Indigenous cookbooks are a small but significant corner of food publishing. Recent years have seen the critical and commercial successes of books including Sean Sherman’s The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, written with Beth Dooley, and Freddie Bitsoie and James O. Fraioli’s New Native Kitchen. Forthcoming titles, including one co-written with Dooley, show home cooks how to connect with the land, find native ingredients, and prepare Indigenous dishes.

Chími Nu’am

Sara Calvosa Olson. Heyday, Sept.

This book of 70-plus recipes highlighting native California foodways is “not meant to be 100 percent decolonized right out of the gate,” writes Olson, a Karuk home cook whose work has appeared in Edible Shasta-Butte and elsewhere. She encourages traditional harvest and preservation methods, for example, while also providing suggestions for store-bought swaps if needed. Organized by season, recipes include elk chili beans (fall), duck egg chilaquiles with nettle tortilla chips (spring), and blackberry braised venison tacos (summer).

Corn Dance

Loretta Barrett Oden, with Beth Dooley. Univ. of Oklahoma, Oct.

Oden, a Native foods historian
and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, draws from her personal history, her travels through Indian Country, and her PBS show, Seasoned with Spirit, in this collection of recipes and stories. Her Potawatomi and European heritage is evident in salads, mains, and sweets, several of which—three sisters and friends salad, cornmeal-dusted rabbit, and pumpkin cheesecake with piñon crust—were served at the Corn Dance Café, which Oden and her son opened in Santa Fe, N.Mex., in 1993.

Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky

Lois Ellen Frank with Walter Whitewater. Hachette Go, Aug.

Whitewater, a chef from the Diné (Navajo) Nation, consulted with Native food historian and educator Frank on 100 plant-centric recipes using eight ingredients with roots in Indigenous American cuisine: beans, cacao, chile, corn, potato, squash, tomato, and vanilla. Chapters include historical context, botanical information, and preparation tips; recipes—blue corn hotcakes with prickly pear syrup, cacao spice rub—stress nutrition and sustainability.


Survival Food

Thomas Pecore Weso. Wisconsin Historical Society, Nov.

Nearly three dozen recipes that feature ingredients indigenous to Wisconsin (steamed oyster root), dishes influenced by the state’s settler cuisines (twice-baked cheesy potatoes), and meals made with government-distributed commodity foods (macaroni and cheese with tuna and milkweed buds) punctuate Weso’s coming-of-age memoir of reservation life in the 1980s and ’90s. The author, an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Nation, has a master’s degree in Indigenous studies.

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