Nature

Reinventing diets: Food from our ancestors is making a comeback

Take trip down memory lane with indigenous chef

Pringles, Pop Tarts, Pepsi… all yummy, but not exactly natural.

To celebrate the food that we as humans are more genetically designed to need, a chef is taking a trip down memory lane to reintroduce our ancestral diet.

With a special focus on meats hunted by his forefathers, Sean Sherman creates delectable dishes using bison, deer species, river fish, and game birds.

[Credit: The Sioux Chef]

For the vegans out there, there are also plenty of plant-based recipes with ingredients such as mushrooms, squashes, corn ash, sunchokes, sassafras leaves, bergamot, wild rice, and berries.

Coining himself The Sioux Chef – in honour of his indigenous roots and a play on ‘sous chef’ [second-in-command in the kitchen] – Sherman hopes to reintroduce native flavours so that people can not only thrive on fresh produce but reclaim their culinary past.

Having grown up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the US state of South Dakota, he is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe who began as a group in the 18th century.

Reflecting on his lineage, Sherman said he wanted to know what his Lakota ancestors were eating and how they were they accessing the oils, salts, fats and sugars that they needed.

[Credit: The Sioux Chef]

Chatting about his work, Sherman said: “It took me quite a few years of just researching, but it really became a passion.

“Part of our challenge to ourselves was to cut out colonial ingredients, so we stopped using dairy, wheat flour, cane sugar.”

No sugar?! Gulp!

He added: “For indigenous people who went through intense assimilation, we lost a lot of our food culture. But we’re at a point now where we can reclaim it and evolve it for the next generation.”

Sherman is a big believer that sharing culture through food can lead to healing and connection.

[Credit: The Sioux Chef]

Working his way up from a dishwasher at a local steakhouse, Sherman is now the proud owner of his own restaurant, Owamni in Minneapolis.

On the menu, you can expect to experience the true flavours of North America, featuring foods of Mni Sota Makoce, known as ‘the land where the waters reflect the clouds’.

You’ll find delicacies such as game sausage, Red Cliff lake trout and persevered rabbit.  

For a taste of history, click here: The Sioux Chef.

[Credit: The Sioux Chef]

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