Every month I try to have some sort of month long focus on different aspects of Native cooking from here in the New World. This month it is a focus on Abenaki food, and in modern times, one cannot mention food and the Abenaki people without mentioning food writer Dale Carson, who is a member of the Abenaki Nation, Republic of Missisquoi. She has not only authored books on Native cuisine, she is also the principle food writer and editor of the online Native newspaper Indian Country Today. In her landmark, and important cookbook Native New England Cooking, she lists and elaborate mid-18th century Thanksgiving menu. Among the various mash ups, such as the traditional mashed potatoes, she lists Mashed Butternut and Turnips. I happened to have a butternut that needed using, so I got some turnips and did a mixed mash to go with a southern meal that I was making, that also included the native Fried Green Tomatoes, along with some recipes from the late, great Mr. Buster Holmes of New Orleans: his Pork Chop Casserole (one of my all time favorites!) and his Tangy Salad Dressing (a tomato base) to slather on a green salad. If you are interested in Ms. Carson's writing, check out her her latest entries over at Indian Country.
|Ms. Dale Carson|
Mashed Butternut And Turnips
1 Butternut squash, split, seeded* and peeled
2 Turnips, peeled
1 tsp sugar (or native sweeteners, like Maple or Honey)
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. powdered allspice
Fresh black pepper to taste
1. Cube the squash and the turnips.
2. Add salt to boiling water, add the cubed vegetable and cook until soft and mashable (around 10 to 15 minutes). Drain well and mash.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, taste to correct seasoning and serve. Really good with roasts, and, of course, stuffed roasted turkey.
Roast the vegetables instead of boiling.
Substitute the butter with a nut butter or a native oil, like Walnut.
*always save the seeds from hard squash. They can be washed dried and roasted or frozen for future use in Moles. Or at least composted or thrown into the vegetable or herb garden. Birds love them as well.