Loretta Barrett Oden, host of the New England Emmy-winning Seasoned With Spirit, is a renowned Native-American chef, food historian, lecturer and proud woman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Gulf Coast Originals
More than 6,000 years before the Acadian French (today's Cajuns) arrived in Louisiana, there were native peoples living and fishing in Louisiana's bayou country. A historical tour of this Gulf Coast region provides a lesson about native influences on Cajun cooking. Loretta cooks sassafras shrimp gumbo and spicy alligator sauce piquant.
Cuisine of the Desert Southwest
Most people, when thinking of the cuisine of the southwest, think of Mexican food, but Native food in their traditional form are an exciting way of expressing this beautiful and rugged region of the country. During a visit with the Tohono O'odham Tribe of Arizona, Loretta joins the tribe for their annual 3-day harvest of Saguaro Cactus fruit. She also joins Mildred Manuel to prepare Wild Spinach with Cholla Buds and Chiltepine Peppers, Tapary Beans with Ribs, Ash Bread (slow-cooked in the ashes of a mesquite fire), and for a sweet refreshing drink, Mesquite Juice.
Return of the Buffalo
There is a movement among native tribes to bring the buffalo back to the Great Plains to "promote cultural enhancement, spiritual revitalization, ecological restoration and economic development." Loretta travels to the buffalo range of Fred Dubray on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota to learn more. Wasna (sun-dried bison with chokecherries), wojape (chokecherry soup) and grilled bison tenderloin with a sage-chokecherry jus are on the menu.
Bounty of the River's Edge
The people of the Yurok tribe live off the bounty of the Pacific Coast on the banks of California's Klamath River, harvesting salmon, shellfish, seaweed and edible wild greens as well as acorns that are ground and cooked in tightly woven handmade baskets. Loretta joins her Yurok friends for a feast of alderwood-smoked salmon, dried sirfish and eels, served with an exceptional sturgeon egg bread.
Food Upon The Water
Wild rice -- manoomin -- is still harvested the traditional way by the Anishanabe, or Ojibwe, people of the Great Lakes region. Ricers and their families take canoes into the fields and hand-harvest the rice. After participating in the harvest, Loretta helps to prepare Winona LaDuke's favorite wild rice and maple syrup cake, which accompanies a lakeside first rice feast of buffalo, wild rice and cranberry-stuffed acorn squash, buffalo stew and ruby-red swamp tea.