Here are a couple of Thanksgiving recipes for our Southern California table, and a bibliography of Native stories and activities for Thanksgiving and beyond.
November in L.A. is Native American Heritage Month. We usually have big events, including a pow-wow at Grant Park downtown, a pow-wow at CSUN, and the Intertribal marketplace at the Autry Museum. Ask your kids to please refrain from dressing like Pilgrims and Indians to celebrate Thanksgiving, and to learn more about the Indigenous tribes of Los Angeles: the Gabrieino-Tongva, the Chumash, and the Fernadeno Tataviam people. (See Bibliography, Page 13)
Pumpkin Sage Biscuits
(not a vegetarian version)
Use any size biscuit cutter. For a big meal like Thanksgiving, a small, maybe 1 ½-inch cutter might be right. I have also used a pumpkin-shaped cutter for these.
2 C all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1 Tbs light brown sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp baking soda
10 -12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
6 cTbs butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/3 C buttermilk, cold and well-shaken
¾ C pumpkin puree (from a 15 ounce can)
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9” x 9” pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
In bowl of electric mixer, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Lightly stir in chopped sage. Drop cubes of cold butter into flour and blend on low speed until mixture looks like coarse meal, with a few pieces of butter still visible. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. Add to flour mixture and blend until dough comes together. If dough is too moist, add flour.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and pat into a circle about ½-inch thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter, stamp out biscuits and transfer to a prepared pan, placing biscuits close together and close to the sides of the pan. Gently reform dough and pat out again. Cut out more biscuits, repeat.
Bake biscuits for 10 minutes; remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Return to oven for another two minutes and bake until risen and lightly golden. Will keep in an air-tight container for two days. You may also make the dough, pat it out, wrap it in plastic, refrigerate overnight, cut and bake the next day.
Cherokee campfire baked apples
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C chopped pecans
4 tsp dried currants or raisins
1/8 tsp cinnamon
4 baking apples
4 tsp butter
In a small bowl combine brown sugar, pecans, currants, and spice. Core apples from the top, making a large enough hole in center of apple for filling without cutting the skin at the bottom. Place one teaspoon of butter in each apple, followed by a tablespoon of the filling. Wrap each apple tightly in aluminum foil, place top down directly on hot coals for five minutes. Using tongs, turn apples right side up and continue to bake 3-5 minutes longer. Serves 4.