By Loretta Barrett Oden, Beth Dooley
2023 • University of Oklahoma Press
An Indigenous food cookbook blending the recipes and life story of an award-winning Potawatomi chef.
Growing up in Shawnee, Oklahoma, among a host of grandmothers and aunties, Loretta Barrett Oden learned the lessons and lore of Potawatomi cooking, along with those of her father’s family, whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower. This rich cultural blend came to bear in the iconic restaurant she opened in Santa Fe, the Corn Dance Café, where many of the dishes in this book had their debut, setting Loretta on her path to fame as one of the most influential Native chefs in the nation, a leader in the new Indigenous food movement, and, with her Emmy Award–winning PBS series, Seasoned with Spirit: A Native Cook’s Journey, a cross-cultural ambassador for First American cuisine.
Corn Dance: Inspired First American Cuisine tells the story of Loretta’s journey and of the dishes she created along the way. Alongside recipes that combine the flavors of her Oklahoma upbringing and Indigenous heritage with the Southwest flair of her Santa Fe restaurant, Loretta offers entertaining and edifying observations about ingredients and cooking culture. What kind of quail might turn up in your vicinity, for instance; what to do with piñon nuts, sumac, or nopales (cactus paddles); when to add a bundle of pine needles or a small branch of cedar to your braise: these and many practical words of wisdom about using the fruits of the forest, stream, or plain, accompany Loretta’s insights on everything from the dubious provenance of fry bread to the Potawatomi legend behind the Three Sisters—corn, beans, and squash, the namesake ingredients of Three Sisters and Friends Salad, served at Corn Dance Café and now at Thirty Nine Restaurant at First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, where Oden is the Chef Consultant.
Amply illustrated and adapted to bring the taste of Native tradition into the home kitchen, Corn Dance invites readers to join Loretta Oden on her inspiring journey into the Indigenous heritage, and the exhilarating culinary future, of North America.
Tags: american regional, Books, indigenous, North American, Santa Fe, Southwest, was-preorder