Native Foods

It struck me first in the wake of the Vietnam War, when hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, and Cambodian refugees arrived in America—and began opening restaurants. Even then I thought back to small Mexican restaurants in 1950s Southern California, and the ubiquitous pizza places and Italian restaurants that I ate in in the 60s and 70s from Oceanside, California to Washington D.C., and west to Oregon. I thought then and think now that food can bring people together with less rancor and more joy than any other thing or idea I can imagine. Read The Article

Indian Gardens—one more time!


Ok, I should have thought this whole thing through before launching food travel theories. Josephy reminded us years ago, in Indian Heritage of America, 1492 and other places, that about half of present world food crops originated in the Western hemisphere: corn, beans, manioc, chocolate, tobacco—well, food and medicinal/drug crops. And we all know from fourth grade Thanksgiving programs that corn—Mesoamerican corn—had arrived in New England long before the English!
Diorama of Iroquois Indians tending maize caption, New York State Museum

But it is also true that Indians of what is now the Pacific Northwest were traditionally hunters, gatherers, and fishers, and most of these crops were not found in the region at the time of first white contact, Indians of the region had established economies and food cultures over countless generations before white contact, food cultures built around salmon, game, and readily available roots, bulbs, and berries. Did they have knowledge Read The Article