It seems fitting that we consider Andrew George Jr.’s Modern Native Feasts (Arsenal 2013) as Thanksgiving approaches. He is a member of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia, having grown up in Telkwa, BC, so he brings uncommon insight into eating native, sustainable food. His first book, A Feast For All Seasons is on the cooking of Aboriginal people, while this second book arises from that cuisine fused with the modern cooking methods he has learned:
Modern Native Feasts is the product of this change and a reflection of my own desire to return to the idea of fusing the traditional with the modern. These recipes combine the use of fresh, local, and seasonal products with contemporary ways of approaching traditional forms of cooking, such as brining, smoking, and curing.(p. 11)
Many of the recipes will seem familiar to all cooks, especially in the first chapter on Stocks, Sauces, Spreads and Dips. But dig deeper and the recipes emphasize salmon, buffalo, venison, and other wild game. You won’t find a turkey recipe for Thanksgiving, but why not Cranberry Sweet & Sour Goose Breast (p. 99) or Buffalo & Cranberry Stew (p. 88) and skip the cranberry sauce. Serve these up with Wild Rice Pilaf (p. 134) and Bannock (p. 138) a kind of fried bread. He makes pasta aboriginal style in Dandelion Greens Fettuccini (p. 111) that goes well with Wild Game Bolognese Sauce (p. 146). Then finish up with Sadkatoon Pie (p. 166) with the wonderfully named Saskatoon berries.
If your kids are studying native peoples or celebrating Thanksgiving in school, consider Andrew George Jr.’s books to give them a taste of real aboriginal food.