Sunday, August 26, 2012

Skipping Ahead: Native American fry bread

I decided to skip ahead a little. Last month, a friend of mine travelled out to the western US states for a couple of weeks. I, myself, had never been out there. The closest I had gotten was flying over it on my way to Japan (with a brief weekend stop at Stanford University for an orientation). From what I could tell, the state of Utah is merely a crumpled up piece of sandpaper.

My friend had brought back a package of Native American fry bread. To be honest, I had never heard of this. But being from the Midwest, I'm no stranger to fried foods. Therefore, my curiosity was piqued.

Apparently, this company decided to take this traditional bread and sell it so you too can make it at home. Actually, it's great that they're doing this. It's not like we're inundated with Native American restaurants. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever heard of any. To try it at home is a unique opportunity that few have. Much like most of this blog.

The bread started out with pouring the mix into a bowl and adding some warm water to it and letting it rest for 30-40 minutes. It was sticky, but I stuck to the recipe and resisted the urge to add flour to it. Afterwards, I flattened the dough out and cut it into 3-inch squares and fried it. (Of course, and this goes without saying for me, no bout of frying goes without burns. This time, it's the tip of my finger. That'll make work fun, considering I type all day.) The package recommended several toppings to try, including honey, butter, or powdered sugar (I went with the powdered sugar). It also said that the fry bread is traditionally served with corn soup, hominy, and meat gravy.

I may have to search for an actual recipe for fry bread. I though this was from the Lakota tribe, but upon reading the back, it may be tied closer to the Osage traditions. I liked it; the sweetness of the powdered sugar mixed with the oil from frying reminded me of something of my childhood. Still less sweet than a funnel cake, but equally good. I should've tried a couple with honey, and a couple with butter (and jam!) to get the right combination.

Overall, I really could've eaten the entire batch myself. But my kids were staring at me with puppy-dog eyes, and I caved. Good food should always be shared. So, thanks to my friend for sharing the gift of something most people never get the opportunity to try.

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