Native American Cuisine
Indigenous peoples in what is now the contiguous United States are commonly called "American Indians", or just "Indians" domestically, but are also often referred to as "Native Americans".
Native American cuisine includes all food practices of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Information about Native American cuisine comes from a great variety of sources. Modern-day native peoples retain a rich body of traditional foods, some of which have become iconic of present-day Native American social gatherings (for example, frybread). Foods like cornbread, turkey, cranberry, blueberry, hominy and mush are known to have been adopted into the cuisine of the United States from Native American groups. In other cases, documents from the early periods of contact with European, African, and Asian peoples allow the recovery of food practices which passed out of popularity.
Modern-day Native American cuisine can cover as wide of range as the imagination of the chef that adopts this cuisine to present. The use of indigenous domesticated and wild food ingredients can represent Native American food and cuisine. North American Native Cuisine can differ somewhat from Southwestern and Mexican Cuisine in its simplicity and directness of flavor. The use of ramps, wild ginger, miners lettuce, juniper can impart a subtle flavour to the dish. Native American food is not a historic subject but one of living flavours and ideas. A chef preparing a Native American dish can adopt, create, alter as his imagination dictates. source: wikipedia
Native American cuisine of the United States
American Indians of the Eastern Woodlands planted what was known as the "Three Sisters": corn, beans, and squash. In addition, a number of other domesticated crops were popular during some time periods in the Eastern Woodlands, including a local version of quinoa, a variety of amaranth, sumpweed/marsh elder, little barley, maygrass, and sunflower.
- Fry bread is a dish made from ingredients distributed to Native Americans living on reservations.
- Bean bread, made with corn meal and beans; popular among the Cherokee
- Succotash, a trio of lima beans, tomatoes and corn
- Pemmican, a concentrated food consisting of dried pulverized meat, dried berries, and rendered fat
- Bird brain stew, from the Cree tribe
- Buffalo stew, from the Lakota also called Tanka-me-a-lo
- Acorn mush, from the Miwok people
Native American cuisine of Mesoamerica
The pre-conquest cuisine of the Native Americans of Mesoamerica made a major contribution to shaping modern-day Mexican cuisine. The cultures involved included the Aztec, Maya, Olmec, and many more (see the List of pre-Columbian civilizations).
Some known dishes
- Champurrado, a chocolate drink 
- Pejelagarto, a fish with an alligator-like head seasoned with the amashito chile and lime
Native American cuisine of South America
This currently includes recipes known from the Inca and Nazca of Peru.
- Grilled guinea pig, a native to most of the Andes region this small rodent has been culivated for at least 4000 years
- Fried green tomatoes, a nightshade relative native to Peru
- Saraiaka or Chicha, a corn liquor
- Ch'arki, a type of dried meat
- Humitas, similar to modern-day Tamales, a thick mixture of corn, herbs and onion, cooked in a corn-leaf wrapping. The name is modern, meaning bow-tie, because of the shape in which it's wrapped.
Crops and ingredients
Maize, beans and squash were known as the three sisters for their symbiotic relationship when grown together by the North American and Meso-American natives. If the South Americans had similar methods of what is known as companion planting it is lost to us today.
- Acorn - Used to make flour and fertilizers for the plants.
- Aspen - inner bark and sap (both used as sweetener)
- Beans - Throughout the Americas
- Box elder - inner bark (used as sweetener)
- Cactus (various species) - fruits
- Cassava - Primarily South America
- Century plant (a.k.a. mescal or agave) - crowns (tuberous base portion) and shoots
- Chile peppers (including bell peppers)
- Coca - South and Central America
- Datil - fruit and flowers
- Dropseed grasses (various varieties) - seeds
- Locust - blossoms and pods
- Maize - Throughout the Americas, probably domesticated in or near Mexico
- Mesquite - bean pods, flour/meal
- Pine (including western white pine and western yellow pine) - inner bark (used as sweetener) and nuts
- Pineapples - South America
- Potatoes - North and South America
- Quinoa - South America, Central America, and Eastern North America
- Rice - imported by Spanish
- Saguaro - fruits and seeds
- Shepherd's purse - leaves
- Squash - Throughout the Americas
- Sweet potato - South America
- White evening primrose - fruit
- Yucca - blossoms, fruit, and stalks
Hunted or livestock
- Antelope, Badger, Bear, Beaver, Bighorn sheep,
- Bison - Originally found throughout most of North America,
- Burro - from Europe, Cattle - important European import, Chipmunk, Deer, Dove, Duck, Elk, Geese, Ground hog, Grouse,
- Guanaco - Hunted in South America by hunter-gatherer societies, for ex. in Patagonia until the 19th century, Guinea pig - Domesticated in the Andes.
- Hog - important European import
- Horse - Although imported by Europeans, the horse was still very important to Native American cultures throughout the Americas (although famously on the North American Plains) in the historic era
- Llama - Domesticated in the Andes
- Moose, Mountain lion, Mourning dove, Mule, Opossum, Otter,
- Passenger Pigeon - extinct
- Peccaries, Porcupine, Prairie dog, Pronghorns (antelope), Quail, Rabbit, Sheep - important European import, Skunk, Sloth, Squirrel, Turkey, Turtle, Wood rat,
History of Salsa
The word salsa is the Spanish word for sauce. The salsas many of us think of are salsa frescas or salsa cruda, fresh sauces served as a condiment aside a Mexican meal. These uncooked sauces might be pureed until smooth, semi-chunky, or the uniformly chopped pico de gallo.
The Chile - Tomato Combo The making of a sauce by combining chiles, tomatoes and other ingredients like squash seeds and even beans has been documented back to the Aztec culture.
We have Spanish-born Bernadino de Sahagun to thank for the detailed culinary history of the Aztec culture. His extensive writings documented every food common to the culture. This is an excerpt from Sahagun's writings about the food vendors in the large Aztec markets: "He sells foods, sauces, hot sauces, fried [food], olla-cooked, juices, sauces of juices, shredded [food] with chile, with squash seeds, with tomatoes, with smoke chile, with hot chile, with yellow chile, with mild red chile sauce, yellow chile sauce, sauce of smoked chile, heated sauce, he sells toasted beans, cooked beans, mushroom sauce, sauce of small squash, sauce of large tomatoes, sauce of ordinary tomatoes, sauce of various kinds of sour herbs, avocado sauce".
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