A new webinar series, Celebrating Indigenous Women Chefs, explores ancestral knowledge, wisdom, and recipes from Native tribes across the United States.
Featuring speakers from urban areas and reservations, the series is organized by The Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition, in partnership with Seeds of Native Health, the University of Minnesota Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute, and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
Dr. Lois Ellen Frank, a New Mexico-based chef, photographer, teacher, and author, hosted the inaugural event in the series, bringing attendees into her kitchen to speak about her passion for Indigenous crops and share her modern take on recipes passed down from her Kiowa mother.
“My mom instilled in us a respect and a deep-seated caring for the Earth and the ideological concept of the medicine wheel – that everything is related to everything else, that you can’t isolate a component in that circle and not have it affect another piece of the circle,” Frank tells Food Tank.
Frank reveres the ingredients she uses not only for their significance in local ecosystems, but also for their nutritional and spiritual value. Preparing for her cooking demonstration, Frank introduces the three sisters – corn, beans, and squash. She explains that these crops are known as sisters because they thrive when planted among one another, and they form nutritionally complete amino acid chains when paired together in a meal.
As the series celebrates the Indigenous women chefs currently influencing the culinary world and passing on the knowledge of their ancestors and Native lands, Frank tells Food Tank, “I would like to pay homage to our women elders and grandmothers, those who sacrificed their lives and kept alive indigenous food and foodways. They held onto the traditions so that we can still have them today.”
Read the full article about Indigenous women chefs by Katelyn Bredsnajder at Food Tank.
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