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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.


Seductive Musings

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Get me to the powwow — frybread recipe

“Get me to the powwow.”

That’s a line that always draws chuckles from my friends when we watch Dreamkeeper, a wonderful family film about Native legends and the preservation of Native culture. I recommended the DVD a couple months back both for adults and for kids. It’s perhaps the best film I’ve ever seen about the need to preserve Native stories and culture, bringing to life the legends and history of many Indian nations as a grandfather attempts to help his troubled teenage grandson.

Grandfather is a traditional storyteller, an elder who keeps the dreams of his Lakota people. His grandson, Nathan, has gotten himself into trouble with a rez gang and doesn’t want to drive his grandfather to the All Nations Powwow far away. But, of course, Grandpa gets his way, and Nathan’s life is forever changed.

If the Indian aspects of Naked Edge interested you, I can’t recommend Dreamkeeper highly enough. Get it through Netflix, borrow it from your library or buy it from Amazon. It is absolutely 110 percent worth it. The ending brings me to tears every single time, and it’s wonderful watching Native people acting out their own stories. Plus, the actor who plays the leader of the rez gang is a friend of ours who got his start in acting in Dances With Wolves.

Speaking of powwows, today is the culmination of the Denver March Powwow, an annual event that draws thousands. Denver lies in the heart of Indian Country, sitting between the reservations to the north and those to the south. So it’s a natural meeting place.

Those of you who've read Naked Edge might remember that the heroine, Kat, met Grandpa Red Crow, a Lakota holy man, at the Denver March Powwow, where she’d gone in search of decent frybread (though I suspect she makes good frybread herself). The real Kat is there now, along with other friends. I have chosen stay home, in part because I need to write and in part because Benjy left this morning and I'm moping. But back to frybread...

At the recent spoiler chat, someone asked for a frybread recipe. In honor of Kat’s search for frybread — and the deep friendship that she discovers with Grandpa Red Crow — I thought today would be the perfect day to share what I found.

Navajo frybread

What you’ll need:
  • Crisco, oil or lard for frying melted to about 1/2-inch depth
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 T baking powder
  • 2 T salt
  • 2-1/2 cups warm milk
In a heavy frying pan, melt lard or shortening and heat to 356 degrees F. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and mix well. Kneed a bit. When the dough has pulled together, divide it into balls that roughly fill your hand. Flatten these into tortilla-shaped rounds. Place one at a time into the hot oil. When the rounds bubble up, test with fork to see if you can flip them. Flip and cook until golden. Set aside on power towels. Serve hot.

If you want to watch the process before you try it, there are many frybread videos on YouTube. This one includes some tips on turning the frybread and shows some different ways of stretching the balls of dough. This one is fun because it shows a group of women making frybread on the rez over a communal fire at a community event. The guy in the background goes back and forth between speaking English and Diné, so you get a chance to hear that. Plus, one of the women is turning her frybread with a very basic cooking tool — a long stick.

So what do you do with frybread once you make it? You can eat it with a meal or as a snack. You can put seasoned ground chicken, bison, beef, elk or whatever meat you like on top a piece of frybread, add black, pinto or refried beans, shredded lettuce, shredded jack cheese and salsa for what’s commonly called an “Indian taco.” Yum! I also like to eat it with warm honey as a kind of dessert. Powdered sugar probably works nicely, too. Maple syrup? Could be tasty.

However you choose to eat it, eat it all, because by morning your luscious frybread will have become cold, greasy, doughy discs. I have tested this theory myself, having taken a bunch of frybread and honey camping with me in the desert on the rez. I thought I had breakfast all ready and waiting for me. Instead, I had a mouthful of ewwww.



Phyl said...

Thank you! Thank you! I'm going to try this sometime soon. The extra You Tube links are so interesting and hopefully will help me get it right. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Hi, Phyl — I'm excited to know how the recipe turns out.

There were some that called for powdered milk and water, as powdered milk is an item included in the commodities that Indian people living on reservations get from the federal government. (Commods also include such luxury items as "luncheon meat," i.e., glorified spam.) But I figured real milk would be tastier.

And that should say "paper towels," not "power towels." Sheesh!

Cecile said...

hey hon. just wanted to drop by and show some luv!!! hugs to you

Debbie H said...

Yes, I know it as Indian Tacos. We get them every year at the State fair. It's the only thing I eat while I'm there. I only go to see the Clydesdales and get my Indian Taco. Now I can go just to see the horses. LOL

Thanks for the recipe and the links. My grandparents received commodities. We thought the were living high on the hog with those. LOL My grandmother would make chicken and dressing, the big chunk of cheese with Wonder bread was heaven. Thanks for bringing back some childhood memories.


Mary G said...

Hi Pamela
Thanks so much for the links.
Underneath the video was a message about microwaving the bread the next day for about 55 seconds to freshen it up. Too bad you can't take microwaves camping lol.

linda said...

This looks yummy! I'll have to check out the videos and give it a try.

Mary G said...

Awesome review for NE at Good Bad & Unread blog.
I can't get that book out of my head.

Hi, Cecile — Thank you so much! You're very sweet. I'll take all the love I can get. Hugs back to you.

Hi, Debbie — Interesting that your grandparents received commodities. Were they Native? A dear old Lakota wicasa wakan I know — the one I modeled Grandpa Red Crow after — pronounced every syllable of the label on the canned spam so that it came out, "Lunch-ee-on meat." LOL!

I bet Indian tacos are pretty common in Oklahoma. They are here in Colorado, too. Not so much luncheon meat, though.

Hi, Mary G — Thanks for sharing that bit with us. Obviously I didn't read too closely, did I? And, yeah, no microwave in my car or in the desert anywhere that I saw. :-)

And thanks so much for sharing the news about the TGTBTU review. I was thrilled when I read it, though I'd love to know what the reviewer considers a "signature" sex scene. :-)

Hi, Linda — Be sure to tell me how it goes.

Mary G said...

All About Romance: another good review. Actually haven't read a bad one yet. Talked to Kristie J by email tonight. We talked about how much we loved NE. She said I should start reading your historicals. I better since I've read all your contemps. Nothing left boohoo.

Yes, Mary, I'm afraid you've read them all at this point (if you've read Heaven Can't Wait). So all that leaves is historicals.

There have been some negative reviews. Someone responded to a thread about the book on AAR with a negative review. And there was this one that arrived in my e-mail inbox today:

Plus there are a few folks on Goodreads who didn't like the story.

The one thing I can't understand is why anyone would view Kat as weak. Say what you want about Gabe or the plot or anything else, but Kat as a weak, crybaby? That I don't understand.

It is impossible to please everyone, however. Kat is who she is, and she's my favorite heroine.

Mary G said...

At AAR: 3 of the 4 commenters liked it. At Goodreads: 77% gave it a 5. 15% gave it a 4. 6% gave it a 3.
I don't see that as negative.

I don't remember Kat crying that much unless you count her grandfather dying or Gabe falling of a cliff. DUH!!

I'm going to have to add a new rule to the No suck rule.
You can't only see the soso reviews (typical author)LOL

Point taken, Mary G. And thanks. :-)

I was just pointing out that there have been some negative reviews. There always are.

As for Kat crying: those are the two situations that come to mind.

Tessa cried more than Kat.

Scorpio M. said...

Kat, weak? I don't get it. Kat is one of the strongest female characters I've come across. I know I give Gabe all the love but I love Kat just as much.

It's ok, can't please everyone and there are folks out there who think Cormac McCarthy is an idiot. YOU got an "A" from DEAR AUTHOR!! They guard their A's tighter than Kat guarded her virtue! :)

Debbie H said...

I still can't get the Native connection in my family. LOL They were poor, it was part of the Medicaid, before food stamps, stuff. We thought they were rich and they were, with love and friendship.

Yes, Indian tacos are abundant here.

Kara C said...

I just went to the link you posted with the negative review. Guess it would be bad form for me to get Mary G and the rest of the gang to go over there and...yeah, bad form. LOL Bucketfuls? Really?
Bad reviews. One of the many, MANY reasons I could never be a writer.
Hope your week is going well.

Hi, Kara — Sweet of you to think of that, but, yeah, bad form. I never, ever comment on bad reviews, even if the reviewer gets facts wrong, because it would only make me look defensive. Plus, everyone is entitled to her opinion, right?

Kara C said...

I was good. I didn't go there. :)
And, yeah, they're entitled. I'll just think those thoughts in my head. It'll make me feel better.

Mary G said...

Hi Pamela
I agree with Kara. It's so tempting. Would love to rebut. The most I've ever said politely was: "so interesting to see different viewpoints. The things you hated about the book are what I loved." Then I realized that it makes no sense to drop hints because most people are so set in their ways they wouldn't get it anyway. I don't get into
it anymore. I heard a saying that I try to live by:
Fight with pigs & you get dirty too.

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