Monday, November 26, 2007

Fry Bread and Sheep

Okay people here's a little Rez 101. I wrote a section of my story with an introduction into the Navajo life of the early 50's. Around that time there were many technological marvels being introduced in the world. Like so many third world countries, the reservation, is often behind the times on techie things. The fifties were the beginning of the mass introduction of Western ideas, language, customs, and pop culture into the Navajo world. I may not be phrasing that right but you know what I mean.

I got a lot of these components from hearing stories from my mother, father, and all the old timers that are still around. Growing up in the 70's was a lot different for me compared to them. I had television, local channels, radio, a land line telephone, and the means for mass communication. These metal and plastic devices may have creeped in inextricably changing things but there still are the key components that make up my culture.

Food, livelihood, tradition, means of transportation, and language. I know there are great words I could use as far as sociology goes but I don't want to confuse people and would rather do it in simple laymens terms. Sides' if I did that I would have to literally spend hours poring over material to make sure I got it right. That would be too much like school work! Nah.

Okay first is food. Navajo's love frybread. Frybread originated from a dark period in Navajo history when we were herded to New Mexico and kept in a type of compound. During that time the old establishment thought that giving us rotten meat, flour, lice infested blankets, and shadiness would break us. That was when we had to make do with what we had and voila- frybread was born. Frybread is a mixture of Bluebird flour (it has to be this brand!), salt, baking soda, water, and TLC. I don't know how to make it but my mother does and moms is always the best!

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This is the quintessential flour for making fry bread! Milled from the four corners area.

There's this tasty delight which can be dipped in stew or eaten by itself with salt. People will also use the bread for sandwiches. It's probably best to eat frybread once in a while. You know the carb thing and the amount of saturated fats can be quite high. That's why I eat it at least once a month.

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Then we got the Navajo Taco. It's something so South Westy cuz' we got Ol' Mexico as vecinos (neighbors) and it just makes so much sense. Palate and stomach wise. Yes you may need to move that belt up a notch but eat it moderately, with common sense, and you should be alright.

Translation: Don't eat it everyday!

There are also the sheep.

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Not only can we use it's wool for garments but we can also eat them. Don't get too disgusted.

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I think eating fish eggs, raw meat, rotten cheese, and snails is disgusting! Sheep were originally introduced by the Spanish people during the conquistador period. We have a period in the spring when we shear the sheep, place their wool in huge gunny sacks, and sell them for cash. The shearing is a must because the lack of wool is a way of keeping them cool during the hot summer months. So it works both ways for the sheep and us! The culinary part is just an intrinsic identity blanket for us. Something we like to do that reminds us of good times and family. We like to roast, boil, and make a haggis-type of dish called blood sausage, and do not waste any part of the animal. I even ate the tongue once and it was quite good!

So that's it for the time being. I will add more items and do my best to explain the cultural differences and conundrums peeps may face while reading some of my stuff.

© 2007 Tyrene Banks; except Images and Links


Josh said...

I've never tried lamb, though, I will say, I would much rather have lamb than those other things you listed. Ewwwww gross. Thanks for the request to check it out.

Later on,


Confessions of a Flea Market Rez' Queen! said...

Ha ha ha!

I'm finding out the older I get the more willing I am to try out new dishes. I never really liked onions when I was younger but absolutely love it now!

Elisa said...

Lived in Kayenta for 3.5 years. Came to love roast mutton on tortilla with a green chili and, of course, a navajo taco. Sometimes I dream about both of those things...

Confessions of a Flea Market Rez' Queen! said...

Those things will always be here if you ever swing by this way sometime in the future :)

Oh kudos for green chili! I love them!