Native American food refers to the food prepared by the indigenous American Indians who originally settled in United States and Canada. They were classified into different tribes and were spread across different regions. As their primary occupation was agriculture, hunting and gathering, their food was made from their plant produces and game anmals. The Native American food was simple with subtle flavors.
Native American Food - Common Ingredients
The common ingredients were different between the various regions occupied by the Native Americans. Maize, amaranth, quinoa, and barley were some of the grains used. Meat included cattle, deer, hog, turkey, duck, rabbit, and the meat from game. Pumpkin, acorn, mushroom, potato, tomato, beans, squash, cassava, sweet potato, and peppers were also commonly used. Berries such as cranberry, blueberry, raspberry, and wild berries were eaten raw and also used in cooking. Wild ginger, juniper, allspice, and ramps were used to enhance flavor in the food.
Different types of breads, stew, soup, vegetable and meat dishes served as the everyday Native American foods. These included cornbread, fry bread, chowder, popcorn, and salads. Many of these dishes and their cooking methods are now incorporated into the American cuisine.
Traditional and Festival Food
· Succotash – The Succotash is a dish made by stir frying corn and onions and adding cooked lima beans to it. Salt, pepper, and sage are added for flavor.
· Venison Acorn Stew – This is made by boiling venison and stirring in the tender meat with acorn meal, and then cooking both together.
· Calabacitas – The calabacitas is a dish made by cooking squash, corn, and tomato with pepper and garlic. It is then served with cheese.
· Mi’kmaq – A corn chowder made with bacon, potato, peppers, and onion.
· Fresh Corn Puddiing – This corn pudding is made from eggs, cornmeal, sugar, milk, and cheese.
· Acorn Griddle Cake – Acorn meal, egg, honey, and milk are combined together to make a batter. This is then poured onto a greased griddle and baked on each side.
Was the Native American Food Healthy?
Native American food supplies the essential nutrients to the people’s diet. Corn, which is the main crop, contains vitamin C, fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin K. Vitamin C enhances bone health and immunity. B vitamins help with energy production and distribution. The berries, which the people eat frequently, arefull of antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants promote cell health, and fiber aids with digestion. Berries are also known to be good for heart health. Beans, squash, tomato, potato and other vegetables are a rich source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Protein came from the various types of meat the people consumed. Thus, the use of these healthy ingredients made the Native American food very nutritious.