cover image New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian

New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian

Freddie Bitsoie and James O. Fraioli. Abrams, $40 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5355-8

Bitsoie, former executive chef of Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, explores the vastness of indigenous cuisine in his exceptional debut. As he draws inspiration from both his Navajo background and a wide sampling of native communities, territorial distinctions become clear and ingredient lists blossom with items both familiar and obscure: hominy, chokecherry, cactus paddles, cranberry beans. A chapter of soups features the “three sisters” of native cooking—corn, squash, and beans—alongside meatier options such as Cheyenne beef and sage. Among the 10 salads are a Seminole-inspired swamp cabbage (known today as hearts of palm) dressed with lemon vinaigrette. An expansive chapter of land and sea dishes brings exciting regional flavors to meat, chicken, and fish in such notable dishes as grilled beef tenderloin with juniper sauce and sumac-braised beef short ribs. Meanwhile, a surprising array of desserts are filled with fruit and often draw their sweetness from agave nectar. Insightful, single-page cultural and culinary histories of various territories are seeded throughout, from the Cherokee in the Appalachians to the Chumash in California (“Malibu in Chumash means ‘the surf sounds lovely’ ”). A diverse and flavorful cultural history comes alive in this riveting celebration of the country’s past and present. (Nov.)