I am Haudenosaunee, Upper Cayuga, Bear Clan. As such, I have an avid interest in Indigenous foodways. A graduate of the Culinary Management program at Durham College, this is me cooking to my roots.
Bannock- Let’s get this out of the way
Bannock is not a traditional Indigenous food.
Bannock is traditional to Scotland and was integrated into Indigenous cuisine when communities were no longer able to access their traditional growing and hunting territories. Known as the five white gifts, flour, sugar, lard, salt, and milk were provided to reserves by the Canadian Government to help replace the loss of traditional foods. These foods have had negative impacts on the health of Indigenous people, contributing to disproportionate rates of diabetes and heart disease within Indigenous populations.
I enjoy bannock, and its fried version known as ‘fry bread’, and have taught many people how to make it. I have incorporated it into some of my own cooking workshops, however, I am always careful to point out that it is not a traditional Indigenous food, but an excellent teaching tool to discuss issues around Indigenous food sovereignty.
My version of contemporary Indigenous cuisine
It’s really very simple… fresh ingredients that would have been available on Turtle Island (North America) prior to European contact. Incorporating the flavors of some traditionally plants and medicines into food for the purposes of health, wellness, and interesting flavor combinations.
Corn soup! Everybody believes that they make the best corn soup. Here is my offering.
This elk was made into pemmican with blueberries, and that was eventually made into a Metis dish called Rousseau, which is pemmican fried up with cubes of potato and diced onion. It was delicious.