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Native Cooking Column by Dale Carson

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For months now I have been feeling so guilty about my lack of knowledge regarding diabetes. I was afraid of learning about it because I stink at math, and I thought it was all figuring grams, carbs, fibers, etc.

Apparently, there is a new approach to the condition which has let me off the guilt hook a little bit. I understand that now if there are two people with diabetes who are the same height and weight, they might need two completely different diets to control it. Some people are told to cut back on fat and eat more carbohydrates and others will be told the exact opposite. Although it is a totally personal treatment regimen for each person with the condition, what you eat and what you don't eat, in other words - DIET, is everything. Of course, getting regular exercise and keeping yourself at a healthy weight along with eating right, keeps fats and blood sugar at steady levels.

Whew, knowing that, I will just continue to write recipes that I think taste good and want to share with you. You will be the best judge of what you can eat or not eat. Some foods will be simple, healthy and easy to fix and others are more complicated using butter or cream in some cases. I trust you have the knowledge to know yourself and what is best for YOU.

I read a piece about diet and diabetes that is very interesting and close to home. During a research project, it was found that the Pima who live in Mexico were seldom overweight and rarely developed diabetes. Their diet consists of much corn, beans, and fruit. The researchers found that it is quite common for the Pima of Arizona to develop diabetes by age 50. The Arizona Pima eat an Americanized diet that is high in fat and sugar.

Wild Rice & Dried Cranberries

This is a side dish which seems very elegant, well, it is, but with very simple ingredients. You may also use dried apricots, chopped up to make another pretty color. It tastes best at warm or room temperature.

1-1/2 cups rinsed wild rice
3 cups water
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 scallions, coarsely chopped
2 large pears, canned or fresh, diced
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Coarse salt

Bring the water to a boil with a little salt and add the wild rice. Lower the heat and cook for about 30 - 35 minutes. Drain the rice. Put the cranberries in a bowl, cover with wine. They need to plump.

Put the oil, vinegar, mustard and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and whisk.

Put the warm wild rice in a large bowl. Add the scallions, dressing, pears and cranberries, the soaking liquid and a little more salt. Toss everything lightly and put the pecans in just before serving.

Seasoned Tortilla Chips
4 flour tortillas
2 tablespoons of lime juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brush the tortillas with the lime juice on one side. Combine the chili powder, cumin and salt and mix well. Sprinkle this mix on the limed side of the tortillas and cut them in quarters or even smaller. Put them on a cookie sheet, chili-side up. Bake in oven for 8 - 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

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*If you want to turn this into nachos sprinkle some cheese on top and pop the chips back in the oven for a minute or two, until cheese melts.


6 corn tortillas, 8-inch
1-1/2 cups canned black beans, rinse and drain
3/4 cup salsa
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack, Cheddar and/or other cheese
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, sliced very thin
3 tablespoons of jalapeno peppers, sliced thin
1 small can of sliced black olives
Salsa and sour cream, optional

Cut the tortillas into wedges and place in a single layer on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to brown a bit. Or, you can cheat and use store bought chips.

Cook the black beans and salsa together over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Spoon this over the tortilla chips. Sprinkle cheeses and peppers over bean dip and chips. Sprinkle olives last. Bake in the 425 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve immediately with extra salsa and sour cream. Great appetizer.

Notes & Tips

oBe careful when handling hot peppers. They can burn your lips, eyes and skin. Wear latex gloves or plastic bags when handling. Wash hands well before touching your eyes or face.

oThe sex of things, according to e-mail:

Ziploc bags - Male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

Hourglass - Female, because over time, the weight shifts to the bottom.

Sponges - Female, because they are soft and squeezable and retain water.

Hammer - Male, because it hasn't evolved much over the last 5,000 years, but it's handy to have around.

oLaugh every day - it's like inner jogging.