Browsing large magazine sections in stores can be fun, especially the covers of food magazines. The photographs are always spectacular, which makes me gravitate toward certain ones and realize why the price of the publication is so high.
I’ve often been so infatuated by the food image on the cover, I’ve bought the same magazine twice, forgetting I already had it. I’m a sucker for red, my favorite color, so a picture with tomatoes gets me every time. Another teaser is a picture of fresh baked bread or rolls—I can imagine how it smells baking.
Every cultural area in Indian country, if not every tribal nation, has breads that are unique to them. Then, there are other breads that are made by all, like corn bread or fry bread, but that may have variations. Many breads are used as a vehicle to put foods on or in, a tortilla for example. Many breads take the name of their major flavor ingredient, pumpkin, apple, molasses, wild rice, walnut, cranberry, lemon, blueberry, and on and on. Here are a couple to get us ready for summer, which is just around the corner.
½ cup real butter, softened
¾ cup maple sugar
2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal, white or yellow
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Milk - enough to form a stiff batter
1 heaping cup of strawberries, wild or commercial
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread ingredients in a greased 8- or 9-inch baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool then serve warm.
To vary, mix together 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle on top before baking.
This fruit bread has apricots and cranberries similar to the recipe presented here.
1 cup dried cranberries (crasins)
1 cup dried apricots
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup boiling water
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cover the apricots with boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, add eggs and apricots and blend. Now add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well and fold in nuts. Pour into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until done.
To vary this bread, use chopped dates or fresh peach pieces and some pine nuts.
Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: “New Native American Cooking,” “Native New England Cooking” and “A Dreamcatcher Book.” She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.