The other day while looking in the mirror and admiring my ridiculously high cheekbones I said to myself, “Manhattan Infidel, you love to cook. And you’re proud of your 1/32 Cherokee heritage. Why not combine the two?”
Yes I know that my fellow Cherokee Elizabeth Warren has already done this and while I don’t want to criticize a tribe member there are a few traditional Cherokee recipes she left out. And so I dive into that void. Please enjoy these traditional Cherokee dishes that my parents used to cook while reciting family folklore about the struggles of native Americans.
This is a traditional and delicious native American treat. Family folklore tells of my ancestors preparing pasta every night as they huddled around the fire engaging in Cherokee activities such as going to drive-ins, watching Johnny Carson on TV and dividing up their casino profits. Simply buy some Ronzoni pasta, throw in a pot over a stove and prepare some sauce. See how simple? Who says preparing native American dishes was complicated?
Cherokee Franks and Beans
If you love history like I do then you are familiar with how the Cherokee Nation first introduced the white man to Franks and beans – a traditional native American food enjoyed by warriors for centuries. Simply buy some hot dogs (known in family folklore by their traditional Cherokee name of “White man’s food by-product”) and some baked beans (preferably Heinz, the brand of baked beans my ancestors ate on the Trail of Tears). Combine the two and enjoy. I dare say your cheekbones will get higher just eating this tasty Cherokee treat.
Family folklore tells how the native American village my ancestors lived in was visited by General Custer and how they offered him pizza, a dish unknown to the white man. Pizza, or in Cherokee, “Matafusha be nagafoochuck”, which I believe translates as “cheese, sauce and bread” bridged the gap between Europeans and native Americans. Of course Custer later burned the village to the ground and slaughtered the inhabitants when he discovered that they didn’t have deep dish. But that’s a story for another day.
Bonus: Cherokee Pub Crawl
So you’ve had some delicious Cherokee food. Why not wet your whistle with another traditional Cherokee activity: the Pub Crawl! Family folklore has many tales of my ancestors bonding native American style by going from bar to bar while enjoying traditional Cherokee activities such as hitting on college students, playing darts, stealing coasters and vomiting in alley ways.
And there you have it readers. May you find as much joy and contentment in Cherokee heritage as I do. (1953)