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One of the Shattuck sisters, of Isleta (NM) Pueblo floats out of a book, sampling with pleasure her own bowl of bean stew. Photographed by Marcia Keegan for her Southwest Indian Cookbook, below.

NUTRITION TABLES CONTEST: Win fame (among those who like to eat good and hence consult this page for fine Native food sources) by making a Netscape-table-formatted table that compares the nutritional values of 2 food items: One traditional (the 3 sisters -- corn, beans, squash, for example) to various tribal cultures, the other, other. We'll use Fatfree's on-line USDA nutrients analysis database -- but those tables are unformatted, and don't provide for ready comparison. Here's MAPLE SUGAR compared to white sugar and honey. Not so easy to compare them like that, is it? So the contest is to make one table, Netscape formatted (which you email me for posting here) that makes the comparisons as clear as you can design. See contest rules for info. The Special Grand Prize (attention Plains tribal enterprises) will be a table comparing buffalo to beef. Buffalo isn't in the USDA database of 5,000 items, though it is in a much larger one the USDA sells on CDROM. So you must find one for the comparison-- a useful marketing tool for tribal enterprises that sell buffalo meat. Warm up on deer meat vs. beef. . . . What, you can't find it in the database? That's because they call it venison.

Click Book Title for more info, and to order. Return here with BACK or GO key

Southwest Indian Cookbook : Pueblo amp;& Navajo Images, Quotes, & Recipes; Marcia Keegan;

  • Illustrated with many gorgeous and human-interest photos of Marcia's many pueblo friends. As well as interesting (and practical) southwestern recipes from these friends, there is a "taste of culture" in the poetry of traditional chants, interviews with Native people (including a couple of men) talking about the spiritual meanings of food, and descriptions from women of gathering methods. Keegan is the author of another beautifully-photographed book, about Taos Pueblo's long struggle to regain its sacred Blue Lake, taken without compensation in the early 1900's. She is thoroughly involved in the lives and important issues of the Indian people of New Mexico-Arizona. Some of her recipes should have been edited with a cook's eye. Marcia sometimes omits an ingredient, or gives unclear directions, but this is rare. Highly recommended "taste of culture" cookbook,

Hopi Cookery ; Juanita Tiger Kavena (she married into the Hopi people and has made a real study of traditional Hopi cooking-to-please);

Enduring Harvests: Native American Foods and Festivals for Every Season ; E. Barrie Kavasch (Cherokee and Creek descent);

  • Enduring Harvests celebrates the eclectic pageantry of original Native cuisines with all of their modern complements and enthusiasms. Beginning with the harvest season in September, it proceeds month by month throughout the year, exploring Native American events and foods, people and prayers, within their changing seasonal flow, visiting various tribes and regional landmarks all through Indian Country. Many types of Native American festival foods are suitable for cooking in massive amounts to feed huge crowds. Other more traditional Native celebration foods feed families and friends at home. Still others are found only in specific tribal settings and are not often available. Enduring Harvests draws from each of these sources, to share 150 recipes and profile 75 major events throughout Indian Country, from the Peruvian Andes, across North America, to the Arctic Circle, moving through Native moon times and seasons and often following the Powwow Highway.

Native Harvests: Recipes & Botanicals of the American Indian ; E. Barrie Kavasch (Cherokee and Creek descent)

  • Can't really review this now, because I don't have it any more. Came out more than 20 years ago, and mightily impressed me at the time. I suspect I would now find the ethnobotany shallow, but her recipes were pretty good. Still, those seem more extensive and better done in the newer "Enduring Harvests."

Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking ; Beverly Cox, Martin Jacobs;

  • his gorgeous cookbook is good reading as well as promoting good eating. The author includes some personal details from the native women who shared their recipes, almost all of which are practical for city-dwellers with modern kitchens. Some are quite concerend with health, and explain about salt reduction and such. Color photos show how dishes and meals should look. For many of the foods snippets of cultural information (and misinformation) are provided. You won't find any commodities recipes here, nor does "culture" include any of the problems tribal peoples have had with keeping their land or with pollution affecting the small remaining landbases, getting arrested for hunting-fishing-gathering, etc. This is a classy suburban cocktail-table type cookbook, despite the fact its recipes (mostly) work (if you can get the ingredients).

Native Indian Wild Game, Fish, and Wild Foods Cookbook: New revised and expanded edition (Cooking) ; Lovesick Lake Native Women's Assocation;

  • Read this essay by two First Nations women about the Lovesick Lake Ladies Wild Game Cookbook (it has financed a camp for their young people-in-trouble, and preparing it united them politically -- plus the recipes are great and authentic Indian women did it all).

Pueblo Indian Cookbook: Recipes from the Pueblos of the American Southwest ; Phyllis Hughes;

American Indian Food and Lore : 150 Authentic Recipes ; Carolyn Neithammer;

A Native American Feast ; Lucille Recht Penner;

Food and Recipes of the Native Americans (Cooking Throughout American History) ; George Erdosh;

Heard in the Kitchen: The Heard Museum Guild Cookbook ;

  • Heard Museum of Phoenix, AZ, has a prestigious Indian art-crafts collection, and probably does some entertaining (or its rich board members do). Though this was pulled from's database by "'(native american) cookbook" it's described as "southwest". It may have some nice illustrations of artwork from the museum collection

Mark Miller's Indian Market Cookbook ; Mark Charles Miller, et al;

  • This is a coffee table cookbook, and not a practical kitchen cookbook. Miller's designer increased the cost of this oversized, akward thing by using 4 process colors on every page, but there are almost no photos of finished foods, which often require complex presentations. Most of Miller's ingredients are unobtainable in most areas of the country (he uses a vast variety of chiles, and a lot of special corn products). Sauce quantities turn out quarts or gallons -- fine for a restaurant, not for a home -- and not actually enough to feed a large dinner party. Some recipes are given with lists of ingredients certain ones of which just never make it into the food. It contains no significant cultural info, instead there are made up fables about the Coyote Cafe itself. Real Cooks: Save your money. Send out for pizza. Maybe if you live in Santa Fe, you'll appreciate the long dictionary of pepper types, and pose this book on the coffee table to impress visitors.

Pemmican by Vardis Fisher,
The Old-Fashioned Dutch Oven Cookbook ; Authentic Sourdough, Baking, Smoking Fish and Game, Making Jerky, Pemmican, and Other Lost Campfire Arts. Don Holm:


It Will Live Forever: Traditional Yosemite Indian Acorn Preparation ; Beverly R. Ortiz, et al;

Wild Rice and the Ojibway People ; Thomas Jr. Vennum;

The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering (We Are Still Here : Native Americans Today) ; Gordon Regguinti, Dale Kakkak (Photographer);

Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition (We Are Still Here) ; Sally M. Hunter, Joe Allen (Illustrator);

Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition (We Are Still Here) Russell M. Peters, photos by John Madama, foreword by Michael Dorris,

Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking (We Are Still Here) >; Laura Waterman Wittstock, Dale Kakkak (Photographer);

People of Salmon and Cedar ; Ron Hirschi, Deborah Cooper (Illustrator);

The Return of the Buffaloes: A Plains Indian Story about Famine and Renewal of the Earth ; Paul Goble;

Earth Medicine, Earth Food ; Michael A. Weiner,

  • Emphasis is on medicines rather than foods. Book is organized by condition or problem, listing herbal remedies of various tribes for each.How they were prepared (very sparse) and methods of identification (sketches, not always clear). Last section of the book is more interesting, the plants shown and told about there are usable today. Plants indexed by common and botanical names, and by "remedies" which no one should try to use. No Indian names. Seems shallow and simplistic. See longer review I wrote on

Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples (Royal BC Museum Handbook) ; Nancy J. Turner;

American Indian Foods: A True Book ; Jay Miller;

All books on Native American food available at

SPECIAL ORDERS (take up to a month)

Food and Spirits ; Beth Brant (Bay of Quinte, Canada, Mohawk);

Insects As Food: Aboriginal Entomophagy in the Great Basin (Ballena Press Anthropological Papers) ; Mark Q. Sutton;

    If I had the money, I'd probably special-order this just to get some city cockroach and worm recipes for my next hateful-people obligatory dinner party. I don't give parties like that any more, though.

Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples: Nutrition, Botany and Use (Food and Nutrition in History and Anthropology) ; Harriet V. Kuhnlein, Nancy J. Turner;

    This outrageously-priced book comes from research (mostly compiled from other people's writings) funded by the Canadian government. The anthros who wrote it on government tick have the nerve to say they know First Nations Reserve people are quite poor -- so here's some info that can help them eat better. Yah, poor reserve residents gonna buy a $90 book, sure. Turner, BTW is an anthro who thinks kinikinnik and tobacco are "narcotics" when BC Indians smoke 'em, anyway. Look out! Here they come again. . . . See Review

Tepee Cookery: Or Lets Chew the Fat Indian Style : A Cookbook ; Gwen Fisher;

The Good Land: Native American and Early Colonial Food ; Patricia B. Mitchell;

Gifts of the Earth: American Indian Cookbook ; Juli S. Trapp;

American Indian Food: Sixty-One Indian Recipes ; Imogene Dawson;

The Material Culture of the Chumash Interaction Sphere, Volume II : Food Preparation and Shelter ; Travis Hudson;

Rivers of Change: Essays on Early Agriculture in Eastern North America ; Bruce D. Smith, et al;

HARD-TO FIND: searches take long, will be expensive

Handbook of Indian Foods and Fibers of Arid America ; Walter Ebeling;

Black Drink: A Native American Tea ; Charles Hudson;

Gathering What the Great Nature Provided: Food Traditions of the Gitksan ;

    Gitskan and Wet'suweten went to ta 3-year trial for land in British Columbia, the land as food storehouse being a central issue. Read a review of the best legal book I've ever seen with a Native writer and a cartoonist hitting the highlights of COLONIALISM ON TRIAL in talented tandem.

American Indian Food and Lore : 150 Authentic Recipes ; Carolyn J. Niethammer;

The Art of American Indian Cooking ; J. Kimball;

Cooking With Spirit: North American Indian Food and Fact ; Darcy Williamson, Lisa Railsback;

Earthmakers Lodge: Native American Folklore, Activities, & Foods ;

An Ethnobiology Source Book: the uses of plants and animals by American Indians ; Richard I. Ford (Editor);

Native Harvests: Recipes & Botanicals of the American Indian ; Barrie Kavasch;

Southwestern Cookery; Indian and Spanish Influences (Cookery Americana) ; Louis Szathmary;

Native American Cookbook ; Edna Henry;

Traditional Stories and Foods: An American Indian Remembers : A Folkloric Cookbook ; Joan Leslie. Woodruff;

Here's a bonus for you folks who scrolled all down past hard-to-find expensive (mostly not worth anything) books. In my Traditional native Foods, Health, and Nutrition web section, I have a good-sized collection of Indian recipes centered on the traditional foods that the Nutritional Tables Contest is about-- by Native women (including me, I give up a secret one for a wild rice casserole) and 5 Native men. HERE's the RECIPES index page.

Text and graphics copyright © 1997 Paula Giese

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Last updated: 6/11/97