Welcome to the Native American Food Museum by Tina Tenenholtz - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Welcome to the Native American Food Museum by Tina Tenenholtz ENTER Helpful Cooking Tools Press for Curator Recipes Native American Food Museum Museum Entrance How Natives Get Food Museum Entrance Native American Recipes Add Artifact 6 Room 2 Add Artifact 8

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Welcome to the Native American Food Museum

by Tina Tenenholtz


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Helpful Cooking Tools


for Curator


Native American Food Museum

Museum Entrance

How Natives Get Food

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Museum Entrance

Native American Recipes

Add Artifact 6

Room 2

Add Artifact 8

Add Artifact 5

Add Artifact 7

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Museum Entrance

How Natives Get Food to Eat

Add Artifact 9

Room 3

Add Artifact 12

Add Artifact 11

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Museum Entrance

Helpful Cooking Tools

Room 4

Add Artifact 13

Add Artifact 14

Add Artifact 15

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Native American Food Pyramid

Before the Europeans arrived, the Native Americans had a fairly healthy lifestyle. Their diets included hunted meat, plants, berries, and fruits.

After the Europeans came, the food supply started to deplete. There was less food due to all of the Pioneers arriving in the New World. It was beginning to become hard to hunt because of war, the introduction of railroads, and the senseless killing of bison by the Europeans. With all of these factors, it was hard to stay healthy.

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Ways Native Americans Cooked

Natives had several ways to cook their food. They cooked food over a fire or pit. Meat and other foods were boiled, deep fried, or roasted, just to name a few.

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Hot Rock Cooking

This technique was mainly used to prepare large amounts of food that required long, slow cooking.

These underground “ovens” had different layers to cook foods that were inedible or even poisonous. Meat can also be roasted using this method. These “ovens” are still used today in some areas of the world.

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Click here for directions on how to make an underground oven.

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  • How to Make an Underground Oven

  • Dig a shallow hole or pit.

  • Build a fire in the pit.

  • Place large rocks like limestone or basalt on top of the burning wood. After several hours these rocks will be glowing and reach over 750 degrees.

  • Add a large layer of green plants. Wet grass or prickly pear pads work best.

  • Put the food on top of the green plants.

  • Add another layer of green plants. This will produce steam and it will keep the food from getting dirty and keep it from burning.

  • Cover with a thick layer of dirt. This will serve as a lid.

  • Depending on what is being cooked, some foods would be kept underground for two or three days.

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This trick was used to separate seeds from stems, husks, or other debris. Native Americans would place the seeds in a flat basket or tray. After tossing them in the air, the wind would blow away unwanted materials. If it wasn’t windy enough, this wouldn’t work quite as well. If it was too windy, the seeds would blow away. The seeds were then ready to be used.

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Corn Soup

Ingredients2 cups cooked corn1/2 lb. salt pork2 large onions, sliced3 cups potatoes, boiled and diced4 cups hot whole milk2 cups boiling waterSalt and pepper to taste

DirectionsCut pork into 1/2 inch cubes; add onion and cook slowly 5-10 minutes, stirring until transparent but not browned.Add corn, potatoes, hot milk and boiling water.Season to taste and serve hot.Goes well with fry bread.

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Dipped Squash Blossoms


2 dozen Squash Blossoms gathered early in the morning

3/4 cup of milk

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup cooking oil


Thoroughly mix flour, milk, and salt. Place squash blossoms in shallow pan and spoon flour mixture over them, coating all sides. Heat oil in large skillet until at high temperature. Spoon batter-coated blossoms into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper toweling and serve hot. For those with a taste for the spicy, sprinkle with a little New Mexico style red chili.

Good with a dish of refried pinto beans, pueblo succotash, and Indian tortillas.

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Indian Fry Bread


4 cups white flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder


Combine all ingredients. Add about 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water and knead until dough is soft but not sticky. Shape dough into balls the size of a small peach. Shape into patties by hand; dough should be about l/2 inch thick. Make a small hole in the center of the round.

Fry one at a time in about l inch of hot lard or shortening in a heavy pan. Brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with honey or jam.

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Sweet Potato Cakes

Ingredients4 large sweet potatoes3 eggs1 1/2 teaspoons salt1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper1 Tablespoon cooking oil


Parboil sweet potatoes until tender; peel and mash.Mix in eggs, salt, pepper.Heat oil on large griddle until a drop of water sizzles.Drop potato batter from a large spoon; brown on both sides.As you turn the pancakes, flatten them with a spatula slightly.Add oil on the griddle as needed.Serve hot with butter or honey.

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Native American tribes that lived near the coasts also fished for food. They enjoyed salmon and clams along with other fish and shellfish. In the summer, Native tribes could catch enough salmon for an entire winter.

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Native Americans hunted for food any place they could. They firmly believed in not wasting food, so if they killed an animal for any reason, they put a lot of effort into using every part of it. Favorite meats included buffalo, elk, caribou, deer, and rabbit. They also hunted ducks, geese, and turkeys. It was not unusual for the Natives to eat porcupines, monkeys, and snakes. The men would do the hunting while the women would gather roots, berries, and nuts.

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In the Southern part of America, agriculture was extremely advanced. To improve their farming, Natives had to use different farming techniques like crop rotation, irrigation, and planting windbreaks. The farmers had to use stone hatchets, pointed sticks, hoes, and bone shovels to farm on their land. Crops grown for food included squash, beans, and corn (also known as maize); these three crops were also know as the Three Sisters. These three foods depended on each other, and grow in the same area. The beans grew up the corn stalks, with the squash in between, providing the nitrogen that the soil needs for growth.

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Collecting of different foods that grow in the wild is called gathering. Foods commonly gathered include blueberries, acorns, and maple syrup. Depending on where the tribes lived would determine what types of foods they would be able to gather and the types of tools to be used for gathering. For example, a tap was needed to get the syrup out of Maple trees.

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Fishing Spears

Men typically used spears to catch fish. Spear fishing was considered a man’s job and done usually in the winter (ice fishing) or spring. Fishing with a hook and string was usually a woman’s job.

Spears were made from wood with points made from bone. After the Europeans arrived they used metal. Spears would have single or triple points on them depending on the size of the fish being caught.

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The Adobe Oven

Adobe ovens, also known as Hornos in Spanish, have been around for hundreds of years. They are outdoor ovens that are made from natural adobe brick.

Inside you will find a stone base that retains heat. Before cooking in an horno, a fire should burn to at least 350 degrees. It will take about two hours to reach that temperature. If the horno turns black, it is too hot.

After about 35 minutes, you will have a delicious, perfectly baked loaf of bread. Of coarse, the horno can also be used to cook other foods.

In some parts of the Southwest, Hornos are still being used in restaurants, hotels, and even homes.

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Cradle Boards

The cradle board was a typical North American baby carrier that was used by women to carry a child. It was a resting place for the child so the mother can do her daily chores, including cooking. Babies were bound and wrapped, feeling safe and secure. Using cradle boards helped the mothers move freely about when cooking daily meals.

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Native American Food Processors

This tool required a lot of human energy in order to pound, crush, and grind seeds, grains, or nuts.

A mortar was the “bowl” where the food was placed to be pounded, crushed… These were often hollowed-out logs or a depression in a flat rock. The pestle (a long rounded stone or wooded stick with a rounded end) would be used to pound the food. The Natives would then have to raise the pestle up and down, resulting in the food being ground up. This tool closely resembles a butter churn.

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Basket for Gathering Berries

This was a typical woven basket. Native Americans used something like this in many different ways. Berries or other fruits, nuts, or roots were collected in baskets. Children would have them attached to their belts so they can help with the chores. Once smaller baskets were filled, they were dumped into larger ones. Often children wove their own baskets.

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Tina Tenenholtz

Tina Tenenholtz is a 5th Grade Social Studies Specialist at O’Roarke Elementary School. She has been working at O’Roarke since it opened in August of 2008. She has been teaching for the Clark County School District since 2002. Before moving to Las Vegas, Mrs. Tenenholtz taught for six years in Chicago, Illinois.

Mrs. Tenenholtz currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband and two young daughters. Spending time with her family is one of her priorities in life. She enjoys taking Mia and Angeli to the park and cooking different meals for her family and friends.

You can contact Mrs. Tenenholtz at


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