As promised, here are a few more recipes from my upcoming book, Riding The Storm. Truth be told, most Native American tribes didn’t use seasonings in their ancestral dishes, which I find interesting. Would the food taste bland? Since I grew up and still live in Oklahoma, I’m surrounded by great Mexican and Tex-Mex foods, which lean toward the spicy side.
Through my research, I discovered some of the Caddo secrets for making their dishes taste good. Believe it or not, one of the foods they used is persimmon fruit, fresh and ground. They pulverized the fruit into a flour for thickening stews, making breads, and cakes.
The Caddo, along with other tribes, also used Bear oil, which was incredibly long-lasting and had a sweet taste, and is their version of today’s butter or vegetable oil.
The Caddo made lots of stews out of the various meats found on the prairie or in the forest. They hunted deer, rabbit, elk, turkey, bear, and sometimes buffalo, although this was not prominent in their diet.
They would add various other ingredients, depending on the time of year or what they had stored in their underground storage pits. Some of the foods they added: Persimmon flour for thickening and sweetness, corn, beans, squash, and always salt.
SUNFLOWER SEED CAKES
Grandfather cooked this tasty treat for breakfast and one recipe usually makes about fifteen cakes.
3 cups shelled sunflower seeds
3 cups water
6 tablespoons fine cornmeal
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup bear oil
Simmer the seeds in the water for one hour. Drain and grind. Mix cornmeal and honey into the ground seeds, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a stiff dough. Shape into firm, flat cakes 3 inches in diameter. Brown the cakes in hot oil on both sides. Drain on paper and serve.
This is such an easy and versatile recipe that Grandfather baked with most everything, especially stews, soups, and even for a simple breakfast–very similar to Mexican tortillas. Make about 15 tortillas.
1 3/4 cups cornmeal
1 1/8 cups hot water
Mix together in a bowl until combined then knead until pliable and smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more cornmeal. If the dough begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough and let stand for 30 minutes. Divide dough into 15 balls and hand press each until flat. Place in preheated skillet and cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Do the same for the other side. Keep the bread covered until ready to serve.
Thanks for stopping by and let me know how you enjoyed the recipes!
A great website for more information about the Caddoan society and their wonderful history, go to http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/tejas/fundamentals/index.html