One of the most emblematic foods of the First Nations in Canada is Bannock, a type of flatbread made with wheat flour, lard, baking powder and sugar. Versions of Bannock are found on both sides of the Atlantic, though the version in Canada may not be related to the Scottish version, and may predate it. Different Nations make their own versions and it is closely related to Fry Bread in the US. Check out this recipe from Eat Drink Breathe which has been adapted from Chef Andrew George Jr.’s book Modern Native Feasts. In the video below, Jean Cunningham from Alberta shows us how to make Cree Bannock.
Frybread (which is what is sounds like – a delicious fried, savory dough) is now a food associated with Native American culture and celebrations, and it had found its way into a number of popular dishes (especially in the Western US), most notably the “Navajo taco.” The Navajo taco is simply frybread topped with whatever taco toppings you like. You can find Navajo tacos throughout the west, and though they may seem like a novelty, they actually have a sad history. According to the Smithsonian:
Navajo frybread originated 144 years ago, when the United States forced Indians living in Arizona to make the 300-mile journey known as the “Long Walk” and relocate to New Mexico, onto land that couldn’t easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans. To prevent the indigenous populations from starving, the government gave them canned goods as well as white flour, processed sugar and lard—the makings of frybread.
Navajo tacos and frybread also remain somewhat controversial because although they have become a widely-accepted symbol of Native American pride, they are not particularly healthy (similar to most fried foods). If you are not lucky enough to live near a place that has Navajo tacos on the menu, you can find recipes for making your own with ingredients you probably already have on hand, or a more complex version with Osage hominy salsa.
We’re two Midwestern omnivores, L and M, who are trying to eat food from every country in the world (at restaurants in both the US and abroad). Eating the World is where we update our global restaurant and food adventures. We are based in Cleveland, Chicago and beyond.
To contact us for partnerships or just to say hi, email us at eating the world (at) gmail.com
Eating The World · We're two Midwestern omnivores, L and M, who are trying to eat food from every country in the world (at restaurants in both the US and abroad). Eating the World is where we update our global restaurant and food adventures. We are based in Cleveland, Chicago and beyond.