A modern twist on traditional ingredients at the Healthy Roots dinner

NEW CREDIT – Before the meal was served at the Healthy Roots dinner last Saturday it was important to take time and give thanks for all that surrounds us — food, water, the earth, air and sky.

The three-course meal prepared by Chef Rich Francis and hosted by the Healthy Roots committee (Six Nations Health Services, The Two Row Times, Our Sustenance Greenhouse, and Kakhwa’on:we) was a great success. A time for friends and family to spend time together at the New Credit Community Hall and enjoy some of the different ways that Haudenosaunee foods can be treated.

“I think if the rest of Canada could experience food like this, they would absolutely love it,” said New Credit Chief R. Stacey LaForme. “A lot of people don’t know about all the different foods you can eat that are so local and good for you.”

Chef Francis of Six Nations did his best to cook food from the same menu that the participants in the 12-week Healthy Roots challenge must follow. The challenge requires participants to eat food that was only available before European contact.

“I wish I could say I would be able to follow the diet, but I don’t think I could,” said LaForme. “It would definitely be a real challenge to give up so much of the food I’m used to eating now.”

Chef Francis kicked off the meal with a duck breast salad dressed in a maple sap vinaigrette, followed by a main course of bison brisket that was cooked for 48-hours with oven-roasted cabbage.

“I’ve been on this kick lately of taking very humble ingredients and making them spectacular,” said Chef Francis. “It was a lot of fun designing this menu.”

The meal was finished off with a dessert of pressed apple with white corn tamales, apple spiced granite and hemp seed granola.

This dinner was an opportunity for people to join in with the challenge participants and experience some of the foods that they have been cooking at home. Michele General, Kenzie General and Doug Henhawk make up Team GenHawk and they were at the dinner.

Michele and Doug take turns cooking at home and they do a really good job following the challenge, but when it came to the meal prepared by Chef Francis, Michele jokingly said that “it blows Doug’s cooking out of the water”.

Dinner guests were entertained by local musician Logan Staats and his music helped set the mood of the dinner — comfortable, warm and relaxed.

“It was a delicious meal and having an opportunity to showcase such great local talent is fantastic,” said Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill. “I would love to be able to incorporate more of these foods into my diet.”

Hill said that it would be difficult to follow the diet as strictly as the challenge participants have been due to her schedule and how hard it would be to access these foods while she is out travelling, but she commends everybody for their hard work and thanked everybody involved in putting together the fun night out.

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