SPIRIT OF THE HARVEST (subtitled NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN COOKING” is another in-depth endeavor by cookbook co-authors Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs. This book was published in 1991 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Inc.
Explain the publishers, “In SPIRIT OF THE HARVEST authentic recipes, glorious photographs and an informative text present the distinctive cooking of North American Indians from coast to coast.
Before Columbus, before the Pilgrims, Native Americans used indigenous plants, seafood, and game in cooking traditions that are still very much alive. This carefully researched cookbook presents 150 authentic recipes from across the United States, incorporating many indigenous ingredients hailed today for their healthfulness and flavor—wild rice, corn, beans, sunflower seeds, venison, buffalo, fowl, and fish….”
SPIRIT OF THE HARVEST features traditional dishes from the Cherokee, Chippewa, Navajo, Sioux, Mohegan, Iroquois, Comanche, Hopi, Haida, and many other North American tribes.
In addition, the cookbook offers fifty full color photographs, beautifully presented by professional photographer Martin Jacobs.
The name Beverly Cox may be one you recognize. She is the author of thirteen cookbooks and she was culinary director, food editor and director of food styling for Cook’s Magazine. Her articles have appeared in the magazine FOOD & WINE as well.
Beverly Cox is the author of CLASSIC ITALIAN COKING, 365 GREAT 20 MINUTE RECIPES (published in 1995) BEST OF ICE CREAM, COOKING TECHNIQUES/HOW TO DO ANYTHING A RECIPE TELLS YOU TO DO (co authored with Joan Whitman), MINCEUR ITALIENNE, and, of course, the spectacular 1996 cookbook SPIRIT OF THE WEST which she co-authored with Jacobs. She is a fourth generation Wyoming rancher who grew up on a cattle ranch near Cheyenne. Her interest in the region’s traditional foods and history began in her childhood. Beverly studied cooking, however, in France where she earned a Grand Diploma from the Cordon Bleu in Paris (which explains the Italian influence cookbooks). After years of living in Connecticut, in 1991 Beverly and her husband, Gordon Black moved to her family’s Eagle Rock Ranch located in the Chalk Bluffs region of Northern Colorado.
Martin Jacobs is an award-winning photographer who specializes in food photography and has photographed many cookbooks including the books FOODS OF VIETNAM and SPIRIT OF THE WEST.
Recipes to look for in SPIRIT OF THE HARVEST? Traditional Native American beans and grains which range from Cherokee Pecan Sop to Corn Pones, from Black Or White Bean Cakes to Cherokee Huckleberry Honey Cakes. There are recipes for grape dumplings—made with Wild Opossum grapes (I hope my con cord grapes will make an acceptable substitute) to pumpkin soup.
(It may interest you to know that “Blue Dumplings, made from wild grapes, were a favorite dessert of the Five Civilized Tribes.)
“Wild Opossum grapes, “explains the author, “Also called Summer Grapes, grow in the woods along streams throughout the southeastern states. Indian cooks gather these small black grapes and use them to make pies, jelly, and of course, the Blue Dumplings.
These grapes are also dried on the stems for use in winter so that when they are needed, the dried grapes can be picked from the stems, boiled in water and crushed. The strained juice is thickened with cornmeal to make a kind of syrup for dumplings.”
Other recipes to look for might include Natchez Corn Fritters, Fried Tomato Pones (which can be made with either green or ripe tomatoes, Carrot Bread, Cherokee Brunswick Stew, Creek Blackberry Cobbler, Cherokee Corn Cob Jelly (I made Corn Cob Jelly about a year ago, using my son’s homegrown corn—it has a very delicate flavor and is fun to have guests guessing what it was made with). Choctaw Persimmon Pudding would be interesting to make when persimmons are in season (I used to have a friend who had a tree….sigh. Now I live too far away from her). You may want to try Hazelnut-Honey Baked Squash when acorn squash is in season, or Mohegan Succotash when fresh corn is readily available—the beans are frozen lima beans). Algonquian Maple Popcorn Balls would make a nice change from regular popcorn balls when Halloween parties are being planned, and there are many other recipes from which to choose.
SPIRIT OF THE HARVEST won both the IACP AND James Beard cookbook awards.
SPIRIT OF THE HARVEST provides a wealth of information about the North American Indian tribes, along with recipes and beautiful photographs. As an added bonus, a portion of royalties is being donated to the Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. and New York City.
SPIRIT OF THE HARVEST is available at Amazon.com, new $29.92 and qualifies for free super saver shipping; they also have 40 new copies from private vendors starting at $14.00 and 58 pre-owned copies starting at $5.98.
Alibris.com has copies starting at $5.98.
Happy cooking & Happier cookbook collecting!