October 12, 2007

The Native culinary tradition

Good Enough to Eat:  Cooking up native traditionsDepending on what part of the Americas they hailed from, Native Americans might have enjoyed such cultivated crops as beans, corn, peppers, potatoes, squash and tomatoes. Combined with fish and game and supplemented by food that could be gathered--including avocados, berries, chocolate, mushrooms, nuts, roots, vanilla and wild rice--these foods formed the bases of cuisines. Like the French, the Italians and the Thais, American Indians had a well developed sense of what was good to eat.

Though modern American foods have found their way into the larder all over the world, it's been hard to find a comprehensive cookbook based on our native food traditions. That changed three years ago with the publication of "Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions" by Fernando and Marlene Divina and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (Ten Speed Press, 224 pages, $39.95).

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