From Publishers Weekly
From potted smoked salmon of the Pacific Northwest to Peruvian ceviche, Brazilian cozido and Hawaiian poke, this book tries to cover over 3,000 miles of indigenous food traditions. But while the geographical scope of the book makes it fascinating to browse, it also limits readers ability to actually cook several of the recipes without extensive use of mail-ordered ingredients: where fresh cattails are available for Cattail Cakes, limu kohu (a popular Hawaiian seaweed used in Poke Aku) will likely not be. And a wild food guide would be essential to recreate many of the recipes that require foraging for ingredients. Occasionally, helpful substitutions are provided: fennel seed instead of licorice fern in Venison with Juniper and Wild Huckleberry Sauce or rosemary rather than pine needles for Coos-Style Grilled Squab. A few delicious berry and fruit recipes (Fresh Berry Leather, Raw Fresh Berry Jam, Huckleberry Sorbet, Wild Grape Dumplings, etc.) provide multiple substitutions for local berries and are simple to prepare. And though they took three times the water listed in the recipe to make, Wild Mustard Seed and Allium Crackers are quick, spicy and addictive. A long essay, "Reservation Foods," by George P. Horse Capture illuminates the adaptability of traditional cuisines to modern kitchens: his memories of childhood favorites include both scrambled powdered eggs and lard rolled in pemmican. Many of the books other essays focus on individual foodsmaple syrup, corn, berriesbut are too short to provide more than a glimpse of modern culture. But for all its flaws, this book serves as a fine introduction to a much larger project: the influence of native cooking on the modern culinary traditions.
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Native American indigenous foods are only rarely celebrated by present-day Americans. Thanks to some thoughtful work by the Divinas, there is now a comprehensive cookbook covering the full range of native cuisine from all the diverse original inhabitants of the Americas. The Divinas offer recipes not just from North American Plains tribes but also from the peoples of Mexico, South America, the Arctic, and even Hawaii. Three different recipes for preparing rabbit illustrate the differences among the Native American cultures: one from Colombia braises the legs and thighs in coconut milk, a Great Basin version uses herbs and peppers, and a Peruvian-style employs garlic and ginger. Rabbit may be easily obtained in many markets, but recipes calling for wild boar or wild goose may be more difficult to reproduce. As befits the region's reputation for sophisticated cooking, the book's most complex dish involves stewing pork in a green mole sauce typical of Oaxaca. This treatise will be a boon for teens studying Native American cultures as well as for anyone curious about this land's first foods. Mark KnoblauchCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved