joeljkp | Jan 16, 201909:07 AM     34

I've been thinking a lot about eating more indigenously, and so would like to throw the concept out there to the community to get some thoughts on it.

It seems there's a small-but-growing community (in the general culture) around the cuisine of indigenous cultures - see the recent "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen" book by Sean Sherman, a number of restaurant openings in CA and Minnesota, and the buzz around the Smithsonian Mitsitam Cafe in DC. But what I'm talking about isn't so much about recreating the food of these cultures (of which I'm not a part), but more about discovering the ingredients indigenous to my part of the country. This would be taking "locavore" to a deeper level - instead of favoring, say, turnips and broccoli grown within a few miles of my home in Maryland, I would instead be looking for sunchokes, and topping them with sauteed dandelion greens, both of which are native here.

The problem, of course, is that this is a much more difficult endeavor nowadays - many of the indigenous ingredients in this area are not sold commercially, so would need to be foraged or grown. It would be hard to become a true "indigevore", say, eating only food indigenous to your geographic region. Instead, it would consist of favoring certain items over others when they are available, learning the foodways of the indigenous cultures (for inspiration), and adapting everyday recipes to use native foodstuffs.

It's worthwhile to ask why someone would do this. For me, part of it would be to learn about and connect with a new place. But I also suspect that indigenous ingredients are easier to grow in their native regions, and thus may become more environmentally sustainable when produced at scale. And this would only happen if a community developed to create demand. I'm sensitive to perceived appropriation here, which is why I make the distinction between indigenous cultures (which are doing great things in this area), and use and development of indigenous/native *ingredients*.

I'm curious about the thoughts of the community here - is anyone trying this now, or have experience trying it in the past? Is it a worthwhile endeavor? Is there an active community around it that I don't know about?

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

Recommended from Chowhound

See what's new!
View latest discussions ›