Workshop Highlights Traditional Native Cooking Techniques
How long could many of us survive without our stoves, refrigerators and grocery stores? Perhaps a day or two? How then, centuries before those conveniences were invented, did Native people live quite well on the plants and animal life they found all around them in the forests, fields, rivers and coastal waters of New England? A traditional menu might consist of roasted fish, vegetables, cornmeal boiled bread and strawberry herb tea—a meal most of us would find mouthwatering and delicious today.
The Northfield Historical Commission will host “Cooking from the Land, 1673” an Indigenous Heritage Workshop conducted by three Native experts-- Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah), Leah Hopkins (Niantic) and Jonathan Perry (Aquinnah).
Together, the workshop leaders will transport us back to mealtime using the authentic and healthy cooking methods of the 17th-century Wampanoag Tribe and some of the fresh, locally obtainable ingredients prepared with traditional tools. A past recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Traditional Arts Fellowship, Ms. James-Perryis a nationally-recognized storyteller, fine artist, tribal historian and consultant on projects including the National Park Service Battlefield Grant in Turners Falls. Ms. Hopkins is strongly rooted in her native Rhode Island’s coastal and forest cooking traditions. Known for her healthy indigenous feasts, she is also a consultant, beadwork artist, actor and traditional dancer.
The program is free and open to all. Participants are invited to bring their own small bowl and cloth napkin for sampling the cuisine prepared in the workshop—there will be no plastic or paper at the event. Each person will be entered into a drawing for a beautiful pottery bowl inspired by the landscape and donated by Tom White Pottery in Northfield.
Part of the Historical Commission’s “Northfield Day of History” series.