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Oct 18, 2006 01:53 AM

native american sides with bison

I've aquired some bison and would like to have sides that would have been served up by the native americans.I don;t believe all native people had bison available anyway thanks

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  1. Wild rice studded with dried cranberries? I can't say that the preparation is the same but the foods are native.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JudiAU

      Rice is native to the America's???

      1. re: Eat_Nopal

        Wild rice and white rice are two differnet things. Wild rice is native to North America (canada esp.) and has been eaten since pre-historic times. Not sure whether they are related or if two separate species.

        1. re: bolivianita

          I stand humbled & corrected. It doesn't seem to be related to Rice proper but Wild Rice is absolutely the most common name.... I have eaten in a number of times & never realized it was a different species!

        1. Native people during what time period? The Mandan & Hidatsa people on the edge of the Great Plains planted corn as well as hunted buffalo, so you could could serve some sort of corn dish...a polenta-style corn mush, or an unleavened corncake, or even just some sauteed corn.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Squash, Acorn, Pinenuts, Mushrooms, and Berries were also common foods of Native peoples in what is now the U.S.

            In terms of what spice blends they used.... not at all sure.

            BTW, the biggest failur in U.S. Culinary history is not retaining Native American culinary tradition alive & well.

            Also, not sure if you are willing to do some research but I belive it was Thomas Jefferson who compiled a Native American cookbook.

          2. Are you interested in something that would have been eaten right after a successful hunt (using fresh meat), or in the depth of winter using dried meat, or maybe just dishes that are generally associated with the Native Americans (historically or now)?

            Bison hunting is most associated with the plains Indians, who did not grow much (except for the Mandan mentioned above). Unless a herd passed by an established village, the hunting party probably ate the choice parts that would spoil quickly, and prepared the rest for long term storage. They wouldn't have spent much time on 'side dishes'.

            One little book on Indian cooking that I have describes Assiniboin hot stone cooking. A buffalo hide is pegged over a hole in the ground, forming a kettle. It is filled with water, meat, and wild vegetables and greens, and then brought to a boil by means of hot stones. A more modern version (Sioux 'wahanpi') uses common stew vegetables. There is mention of some sort of wild turnip (Jerusalem artichokes?).

            The use of wild rice would have been limited to a few tribes in the Minnesota area, where the grass grows wild in the lakes. I think the overlap between the rice gathering areas and bison hunting land was small.

            Particularly for trail use, dried meat was mixed with dried berries and fat to make pemmican.

            One of the more popular items at contemporary Native American gatherings is fry bread, but I suspect that dates to the early reservations, using rations provided by the army (flour, lard, salt, etc).

            I suspect that tribes that grew and ate corn, beans, and squashes, depended more on deer (in the east), and mutton (in the SW), and smaller game for meat.


            7 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              Excellent info.... it sounds like Assiniboin hot stone cooking... is somewhat similar to Central Mexican Mixiotes... I wonder how much common lineage there is to Native foods throughout the Americas?

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                Quite a bit of common lineage, esp if you take the long view and consider how corn moved throughout North America from its generally accepted hearth of domestication in central Mexico.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Yup... but I wonder if domesticated corn spread beyond the Southwest? Also... it seemed like most of the MesoAmerican trading routes always went southward.... anybody know if of northward trade?

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Domesticated corn spread ALL OVER North America...the first European settlers encountered tribes all over the eastern woodlands who planted & tended cornfields/gardens. Long before that, the cultivation of corn supported the Hopewell (ca.300 BC--600 AD) & Mississippian Moundbuilding culture (ca. 900--1400), whose people created the largest & oldest earthworks on the continent...30,000 people lived at Cahokia (Illinois)in the 13th century, supported by corn, beans & squash. Archaeological evidence points to an extensive trade network that spanned the continent.

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      There probably wasn't much corn growing in the plains (where the buffalo roamed) except along some river valleys - again the semi-settled Mandan along the Missouri come to mind. Further west and north was too dry and cold. Many California tribes depended on acorn gathering, while closer to the Pacific, much of the economy centered around great salmon runs. I don't think corn and salmon ever went together.

                      Prior to the introduction of horses (by the Spanish) the natives had to hunt buffalo by stealth or by stampeading them over cliffs - there's a place in southern Alberta with a name like head-smashed-in buffalo jump.

                      Some of the tribes that adopted horses for hunting originally lived further east in the forests, but had been forced out on to the plains by white settlement.

                      The journals of Lewis and Clark could give some insight into the diet of tribes along their route. I believe they spent a winter with the Mandan. The expedition itself depended heavily on meat that they hunted - buffalo, deer, bear, elk (in Oregon).

                      Their main cooking tool was the dutch oven. So dutch oven and chuck wagon cooking books and web sites might also provide ideas for Western, if not preColumbian, cooking. Biscuits, beans, potatoes, meat, cobblers are all standards of chuck wagon cooking competitions.


                    2. re: Eat_Nopal

                      what goes down usually comes up....think of UPS trucks switching trailers in a Walmart parking lot.

                      Remember from kingdergarten class, Squanto showed the Pilgrims how to use a fish under each corn hill for fertilizer.

                      Corn, Beans, and Sqaush were considered a trinity in native American gardens. Beans grew up the corn stalks and squash covered the ground as a living much beneath.

                      Certainly, not many savory herbs available, but wild onions and garlic were commonly used as seasoning.

                      1. re: toodie jane

                        I am not so sure about that... about 5 years ago I visited a Yaqui mission in Sonora and was mesmerized by the flavor combinations... completely distinct to mainstream Mexico with tons of Basil, Mint & Anise... so in doing some research it seems there are dozens of Native forms of Basil & Mint throughout North America.

                        Anybody know if their Hopi cousins use similar flavor mixes? My guess is that a number of North American tribes excercised sophisticated use of savory herbs.

                        Check out the following Seed Vendor for Amaranth & Mayo Basil:


              2. Bannock is a bread commonly eaten by the natives..not hard to make and very authentic