The chefs of traditional American Indian cuisine, Lois Ellen Frank and Walter Whitewater, visited St. Petersburg. They held a series of master classes on cooking Native American cuisine for chefs of St. Petersburg restaurants and hotels, as well as for students of the SWISSAM culinary school.
For more than 25 years, she has been studying the national cuisine of the Indians of the Southwest of the United States, and the result of her research is the book Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations, which contains recipes for traditional and modern Indian cuisine.
The second guest from Santa Fe is Walter Whitewater, the leader of the Navajo tribe. He is known in his home country as one of the best specialists in traditional Indian cuisine, as he is a regular participant in cooking shows on the Food TV Network and Iowa public television IPTV. He also advised Lois Frank on a book about Southwestern Indian food.
A correspondent of the Voice of America Russian Service attended several master classes.
“I don’t want our kitchen to be a museum piece”
“The whole world knows Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”. But in Russia, few people know that America has its own “three sisters”, i.e. three staples of traditional Native American cuisine: corn, beans, and squash.”
With these words began a press release sent out from the US Consulate General with an invitation to master classes of Indian chefs.
Lois Frank, speaking with visitors to her classes, developed this idea. She recalled that today there is a lot of talk about the fact that Europe has had a great cultural impact on America. But the New World also rendered an invaluable service to the Old.
including in the field of cooking. Only after the campaigns of the Spanish conquistadors did tomatoes, zucchini, corn, cocoa, red pepper, peanuts, potatoes and many other foodstuffs appear in Europe. “Can you imagine Russian or German cuisine today without potatoes?” asks Lois Frank.
However, despite the extensive penetration of vegetables from America to Europe, it turned out to be completely impossible to find some of the necessary ingredients for cooking real Indian food in St. Petersburg stores. And in this case.
we are not talking about those products on the supply of which the Russian embargo is imposed as “counter-sanctions”. In the assortment – both supermarkets and delicatessen boutiques – were previously absent, for example, blue maize and special varieties of chili peppers, the necessary preparation of sauces.
It turned out that the missing elements specifically for the master classes of Lois Frank and Walter Whitewater were delivered to St. Petersburg through diplomatic mail channels.
In an interview with the correspondent of Voice of America, Lois Frank said that for her teaching other people how to cook Indian dishes is more than just a profession. “If we do not pass on from generation to generation our knowledge of how to cook our food.
how to grow corn and harvest, then part of our culture will simply disappear. I don’t want our kitchen to be like a museum piece behind glass,” she said. – Therefore, I think that you need to ask your relatives – mothers and grandmothers, how they prepare food, the recipes of which are known only to them. If one link in the chain of generations is lost, our traditions will not be restored,” Lois Frank worries.
“The result exceeded all expectations!”
The words of the chef from Santa Fe turned out to be very consonant with what Anastasia Tereshkova, one of the participants in the master class at the SWISSAM school, said.
“Here, under the guidance of Lois and Walter, we prepared dessert. It is very simple and delicious, and by the way, since childhood I loved to watch my grandmother cook. And she did something very similar,” recalled the student.
Anastasia had long since left the city where she grew up and had not tasted her grandmother’s delicacy for a long time, so she was very surprised when Native Americans from New Mexico began to teach her how to cook something similar to what she had loved since childhood.
“These are frozen berries that are covered with short crust pastry. Fresh sweet and sour taste, crispy crust, it’s all served with cream, and my grandmother did the same with sour cream. For me, these are memories of childhood, ”she said in an interview with the correspondent of the Voice of America Russian Service.
According to her, all the dishes seemed very interesting to her, and some elements were very unusual, and this gives the dishes a special taste. “When I asked what to add to the sautéed onions with garlic, I heard the answer: “And now – a little chocolate.” I was surprised, but when I tried it, the result exceeded all expectations,” Anastasia Tereshkova shares her impressions.
Chili pepper with marshmallow flavor
Another SWISSAM student named Ekaterina, who also attended the Santa Fe Chef Masterclasses, said she was most interested in blue corn. “I heard that corn comes in different colors, including this one, but I saw and tried it for the first time,” she admitted.
Ekaterina believes that American Indian dishes may well be in demand among St. Petersburg gourmets. “I tried purple bread, and it’s just amazingly delicious!”, – the participant of the master class admires.
In addition to the students of the culinary school, the secrets of the cuisine of the American Indians were comprehended by St. Petersburg professionals.
Oleg Filastin is the chef of the Parking Pribaltiyskaya hotel. He believes that any traditional cuisine has many interesting dishes that you can safely borrow. “It was a surprise to me that American Indian food, while seemingly simple.