Excited to add a hands-on activity to go along with our Trail of Tears Unit Study and because we haven’t baked anything even slightly sweet yet at the high altitude we now live in, we thought we would make Cherokee Garden Pan Bread.
First though, here is a bit of background information about the Cherokee that we read about in one of our recipe books.
The Cherokee lived in large villages in southeastern North America.
Each village consisted of about 30 to 60 houses that surrounded a large meeting building.
Each dome shaped house had a wattle frame, which was woven from woven twigs and branches.They covered the frame with mud or clay paste called daub.
Cherokee ate both garden foods and wild plants. Corns, beans, squash, and wild yams grew in the Cherokees’ large gardens.
Woman collected raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, and gooseberries. They also gathered walnuts, hickory nuts and pecans from surrounding forests.
They ground seeds, nuts and corn into meal with a hollowed out log, called a mortar and a coarse stick.
This recipe uses a lot of the ingredients that they would have had on hand then. By the way, because sometimes I do forget to share where I get some of my ideas from, I wanted to be sure you knew about these series of books that I love.
They are called Exploring History Through Simple Recipes and there are several cool books in this oldie, but goodie series.
This one is called American Indian Cooking before 1500.
One more thing before I share how easy Tiny whipped this up, but we made a few substitutions.
Though there is pumpkin here in Cuenca, Ecuador there is not canned pumpkin. So I used what we had on hand, which was apples as a substitute.
So here is your cast of characters in Spanish no doubt.
We are all trying to learn to read Spanish, but here are the basic ingredients: whole wheat flour, cornmeal, walnuts, raisins and then of course apples.
First, Tiny combined the dry ingredients. We did omit the baking powder too as we are tweaking recipes a bit to bake at high altitudes.
If you are at sea level, keep the recipe just like I have it printed above.
After mixing the dry ingredients (except for the walnuts and raisins) we grabbed a second bowl to mix the wet ingredients. I grated the apples to add to the mixture to substitute for the pumpkin.
Again, I had to play with the recipe a bit because I know it requires more liquid too when we bake here in the mountains.
So we added about another 1/4 cup of water.
Then Tiny combine the wet and dry ingredients. Then we steered off course here.
We added a bit of “modern” ingredients just because we felt like it needed some sweetness.
We added a 1/2 cup of brown sugar because we had it on hand too and a pinch of vanilla extract never hurt anything.
Then we folded in the raisins and walnuts. Tiny doesn’t like walnuts, so we left them whole instead of chopping them up. He can pick them out later.
Bake at 350 degrees in a greased pan for about 30 minutes.
Again, everything takes longer to cook here, so we added another 15 minutes to the baking time.
I think Tiny and I reached the same conclusion on this bread. We would have added a bit more sugar and apple to make it sweeter.
It was pretty authentic because you could taste the cornmeal, with a hint of fruit. I am not sure the pumpkin would have made it taste sweeter, just differently.
Overall, it was simple and plain and gave us both a taste (no pun intended) of what the Cherokee may have eaten with the ingredients they had on hand.
Grab the rest of the minibooks and resources below for the Free Trail of Tears Lapbook & Unit Study.
Hugs and love ya,