different areas. The big three (Corn, Beans, and Squash) were staples of the Southwestern diet but were traded extensively throughout the Americas for example. Acorn flour was a Northeast food.

    The Spanish were on this continent pretty early and they brought foods back to Europe that occasionally circled around back to the Americas as if they were new introductions...Turkeys are an example of this.

    Farmed wheat made western civilization possible. It was first cultivated in the what is now Iraq...the valley formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Wheat came with Columbus on his first voyage and by 1592 was in cultivation all over Mexico. Maize (corn) went back with him but took a while to get established. There was even some terminology confusion as the word "corn" was used to mean another cereal crop.

    Anyway...back to Fry Bread. While it is a pan-Indian food today, it really grew from the great reservations in the west and Southwest (Sioux, Apache, and Navajo) established by the US Government in the mid-19th Century. The Government took away most peoples native lively hoods and substituted handouts of flour and fat. Hence foods built on those staples. Call it a riff on familiar foods but with newly available ingredients.

    I posted a typical Navajo fry bread recipe on the Shopping and Cooking thread.

    Stepping down off soapbox now.

    D.

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