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Native Cooking Column by Dale Carson

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The other day I was feeling "under the weather." I had a cold or flu or something and my mother would have said "I feel punk." Where do those sayings come from? I tried to find their origins in some books I have, but nada. One of those old sayings, "feed a cold and starve a fever" seems to run true. I used to know why but I don't remember anymore. When you have any sickness it does make sense to drink lots of liquids that do not contain caffeine. Juice, teas, clear soups and good ol' water are the best things to take for keeping your body hydrated. It probably helps to clean out all the toxins which made you sick in the first place.

Seems like everyone I talk to has a comfort food for when they are sick. Chicken soup ranks right up there as a number one feel-better favorite. Tea with honey is next, followed by orange juice and vitamin C. When I was nauseous as a child my mother would bring me stale ginger ale and saltine crackers. It helped.

When you feel queasy it is good to avoid dairy products and fatty foods which are hard to digest. For the opposite problem of diarrhea, foods that are "binding" are often recommended. These would be bananas, breads and rice among other choices. Cranberry juice is great for urinary tract infections as well as water, water and then more water to dilute the urine. This will lessen the irritation to the urinary tract. Well, for most of winter's ills it makes sense to try to stay away from caffeine, chocolate, spicy food, alcohol and sugary drinks.

Chicken Broth
1 whole chicken, about 3-4 pounds fresh as possible and washed
2 onions, quartered
3 ribs of celery
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf (optional)
2 carrots, sliced

Put all in a large soup pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the chicken, set aside and cool. Skim off as much fat as you want to and strain the rest for bones.

Now you have the broth. De-bone the chicken once it is cooled. Use about one cup of the meat, cut up and add to broth. Now you have choices add either noodles or rice to complete your soup. Simmer until noodles or rice are done.

Winter Soup

This soup contains four different types of onion - yellow onion, leek, shallot and garlic. The onion in its many forms is one of the oldest foods in civilization, and is widely used in the cooking of many indigenous cultures around the globe.

Scallions are among the most nutritious onions, with three times the vitamin C and almost five thousand times the vitamin A of other onions. The green tops contain beta carotene, among other nutrients, so eat the green portion as well as the small bulb end to take full advantage.

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups cooked, chopped carrots
1 large onion, chopped
3 potatoes, sliced or diced
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup leeks, white & pale green parts only, sliced thin
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh dillweed sprigs

Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the next eight ingredients and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about five minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer all in the stock for fifteen minutes. Remove bay leaf and transfer vegetables to the bowl of a food mill or food processor and puree. Return puree to pot and mix with chicken stock. Stir in cream. Allow soup to heat to a simmer, then ladle into bowls and garnish with sprigs of dill. Serve hot. Serves 8-10.

This week I made a simple vegetable soup which turned out quite unusual. It was chicken broth, leftover potatoes, onions, celery and a can of tomatoes, plus a little yellow hominy, also leftover. My husband said, "this isn't hot enough; let me try a little salsa in it!" He thought it was from heaven.

Sweet Potato Side

This recipe contains four Native ingredients and one that isn't. It is delicious by itself; however, it makes nice company for any pork, ham or chicken dish.

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/2-inch thick
1 firm type apple, chopped
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons fine chopped hazelnuts

Heat the apple juice in a large skillet as you add the sweet potatoes to the pan evenly. Cook covered for 15 minutes, then stir in apple, cranberries, and maple syrup, plus a dash of salt. Cover again and cook until the apple is soft. Uncover and boil gently for a few minutes until the liquid is syrupy. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle with the hazelnuts. Serves 4.

Notes & Tips

*Sometimes it pays to make deliberate leftovers. Potatoes, rice, noodles, other pasta and beans of all sorts make great leftovers, or maybe more correctly, next-meal starters.

*Printed Wisdom

A woman marries a man expecting him to change; he doesn't.

A man marries a woman expecting her not to change; she does.

Pierre, South Dakota, is the only example of a state and capital in the U.S. that does not share any letters.

In February 1865, there was no full moon. Why was that?

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

When a clock is hungry, he goes back four seconds.