Indigenous Restaurants and Recipes.
From coast to coast there are Indigenous restaurants appearing in larger cities. The Globe and Mail recently published an article about this growing cuisine (Mar. 29.17). Some of these restaurants add ingredients of contemporary western cooking to their dishes.
- In Toronto, Tea-N-Bannock at 1294 Gerrard Street, serves meals that attract a number of Indigenous city residents with modest means.
- The Ku-Kum restaurant is located at 581 Mount Pleasant Road, where you may order “pine needle and citrus sorbet.”
- Boralia, at 59 Ossington, provides a historical range of menus—traditional Aboriginal dishes and recipes of early settlers and immigrants of the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Nish Dish, a storefront marketeria and catering business, will open at 690 Bloor Street West on April 28th. It is owned and operated by Anishnabe First Nations members
- The Pow Wow Café is situated on Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market.
- Several Montreal soup kitchens and drop in centres are offering seal meat once a month, which for us Canadians living in the south, is now an expensive delicacy. One of these places is Chez Doris, a drop in day centre for women of whom about 15 per cent are Inuit. Every Friday she offers aboriginal meat: caribou, buffalo or venison.
- In Iqaluit, The Gallery restaurant offers local cuisine such as Arctic char and caribou.
- Online I found The Fish Depot of Newfoundland, which ships vacuum sealed seal flippers.
If you are curious to learn something about traditional native cooking, you will find the internet a good source of information. If, for example, you Google, “How do you fry deer meat?” you will, in a second, learn the Indigenous method. Inuit Country Food Recipes are an online collection of 28 examples of Inuit cooking.
Our interlibrary loan service supplied me with four delightful Indigenous cookbooks. A most appealing and artistic one is “Nishnabe Delights”, compiled by Mary Lou Fox, and illustrated with black, white and orange native art by Martin Panamick.
Here is its recipe for Roast Beaver:
1 beaver, skinned and cleaned
½ cup vinegar
1 tbsp. salt.
2 tsp. soda
1 medium onion, sliced
4 strips bacon or salt pork
½ tsp. salt
¼ t sp. pepper
Wash beaver thoroughly in salt water and let soak overnight. Add ½ cup vinegar and 1 tbsp. salt to water. The next day remove the beaver from the brine and wash. Place beaver in pot, add two quarts water and two tsp. soda to bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Drain. Then place beaver in a roasting pan. Cover with sliced onion and strips of bacon and season with salt and pepper. Place lid on pan and bake at 375 degrees until tender. Serve with a tart jelly. Serves 4.
Andrew George Jr. has written, “Modern Native Feasts”, and, “A Feast for All Seasons”, the latter with Robert Gairns.
Dolly and Annie Watts are the authors of, “Where People Feast”.
These four books are entertaining and interesting.
International cuisine has become well established in Canada, and now we have the opportunity to learn something of nature’s nutritious and tasty bounty that sustained the first peoples of this land.
A note Pikangikut
In the March article about the people of this reserve I unfortunately neglected to include the tragedy of the fire a year ago which took the lives of nine people. Now band chiefs are urgently calling on government to improve fire protection services on reservations.