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Native Americans: Cookbooks & Food

Updated: December 1, 2021

Native American peoples have made major contributions to the foods we eat, and tribal nations have created numerous unique recipes.  There is so much more to the cuisines than fry bread, and there is more than one recipe for it. These books on food are a small sampling.

America's first cuisines
Coe, Sophie D. (Sophie Dobzhansky), 1933-1994.
Call Number: 641.0972 C672

Corn, potatoes, beans, peanuts, squash, avocados, tomatoes, chocolate and chiles were indigenous to the cultures and cuisines of the Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas. For many millennia, long before the Spanish invasion, these foods were cultivated for use in cooking. The individual foods, which have become ubiquitous, and their preparation are examined by Coe in a thorough and interesting style.


Cape Cod Wampanoag cookbook : Wampanoag Indian recipes, images & lore
Mills, Earl.
Call Number: 641.597 M657

Gourmet chef Chief Flying Eagle of the Cape Cod Mashpee Wampanoags, aka Earl Mills Sr., shares traditional recipes, and stories.

Cooking the Native way
Call Number: 641.59794 C7735-15

The Chia Café Collective introduces the Native American cultures of Southern California by way of recipes using indigenous plants and combining ancient and modern techniques.  The book includes full-page color photographs and a resource guide for ingredients.

Enduring harvests : native American foods and festivals for every season
Kavasch, E. Barrie.
Call Number: 641.59 K215-1

There are recipes for the best of Native American dishes that are part of traditions and festivals to honor the changing seasons. In addition, there is information about Native American cultures and folklore.

Enough for all : foods of my Dry Creek Pomo and Bodega Miwuk people
Smith, Kathleen Rose, 1939-
Call Number: 641.097 S653

A skillful blending of personal memoir and facts about the foods of the Dry Creek Pomo and Bodega Miwuk People.  Born in California, a child of the 1930s Depression, Kathleen Rose Smith was reminded by her mother, "We will never go hungry. Food is all around us.  All you need to know is when to gather it and how to prepare it." This was during a time when people from the Dust Bowl were migrating west, looking for food and work. Smith honors her Native American heritage in this informative memoir.

Foods of the Americas : native recipes and traditions
Divina, Fernando.
Call Number: 641.597 D618

A beautfiul and illuminating book published in association with the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Included are modern and traditional recipes, and the importance of food culture to the indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America, and historical photographs.

Foods of the Southwest Indian nations : traditional & contemporary Native American recipes
Frank, Lois Ellen.
Call Number: 641.5978 F828

Over 80 recipes demonstrate a modern take on traditional techniques and recipes for Native American foods of the Southwest. Chapters are organized by food sources and accompanied by beautiful color photographs.

The Mitsitam Cafe cookbook : recipes from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Hetzler, Richard.
Call Number: 641.597 H591
This cookbook was published in association with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, and "showcases the Americas' indigenous foods in 90 easy-to-follow, home-tested recipes. Author and Mitsitam Cafe chef Richard Hetzler spent years researching Native American dishes and food practices." There are wonderful full-color pages of the completed dishes.

Native Indian cookbook : [wild game, fish & wild edibles]
Call Number: 641.597 H939 1997a

A concise introduction counters preconceived ideas about Native Americans and their cultures. The recipes " . . . represent a cross-section of dozens of tribes from all across North America." The relationship with the natural elements is emphasized because of its major importance to Native Americans. There are eight suggested menus with multiple courses in each.

Recovering our ancestors' gardens : indigenous recipes and guide to diet and fitness
Mihesuah, Devon A. (Devon Abbott), 1957-
Call Number: 641.597 M636

Choctaw author and scholar Devon Abbott Mihesuah analyzes the health problems of Native Americans, concluding that a return to traditional indigenous foods and health practices will remedy many problems. She includes tips for better gardening practices, exercise, and healthy recipes.

Seaweed, salmon, and Manzanita cider : a California Indian feast
Call Number: 641.597 S4425

Combining historical and current photographs, with recipes gathered from individuals, whose " . . . tribal and personal memory . . " of recipes comprise this cookbook/memoir. It is a tribute to the natural richness to be derived from California's sea and land assets.

The Sioux Chef's indigenous kitchen
Sherman, Sean, 1974-
Call Number: 641.597 S553

There is an inherent richness to Native American cuisine presented in this James Beard 2018 Best American Cookbook.  Chef Sherman introduces us to indigenous ingredients cooked up in flavorful and interesting ways, and pays tribute to the cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories. A beautiful and informational book with clearly printed directions, color photographs, and an index.

Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking
Cox, Beverly
Call Number: 641.5973 C877

This book covers the specific cuisines of Native Americans of North America. Native American foods are divided into geographic regions: southeastern coast and woodlands; northeastern coast and woodlands; Great Plains; the southwest; and the west. Lavishly illustrated with color photographs and black and white drawings of symbolic designs.

Where people feast : an indigenous people's cookbook
Watts, Dolly, 1935-
Call Number: 641.597 W349

A special cookbook from a mother and daughter team, Dolly Watts (Gitk'san First Nation in British Columbia), and Annie (Gitk'san and Nuu-chah-nulth) respectively. They ran Liliget Feast House in Vancouver, British Columbia which received a four-star rating from the New York Times. They focus on food and traditions from Native cuisines of the Pacific Northwest.