October 9, 2008

'Go ahead honey, it's gluten free!' - October: Indigenous Foods

Noami has been kind enough to hand the reins over to me for October's 'Go ahead honey, it's gluten free!'. We had discussed several ideas for October, but I'm going to surprise her with this one. Last month, we all made slow food with local ingredients.

As the weather gets colder, I gravitate towards the comfort foods of my childhood. Slow cooked soups and stews and the Italian favorites that my mother learned while tied to her Nonnie's apron strings. When I think of those warm, filling dishes it's the tart tomatoes that really make my moth water.

I love tomatoes! Nothing compares on a warm summer day to tomatoes, fresh from the vine, with fresh basil. Nothing says 'Italian' (at least to Americans) like tomato sauce: on pizza, pasta, lasagna. As well has tomatoes have been incorporated into Italian, and many other, dishes it remains that they are a New World Food. So are potatoes and some types of rice.

Now that the world is our grocery store we're exposed to so many styles, types and flavors of food. For those of us who are gluten free it introduces a world of gluten free grains from all over the world. Maize from the Americas, quinoa from the Andes and teff from Africa, to name just a few.

I buy locally grown produce, meat and dairy whenever I can but as I perused the selections at whole foods I began to wonder which of the animals we eat are indigenous to the Americas, and my area in particular . The ancestors of the cattle we are familiar with are from Africa, but bovines exist all over the world. Sheep were domesticated during prehistory in the Fertile Crescent but they thrive all over the world, in South America and Australia. In South America cuyes (or guinea pigs) were domesticated for food.

Traditional or regional dishes and flavors sprang from indigenous foods. As humanity has traversed the globe, these tastes have travelled with us. Wherever we settle we strive to recreate the foods we know. As I walked through the local markets I saw locally grown produce whose origins are not local and I began to wonder just where some of these foods and ingredients came form.

I want to challenge myself, and you, to really be aware of what foods are indigenous to my region and country and to try to create something with those native foods.

So, for this month's 'Go ahead honey, it's gluten free!' I am pleased to present Indigenous Foods. The deadline for entries is November 1st, when I will be posting a round up of all your recipes. Simply post your indigenous food recipe, with a link back to this page, and send me the link to your post along with a picture of your food. Please send submissions to: deliciouslygf [at] gmail [dot] com.

I can't wait to see what's native to your area!


Paragon~Of~Virtue said...

Ok I am in!

I have some very good ideas.

Naomi Devlin said...

Ok, Cob Nut and Nettle surprise it is then!

Do you mean that we use ingredients that are native to our local area or traditional dishes that use native ingredients too? I'm slightly confused (not that difficult).

x x x

Vittoria said...

POV- great! I thought it might inspire you.

Naomi- I envision dishes using ingrediants that are native to the area you live in, the dish itself does not have to be traditional to the area.

Paragon~Of~Virtue said...

Oh that's good news. Because we convicts don't have that much heritage and we kinda stole all traditional stuff from the UK.
And I wasn't too sure about cooking a kangaroo beneath hot coals in the back yard....

Ellemay said...

Finally, an excuse to cook with native Australian foods!!

Some how I think its going to be either roo or barramundi with a strange selection of spices.

Looking forward to it!!

Unless you're willing to let the Aussies use the stuff the convicts brought out with them??

seamaiden said...

Ooh, me, me! There are some really fun native ingredients here in California...


Vittoria said...

Ellemay- I'd say, use as many native Australian ingredients as you can, but I leave it to your discretion. Don't forget to email me your link and a picture.

Sea- I would LOVE to have you contribute this month! You're ideas are always exciting.

seamaiden said...

My indigenous ingredient of choice turned out to not be so indigenous, having been introduced to Ca in the 1920s... I have an alternative ingredient in mind, but I have to acquire it... I'm afraid I'll have to be late with this one.... Forgive me? I'll try to get the post up in the next few days, if you'll bear with me...
-Sea( I know, I know, I'm behind....)

Rachel said...

I just found out about the October event so I guess I'm too late to enter? I could go out back and dig up some Jerusalem artichokes in a flash and make something delicious if it's not too late.

Vittoria said...

Sea, Rachel & everyone else who is afraid they missed the deadline-

As long as you let me know that you are planning a post (soon) I will hold the round-up until I receive all contributions. I lookforward to them all!