Colonial Mushes

Editorial by Jonathan Garlow

Early morning games are tough for everyone. The Six Nations novice were down three goals. In the second period they started moving better everyone laughed when a dad from Six shouted “Lookout, the mush is startin’ to kick in!”


You can tell a lot about a people group by their food. Mush is a food that I’ve had to explain to my non-native friends as a teenager. Mush, is what others call “hot cereal” and is synonymous with oatmeal. To me, and many other reservation Indians that is the sacred morning ceremony — cooking mush with a wooden spoon.

Spending time around my father’s generation has taught me that there are many kinds of mushes. The only explanation I can come up with is that we took the horrible oatmeal from the Mush Hole a.k.a. the Mohawk Institute and spent the next few centuries perfecting it into something digestible like a cruel cultural fetish.

We have our own true mushes made from white corn, but this article isn’t about that.

Here is a small summary of the colonial mushes that I am familiar with. Please remember this is not a complete list of all mushes.

Large Flake oatmeal is the one that takes 10 minutes to cook, but it’s worth the extra love. The quick 1 minute oatmeal is rolled thinner, but the large flake is natural and gnarly.

Red River is the mush with little seeds and you got ‘ta be in the mood to chew. This mush was created in 1924 in Manitoba no less.

Cream of Wheat is my personal favourite. I would consider this a tier 2 mush, because it requires extra precision and timing when cooking to avoid lumpiness. Lumpy cream of wheat is a sin against humanity and against the Quakers.

Quaker Oat Bran is one step up the food chain to all other mushes. It’s similar to Cream of Wheat in cooking difficulty, but has a delicious oaty flavour. If you can cook Oat Bran without a single lump, you can pretty much do anything.

If you cannot afford these big budget mushes, you can buy plain corn meal and use it like Cream of Wheat. It’s basically a yellow mush.

I cannot write a story of mush without mentioning a curious style cooked by the ’69 Corner Garlows. It’s called “Witch Witch” soup and seems to be made with flour and it tastes as horrible as it sounds.

So that is the TRT mush round up and we recommend putting milk and brown sugar on everything but keep in mind that these mushes are colonizing foods that are terrible for our indigenous digestive systems.

Please mush accordingly.

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