This article is actually an interview with Nancy Plemmons, one of the original authors of “Cherokee Cooking: From the Mountains and the Gardens to the Table.” In this short piece, you get a quick introduction to a number of important ingredients and dishes within Cherokee cuisine, from sochan, ramps, bean dumplings, to the ubiquitous presence of pork in Cherokee cuisine, including hominy dishes. While there’s a lot to highlight from this piece, Nancy’s reply to the following question worth repeating:
“White settlers adopted so many ingredients and dishes from the people who were already living in these mountains, from poke sallet to cornbread. What’s a dish you’d still only find on a Cherokee table?
“Oh, maybe pig’s feet with hominy. We love hominy, because we love anything to do with corn. I love homemade hominy, but it’s an all-day thing to make in a big pot with hickory ash and nobody does it anymore. Once you’ve eaten homemade hominy, it’s hard to settle for canned.“
(Image is taken from Sapelo Island Birdhouses, which currently has Cherokee Cooking for sale through their site.)
“When you cook on fire like this, the pashofa tastes better than cooking on a stove.”
A short, wonderful video from Chickasaw TV’s online-series on traditional Chickasaw foods. This particular video focuses on the preparation of pashofa, a traditional Choctaw and Chickasaw dish of hominy and pork. This video highlights not only the basics for how to make pashofa, but also a much of the modern elements of sociality (community, for example) that surround this dish.
There are so many things I love about this short video, but what strikes the most personal chord is the large iron pot hoisted over an open fire–everything about this scene is reminiscent of the iconic image of stew pots in Southern communities that bring people together. For some of us, Brunswick stew could be in that iron pot; for others, perhaps a low country boil. Next time, though, maybe we should try pashofa.
Iron pot over an open fire, right before it boils.
This great guide provides a number of recipes for modern-day, New World dishes. (Link included in the text below)
While there is no primary hominy dish to be found in this guide (there is one dish that calls for the addition of hominy, if interested), it is, nonetheless, a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to add dishes more akin to those found in indigenous communities throughout the New World to their Thanksgiving (and even their everyday!) table. Thank you, Rancho Gordo!
This fantastic recipe from Rancho Gordo’s “New World Thanksgiving” is a great twist on the classic, 21st century, American popcorn snack. They suggest serving it as an appetizer, and I agree–while the crimson kernels are only a slight red/pink when popped, they still make for a beautiful contrast to the green oregano and white cheese (we used Romano). Delicious!
Note that this is not a nixtamalized maize dish, nor is it a hominy dish. Instead, popcorn has a different history from the nixtamalized hominy foodway showcased on this blog. However, many varieties of pop corn (or pops) are not only suitable for making hominy, but make fantastic hominy.
Crimson Popping Corn with Mexican Oregano (Appetizer)
- 3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil (used to pop)
- ½ cup Rancho Gordo Crimson popping corn (of course, another popcorn will do!)
- 2– 3 tablespoons butter (added after–can easily be subbed for non-dairy options, like olive oil)
- 2 teaspoons Rancho Gordo Mexican oregano, crushed with your hand
- Salt to taste
- Finely grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino romano (optional)
Directly from Rancho Gordo: “Have ready a large serving bowl. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the popcorn and cover the pot. Cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the popping has slowed down to 1 or 2 pops per second. This should take about 3 minutes. Carefully uncover the pot and transfer the popped corn to the serving bowl. (If you have a popcorn popper, use that instead!) In a small saucepan, warm the butter over low heat. Add the crushed oregano to the pan and swirl to incorporate. Drizzle the herb butter over the popcorn and mix gently with your hands. Add salt to taste, and finish with grated Parmesan cheese, if you like.”
This article was published in 2015 in the journal Native South. Drawing on numerous ethnohistoric sources from the Eastern Woodlands, I outline the materials, steps, and aspects of sociality that compose the general native historic hominy foodway of the Eastern Woodlands (just like the title says!). This piece was intended to be a “starter piece” for research on the hominy foodway, introducing the idea of a widespread practice of nixtamalization among historic Indian groups in the south, as well as highlighting similarities between seemingly disparate maize-based practices. In it, I also introduce the idea of that the driving force behind the historic practice of nixtamalizing practices in the native hominy foodway was not nutritional, but instead perpetuated by a culturally-constructed taste for bitter foods. It’s a theme that pops up over and over again in my work, and the idea of culturally constructed taste features prominently in my classes as well.