What did they eat?

My knowledge of native American tribes and their customs was limited to what I saw in the movies. Inscrutable faces, masked further by paint, on rugged bodies that rode horses on narrow seemingly-impassable trails. Bows and poisoned arrows, spears and guns. A language that was barked, rather than spoken. The first humanization, so to speak, of native Americans came in the guise of Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves. This movie was very poignant and showed how close the Sioux were to the land they lived on. The overall message was much deeper and rather relevant to the Save our Planet impetus.

Last year when Medha started learning Colorado history, which included the lives of the ancient people or the Anasazi, I was transfixed. I would wait for her to come home and tell me what she had learned at school! Cliff dwellings, kivas, petroglyphs and pictographs, their art, their food, their animals and their pottery. Coiled pots got a new meaning!

I was a parent chaperone on a field trip to the Boulder History Museum and the CU Henderson Museum of Natural History. Having a van gives you an edge as you can transport up to 5 kids! That we got lost and I went to Boulder History Museum first instead of the CU Museum is another story. All the thank you notes that came back voted that adventure as the "most fun" part of the day!


This is an ancient pot in the Anthropology Section. Photography of the exhibits was not allowed but I was allowed to take pictures of the kids when they were being addressed by the museum personnel. The picture above is a crop from one of those pictures!


As the projects rolled in, Medha started doing research online and while helping her find information and pictures, I found an intriguing set of pictures of Mesa Verde National Park. I had hoped to make it there some time this year but the stars and the planets did not align well enough for that to happen. Instead, I made a new friend who is a reading specialist in New England and a world traveler.

We did, however, make a quick trip to Moab, Utah over Labor Day. There we saw a lot of petroglyphs in their original environs. Below are Ute petroglyphs that were carved into the rock between 1650 AD and 1850 AD. These are located at the base of the trail to the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Moab.


Reading, seeing, and researching led to lots of information about native Americans. But what did their food taste like? There are no restaurants that I have come across that serve native American food. I knew then that I would have to either befriend someone who preserves their culture, including food or cook it myself. I haven't had the good fortune when it comes to the former, so the latter it had to be.

So we made Mohegan Succotash, Pueblo Chicken and Ute Tortillas. Recipes coming up in my next posts.

For now, I have to head out as we have a Hallowe'en costume to build!

9 comments:

musical said...

That was such a nice post, Manisha (i am saying that for want of better words!)-really, i don't know much about the Native American food and culture. i am looking forward to the recipes. i know about succotash though-is Mohegan succotash same as the kinda that's popular in Philly, the one with lima beans, corn and cream etc?

bee said...

waiting for your recipes. this is one cuisine i'm really interested, esp after cisiting the anasazi myuseum at dolores and the monuments at mesa verde.

Nabeela said...

I loved the post Manisha. I'm fascinated by the Native America history too....btw, I have a Navajo Fry Bread recipe in my cookbook...does that qualify as a Native America food?

Dot said...

What a great post! I love reading your writing...and your mention of me was such a nice surprise! And a world traveler?? Only once...

Fry bread was big as we traveled through the Navajo nation that summer. I would love to know more about their foods/recipes, too, and will watch for your new additions. My grandmother used to make the best succotash using corn, cream and shell beans (red and white outer shells)...I can still taste it and she's been gone for over 30 years!

bindiya said...

Hey Manisha, let's get those recipes out fast, lovely post!

Anita said...

I am curious too to know more about what the Native Americans ate...looks really wholesome what you have there.

Manasi said...

Wonderful post! I am a zero on native American history... this post has me keen on the next one and recipes!!

Treehugger said...

Hi, Manisha, I have been following your lovely blog. Please visit my site. I just posted a recipe for corn, bean, squash casserole. After visiting the Etowah Indian Mounds here in Georgia.

Kind Regards,

Katherine
www.katherineskitchen.squarespace.com

Sumi said...

I Love ancient North American - Indian history, not to mention 'Dances with wolves', I have watched that movie 8 times and have become a kevin costner fan since then.Anyways If I remember correctly, I think you moved from Chicago right.Have u visited the natural history museum there, They have some great stuff on Indian histoy too.