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Traveling with Eli Part II and Native American Culinary Culture

Recipe Included!

Eli, the Iroquois sage, who I wrote about yesterday, represented Simme’s way of staying spiritually connected with the game started by native people. Coach was like that, a Renaissance man interested in art, history and culture as much as the game of lacrosse. I maintain that this part of his persona came from growing up around the Onondaga Reservation, playing games there as a youth, and being teammates at SU with many of the best players from there. If one looks at the Syracuse University Lacrosse rosters over the years you will notice that most of them have at least one Native player on them. Our team included the very talented attackman, with a gun for a shot, Emmett Printup (Niagara Wheatfield) and midfielder and martial arts bad boy Mark Burnham (Henninger). By the way, Simmie played on the 1957 undefeated SU team that included All-Americans and Hall of Famers Jim Brown (Manhasset) and Oren Lyons (Lafayette), traditional Chief of the Onondaga Nation, Iroquois Confederacy. When I think of Native American culinary culture I think of corn, which historically represented their staple grain. They would steam, ground, roast, bake, soak, pound, and ferment it. Each of these methods changed the flavor, texture, and nutritional value of the corn. They also used it in one of my favorite ways, to bake bread. Below is a sweet corn bread recipe that’s easy to make and great on cool fall mornings like we've had lately here in the gorgeous Hudson Valley.

Sweet corn bread recipe:

3/4 self-rising cornmeal
1 cup Spelt flour (it’s better tasting and healthier than white or wheat flour)
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla soymilk, (a fortified soy milk is a very good tasting healthy choice, I suggest the Vitasoy brand for newbies)
1 egg or egg substitute (beaten)
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp butter (Try I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter available at most supermarkets and Costco)


Preheat oven to 400; Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, egg and oil. Mix well. Spray a large cast iron skillet like the one in the photo or a 9 inch pie pan with Pam. Bake until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean (about 25 minutes). Melt butter and brush over the top of the bread when it comes fresh out the oven; serves 8.

Tomorrow I will return to traveling to Baltimore and eating Crab Cakes and other special foods from the Chesapeake region.

Baltimore Lacrosse and that Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Look

Traveling With Eli: Syracuse Lacrosse Road Trips in the 1980s