What’s The Next Culinary Trend To Watch Out For? Read This

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What’s The Next Culinary Trend To Watch Out For? Read This

Americans love cheeseburger, tacos, hotdogs, French fries, and anything grilled or smoked like ribs, steak and meat. Every American home surely has a grill or smoker such as those reviewed here at https://smokeysteakranch.com/. These are classic American foods that everyone loves.

But aside from feasting on our own homegrown menu, a lot of us crave for international cuisines that originate from other parts of the globe. Look around and you’ll surely find lots of Japanese, Korean and other Asian restaurants. You won’t also run out of Italian and other European restos. And there are also others who love food establishments offering a taste of South America.

But there’s one sad reality, only very few patronize our very own Native American dishes. In fact, restaurants that specialize in American Indian menu are a rarity.

While the Native American cooking has all the makings of a culinary trend, it seems limited by people’s unfamiliarity to this menu and its rich history. So, in this post we’ll see how the menu of the first inhabitants of the New World looked like.

What was the staple food of the Native American tribes?

Maize or Indian corn is considered the most important food crop of the Native Americans. There were farming tribes that cultivated this corn. Other crops that were common in their menu included squash, beans, wild rice, pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet tomatoes, papayas, avocados, and peanuts.

But aside from these crops, Native American diet was very meat-heavy. The feasted on games like deer, rabbit, buffalo, elk, and caribou as well as ducks, turkeys, geese and other birds; fish like salmon and even whales. Almost any animal that can be hunted can be included into the menu.

What was Native American menu like?

Native American menu was simple. They had not much spices on their food and often feasted on fresh bounty. Meat was usually grilled on stones or roasted on fire. Fish was either smoked or baked. They didn’t have the luxury of modern gas smokers like those at Smokey Steak Ranch, so they used whatever was available. They also enjoyed stews and soups that comprised of their harvest. Corn was eaten in several ways, such as tortillas, popcorn, corn-on-the-cob, and hominy. Later on, they learned how to make corn bread.

For dessert, the Native Americans ate maple candy, fresh fruits, and fruit puddings. They also learned how to make hot chocolate beverage and some tribes developed chicha, which is an alcoholic beverage based on corn.

What changed in the Native American menu through the years?

When the Europeans came, new animals, spices and plant varieties were introduced into the Native America diet. Wheat, cows, sheep and banana were added into their menu. New crops were also introduced to the traditional crops, giving way to new dishes. Cooking techniques were also introduced.

The widespread hunting and deforestation of the new settlers forced some tribes to change their traditional lifestyles and that included their eating regimen. There were also tribes that moved to reservations far from where they originated and detached from their traditional agriculture. This has resulted in a major change in the way Native American tribes ate.

Modernization has also caught up with the tribal life which soon resulted in the gradual change in many traditional Native American food preparation and recipes. Today, there are only very few Native American menus and dishes that we come to know. Many have been lost through the years and the time is ripe for it to be given the center-stage.

There have been attempts to rediscover and reinvent the Native American cuisine but for it to flourish, we need to embrace and patronize it!

How Native American Indians Used to Smoke Meat To Prepare A Nice And Juicy Meal

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How Native American Indians Used to Smoke Meat To Prepare A Nice And Juicy Meal

How foods were prepared in the past is something that is very intriguing to today’s society. The reason for this is that it’s often hard to imagine how we have grown into such a technologically advanced culture, one where not having a stove is uncommon, and grills are often made to look fancy rather than to be as practical as they could and should be. As a result, it’s nice, every once in a while to look back at the ways in which the Native American Indians prepared their meals and perhaps even try out some of these tricks as a reflection of how things once were and of course, to get a taste of the great flavours that they had during their times.

There are many different ways that Native American Indians used to prepare their meats. These include roasting them over a hot, open fire, grilling them on hot stones, as well as smoking them.

When it comes to smoking meat, this is something that leaves the meat with a decadent texture and of course, an incredibly rich flavour.

How Smoking the Meat Was Done

tasty smoked meatTypically, when smoking meat, the Native American Indians would cut the meat into strips and place it on a rack where it would be hung and then later smoked. This would not only give the meat a great flavour, but it was a great way of preserving the meat. Once the meat had been smoked, it wasn’t uncommon for it to stay good for quite some time and thus this was a tactic that was employed when storage of the meat was necessary. Unlike many meats that develop a dry texture when hung, the smoke enabled the meat to remain juicy rather than becoming too dry.

The fires that were used to smoke the meat were not generally large. Upon the coal, wood was laid in order to keep the fire going and produce light fumes that would both preserve and add flavour to the meats. This wasn’t typically a job for the elders. Instead, the younger Native American Indians were the ones assigned to watching the smoke, ensuring that it stays at just the right amount throughout the process and feeding more wood when necessary. In contrast, nowadays people simply get a good smoker and smoke their meat with a click of a button.

What is also interesting to note about the Native American Indian culture in relation to cooking, is that back then, wasting any part of the animal they were preparing was not an option. In accordance with this, parts like the eyes and the tongue that would be easily discarded in today’s society were not seen as trash to the Native American Indians back then.

Smoking meat was not only a delicious way to prepare a meal, but it was also a necessary one. The fact that this measure would allow the meats to stay edible for a longer period of time, meant that none of their preciously hunted food would go to waste and also that their food storage wouldn’t be limited during the harsher months of the year.

Food Habits of Native Americans

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Food Habits of Native Americans

I had taken part in a wilderness camp organized by our neighborhood club. There were twenty of us and we had a whale of time living in complete wilderness with no connection to the urban world. Since the area we camped in didn’t have proper network connection our mobiles were useless.

While some of us had a difficult time adjusting to the lack of contact with outer world, I found it an exciting experience. Four whole days without a cell phone ringing was pure bliss.  We had prepared our own food and even did some hunting with the special hunting tools we had taken with us. While we were eating the prepared food, we started to talk about the sort of food that American Indians had made.

While the food habits vary from tribe to tribe, Native Americans relied on agriculture for their food. Some tribes used to stay in a single place all through the year farming their land, while others were more nomadically inclined and moved from one place to other periodically. The shifting depended on the hunting opportunities and food availability. This as a result influenced their food habits largely.

hawk-predator

The Native Americans used five basic methods to find food:

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Gathering
  • Farming
  • Raising domesticated animals

While hunting, gathering and fishing were more common, domesticated animals were grown prevalently only after the European colonization. Before that only dog, ducks and turkeys were raised and most Native Americans didn’t consume dog meat. In some parts of South America, the natives raised guinea pigs and llamas for their food.

Diversified diet

Most often, the natives used two or three of all these methods to make the food varied and nutritious. For fresh meat, they did fishing and hunting. They used many sharp and well-designed hunting tools. The tactical hunting knives present now are an advanced form of the knives used by the Native Americans.

Hunting big game

They hunted big game mostly and followed caribou or bison herds to meet their food needs. Of the various hunting tribes, the Sioux and Blackfoot are the most popular. The teams worked in tandem to ambush big animals into the manmade pit or over a cliff. Some also used controlled fires or fences to prevent the escape of the animals.

In the Creek or Chippewa tribes, the hunters stalk rabbits, deer or other small game by setting traps or snares to catch them.

Fishing

In tribes where fishing is the predominant food source, the anglers would catch fish or hunt the marine mammals in canoes. Fishnets and sometimes, wooden traps were used to catch the game. Salish and Tlingit tribes in the Northwest region used fishing as the main occupation. The weapons varied according to the tribes, but the commonly used weapons include spears, bows and arrows, harpoons, blowguns and fish hooks.

They also used advanced agricultural methods to increase their food production and the methods include many modern techniques in use now including crop rotation, irrigation, planting windbreaks and terracing.

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America Before Europeans