Sioux Chef

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley

This cookbook called to me. I am from South Dakota and have been surrounded by indigenous influence for most of my life (albeit from a childlike, mostly naive perspective) and the idea of getting to know native flavors and ingredients is an exciting adventure. Not to mention, it feels like a beautiful way to get to know my home with just a little bit more honesty.

Since I am currently based in the U.K., some of the recipes are pretty unobtainable. I won’t be making any bison, that’s for sure. Author and chef Sean Sherman explicitly writes that the reader should feel that they can make ingredient substitutions where they are needed, but I wanted the first recipe I attempted to be as-written. So I dipped my toes in with the Inca Trail Mix, a contribution from Chef Andrea Murdoch. It called for Amaranth, which is new to me, so I set out to my local wholefood shop and found it right next to the beluga lentils.

Amaranth is a tiny grain-like cereal that, when heated up in some oil on the stove, pops just like popcorn. It was a lot of fun to watch (and I maybe burned a batch just watching it jump around the pan). The quinoa toasted up beautifully and the squash seeds crackled loudly as they cooled. I substituted dried cranberries for the blueberries, mostly because cranberries were cheaper. Overall, the trail mix turned into a gorgeous jewel-toned mix that will go on top of my morning yogurt for quite some time.

This mix is made from a combination of:
Popped amaranth
Toasted quinoa
Toasted squash seeds
Dried cranberries

Photography by: Dan Leonard

Today’s Beginner Philosophy Lesson is brought to you by: Plato’s cave

The cave allegory appears in the book Republic. In it, several prisoners are trapped in a cave, shackled to the ground and only able to face the back wall of the cave. Day after day, they see the sunlight rise and fall, and shadows emerge against the wall as things cross the entrance of the cave. The prisoners see the shadow outlines, watch them move and disappear, and formulate ideas about what they are witnessing. They use their senses and reasoning to construct the world that is going on behind them. One day they break out of their shackles and venture outside of the cave to see what creatures cast the shadows onto their cave wall, they realized that they were wrong and they do not understand this new reality around them.

When I first heard this allegory, I immediately thought of times it applied to my own life – what does it make you think of?

PS there is a really great animation that explains The Cave allegory really nicely. See it here!

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