The 8 hour drive home from Chicago yesterday was bittersweet. We were excited to be in our own house but sad to leave Grandma, Grandpa and Aunts & Uncles. Our weekend was full of food, festivities, and family time. Chicago is enough warmer than Duluth that it felt like a little vacation in the sun. We ate outside as much as possible, anything above 50 degrees meant picnic time.
I wanted to get home in time on Sunday to see The Sioux Chef speak at Beaner’s Central in a collaborative event with Zenith Bookstore. Thankfully, I arrived about 10 minutes before the author talk began. Beaner's was packed to the max. I barely found a seat for myself and some friends. Many people were standing in the back and along the sides.
Sean Sherman, The Sioux Chef, began by talking about colonization and the cultural and human loss that occurred so quickly in the United States, in particular. He narrowed his focus to a discussion of food and how much indigenous cooking and other ways of life have been lost. He and his team have a long range business plan, including a nonprofit, to educate and equip people, especially Indigenous people, to cook and use the earth around them in sustainable and healthy ways. They have been and continue to study indigenous ways of cooking and are implementing those methods today.
Sean described some of these methods of cooking, including drying vegetables and nixtamaled corn. The methods of growing and harvesting food used by Indigenous people were healthier and more sustainable for the earth. There is so much we can learn about food from the people that were inhabiting this land so long before us.
A lot can be said about how askew our diets have become these days. I love Sean’s emphasis on learning what is around you and using it for a purpose, whether that is food, medicine, art, or something else. I am going to spend some time this winter learning more about the plants in my area and how I can use those in my cooking.
Here is a veggie-forward dish for the holidays. I find it is really helpful when you want to eat well over holidays to have a lot of veggie options. That way you can be sure to fill your belly with hearty veggies and be less tempted by the table of a dozen desserts. I hope you indulge sometimes-just maybe keep it under a dozen.
Roasted Cranberry Brussel Sprouts
4 c chopped brussel sprouts
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 c chopped apple
1 T maple syrup
1 c fresh cranberries
3 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
cracked black pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 400 F
- Place chopped brussel sprouts, walnuts, and apples in medium bowl.
- In separate small bowl, combine cranberries and maples syrup and stir to combine.
- Pour the cranberries into the brussel sprouts mixture.
- Pour olive oil, salt, and pepper into the brussel sprouts and mix everything until the olive oil is evenly coating everything in the bowl.
- Pour into 9x13 pan and bake for about 23 minutes, until the brussel sprouts are tender.