We all have our traditional, comfort food go-to, be it salmon, or caribou, berries or soups.
On the Nov. 18 episode of InFocus with Host Melissa Ridgen, we take you on a gastronomical tour of favorites from around North America to learn and inspire.
Many of these regional foods, you can make in your own region – either old school or with a new twist.
And many of the foods you might have thought settlers brought, you might be surprised to learn have been cultivated on this continent for millennia.
“People tend not to know that if it weren’t for native agriculturists of the past, we wouldn’t have things like spaghetti sauce and we wouldn’t get to enjoy our mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day,” says Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Tomatoes – Indigenous. Potatoes – also Indigenous.
“Indigenous crops from the Americas provide now about 60 per cent of the cash crops worldwide, so in a real sense, Native agrarians feed the world,” Gover said.
Winnipeg’s Feast Cafe and Bistro’s Steven Spencer and Michael Fosseneuve-Urbanski created dishes exclusively for APTN InFocus and walked us through step-by-step. Our Sisters is a pickerel dish – but could be made with any white fish – and pays tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous woman and girls. Little Bison could be made with any game.
You can find those recipes here on our website along with Regina’s Sioux Chef Catering’s Dickie Yuzicapi’s mac and cheese dish – which pairs well with any game you have kicking around the freezer.
“Traditional foods to me — the wild game: elk, moose, deer, buffalo — slow roasted over a long period of time until it falls apart, you tear it up and put it on top of a piece of bread or bannock or fry bread – that’s soul food,” said Yuzicapi.
The pandemic has put a damper on catering business but he’s looking ahead to Christmas and the Indigenous gingerbread cookies he’s been making for 20 years, and expanding that customer base.