Indigenous cookbooks to add to your reading list

person looking at cookbook

Looking for inspiration on how to cook indigenous recipes? We’ve compiled a list to help you begin. Check out the cookbooks below (in no particular order) for indigenous recipes, cooking tips and tricks, and even traditional stories! Keep in mind there are many other authorized indigenous cookbooks available. These are eight to help you get started.

Tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine” by Shane M. Chartrand

This book follows Chartrand’s culinary journey from his childhood in Central Alberta, where he raised livestock, hunted and fished on his family’s acreage, to his current role as executive chef at the acclaimed SC Restaurant in the River Cree Resort & Casino. The cookbook includes more than 75 recipes plus stories from Chartrand’s friends, mentors and family members. 

The Pueblo Food Experience Cookbook: Whole Food of Our Ancestors” by Roxanne Swentzell and Patricia M. Perea 

This cookbook focuses on the Pueblo people of New Mexico and their traditional food systems. It focuses on precolonial ingredients and emphasizes the use of chemical-free, natural and organic products. Its goal is to promote healing and balance by returning to the traditional foodways of the Pueblo people.

Feeding 7 Generations: A Salish Cookbook” by Elise Krohn and Valerie Segrest

“Feeding 7 Generations” focuses on 15 of the most beloved traditional Salish recipes. It also includes information on traditions and stories about the foods of the Salish Sea region. The book includes background information about each plant or animal, including seasonality and harvest tips. The recipes highlight nutrition and wellness information, making it a great resource for beginners and seasoned chefs.

“Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing” by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel

When Calvo was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, they and Esquibel sought out recipes using vegetarian Mexican foods to promote a healthier diet and lifestyle. They promote a diet rich in plants indigenous to the Americas, including corn, beans, squash and seeds. This cookbook also includes information about various indigenous cultures throughout America. 

Mino Wiisinidaa! Let’s Eat Good!: Traditional Foods for Healthy Living” by Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

This cookbook was the result of numerous interviews with Anishinaabe tribal members and elders. They shared stories of traditional practices, favorite recipes and cooking and gathering tips. The book features traditional Anishinaabe foods and also includes kitchen safety tips. 

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” by Sean Sherman

The winner of the 2018 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook, this book features recipes without European staples such as wheat flour, dairy, sugar, etc. The recipes vary from traditional dishes to more modern spins on classic indigenous cuisine. This educational cookbook also includes information about foraging plants and flowers, staples of an indigenous pantry and more! 

Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories and Recipes from the Upper Midwest” by Heidi E. Erdrich

This cookbook features 135 recipes from tribal researchers, families, food activists and chefs from various regional tribes including Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Potawatomi, and Mandan. The book emphasizes the use of local ingredients living around you and the health benefits of a natural, indigenous diet.

“The Forgotten Traditional Foods of Fisher River” by the University of Winnipeg and Fisher River Cree Nation

This may be one of the few indigenous cookbooks that features both English and indigenous languages side by side. Winner of the Gourmand 2020 Spring Harvest Award, this book is a collaboration between the University of Winnipeg indigenous studies department and the Fisher River Cree Nation. The book shares recipes, teachings, and stories of traditional foods and its importance in improving the health and well-being of the community. This cookbook is available for purchase by contacting Crystal Moore at cg.moore@uwinnipeg.ca. Funds from the book are contributed to support student activities in the indigenous studies department and the revitalization of indigenous foods. 

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