Cooking with the Ancestors

Enjoy Katelan’s latest blog “Cooking with the Ancestors”

New Years 2018 marked the year I decided my resolution would be to focus on cooking my meals from scratch. I took it an extra step by completely revamping my kitchen into something I felt my ancestors would like to create in. Part of this decision was to focus on putting better ingredients into my body and the other was to connect to my ancestors and lineages through food. My mother had taken a DNA test that year and gave us copies of the findings. I’m still on the fence about DNA tests and how much they can tell us but I also see that can be a good tool in the initial steps of finding roots, especially if you don’t have access to records. Wars and treaties have destroyed many documents and if you have Indigenous ancestors or slaves as ancestors those records may not even exist. Names were changed according to behavior, who was bought and sold, if they complied with the government, etc. Regardless, through my mother’s test we discovered Jewish, Spanish, South Asia/Indian, Caucasus, and Italian ancestry as well as what we already knew, Austrian, Russian, Polish, Czech, Romanian, Rrom, Hungarian and I’m sure there’s much more that I’m forgetting. My father hasn’t taken the test but what we know of his side include, French Canadian, British, and Cree.

I knew I was working with a lot of ancestry and land so I started with known recipes. I took a little time to sit down and write out any recipes I remembered from my childhood. What did I remember my Grandparents eating or making? On my mother’s side I remembered chamomile tea, instant coffee, pork chops and cabbage, kielbasa, stuffed green peppers, apple strudel, linzer cookies, lemon bread, and friendship cake. On my father’s side I remembered meat pies, baked beans, fresh baked braided bread, something I thought was biscuits but turned out to be bannock, honeyed ham, turkey, and ambrosia salad. This made it a little easier to see what I could work with. I remembered what each of these things looked like and some of the ingredients so set out on a search. My family didn’t keep recipes from what I remember. If they did I’m not sure they still exist. So I typed in different word combinations from the recipes or areas and looked at images until I found recipes that somewhat matched. Some of the recipes will need to be tweaked, especially if you remember something having a certain ingredient but not finding it in the recipes. If you can’t remember any you can start searching from areas you know you are from and look for any recipes that are special to those areas. If you aren’t sure where you are from you can focus on spices or tastes What does your tongue like and remember? This helps you to work with ancestral memory. You can also work with chosen ancestors or your ancestors from adopted family and friends or spiritual lineages. Ancestors aren’t just within bloodlines…

Read full article here.

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