If you check into any American restaurant or visit any home of Native American today, you will come across burgers, apple pie, fried chicken, sausages, noodles and many other delicious foods. Are these the same kinds of foods the original natives ate? What kind of foods did Native Indians eat before blenders, microwaves, juicers or grills were invented? Or what kind of foods were they able to access before supermarkets?
American Native Food before 2000 BC
In the ancient times even before 2000 BC, North American natives were only able to prepare and eat only what they could hunt and gather. The foods they could access and eat varied from the cultures of one group to the next and depending on the abundance.
For example, Inuit people who lived around and along the Arctic Ocean were only able to access seal meat and fish in abundance. They were also able to gather seaweed. The group that lived in the Northwest of the Pacific which is now Washington and Oregon were able to access Wapato and salmon in abundance.
Those people who live in the southwest of Pueblo, what is now called New Mexico and Arizona were able to gather a lot of pine nuts and cactus fruits. They were also able to catch a lot of birds and rabbits which they used as a source of meat.
People who lived in the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains such as the Ute, Blackfoot, and the Sioux, ate a lot of mammoths. However, when all the mammoth died out, they turned to buffalo meat which they were able to access in abundance. They hunted, cut into pieces, dried and lastly, smoked buffalo meat to eat for a long time. Also, Paiute and Ute people were able to gather a lot of pine nuts from the sunflower seeds and trees.
Those who lived in the furthest east along Missouri and Mississippi rivers were able to gather a lot of berries and nuts as well as eat fish they got from the rivers. Cree people who lived along the Great Lakes ate a lot of wild rice they got from the wetlands and fish they got from the Great Lakes.
In the East Coast where the Algonquin and Iroquois lived, fish, pigeons, turkey and venison were available in abundance. Some of them hunted bears for their fatty meats. They also gathered a lot of acorns and sunflower seeds that they used to make bread. To make their food sweeter, they used honey and maple syrup which they added to their bread, vegetables, tea and other foods. On the South East lived Cherokee people who ate a lot of cornbread, turtles as well as sweet potatoes.
American Native Food in 1000 BC
In 1000 BC, people started to discover a variety of farming techniques that changed the way they accessed and ate food. In fact, it is at this time that people began to engage in serious farming. They were able to plant beans and corns which they got from Pre-Olmec individuals who lived in the Mexico.
They planted corn and used them to make bread. Later they realized how to make tortillas, tacos, and pintos we eat today. By 1000 AD they had discovered how to prepare a lot of meals that have evolved to what we eat today. They were able to prepare succotash, a stew that was made with bear fat, mat, and corns.
We can say that the food we eat today evolved from what was eaten by the Native Americans. Just like today, their main drink was water, but more often, they would drink herbal tea as a practice of healthy living. They made tea using sassafras and added a lot of things that included, corn silk and pumpkins to make it much better. In California, people made green drinks that are similar to today’s lemonade by adding lemonade berries to water.
As you can see, American Natives were only able to access, prepared and eat what they could hunt and gather. It is also clear that they had not discovered a lot of things at that time and it is possible that they ate most of their foods raw. With today’s education and technological advancements, people have realized different ways to prepare and make their food much better without altering the original ingredients. Visit 3 week diet review to learn more about healthy diets for today’s lifestyle.