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November 2002 Issue
A Special Kind of Thanksgiving
by Victoria Smith
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I was born in Cortland County, New York, in the center of the state. When I was nine years old, I was adopted, and grew up at the New Jersey Shore. Two and a half years ago, we relocated and took up residence on forty beautiful acres that my Mom owned in Madison County, New York, right next door to Cortland County. My Mom has encouraged me to re-unite with my birth family, and I have done so. I have spent time with my biological parents and with my brother and sister, and their children.

Now that I am an adult, I can do this without pain.

I have learned a number of things about my background from my siblings, among these that my ethnic heritage includes both Oneida and Onandaga forbears.

Now this knowledge does not prevent me from enjoying one of my favorite movies of all time, "Drums Along the Mohawk," with Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert, especially since we live so close to the Mohawk Valley. In fact, we shop at Riverside Mall, and the river in question is indeed the Mohawk.

We have been to the Cultural Center at Shako Wisconsin and I subscribe to the Oneida newsletter.

Now you may find it difficult to believe that a blue-eyed redhead, adopted by a green-eyed redhead, growing up in Lenape Territory (the Lenape were Native Americans indigenous to the New Jersey Shore) could return to the land of the People of the Long Houses, and know nothing about them.

So, I set about to do some research. Among the volumes of information that the Internet holds concerning these remarkable people, I found The Three Sisters Cookbook. From time to time, I will be sharing some of these recipes with you.

It seems only right that I should begin with six for Thanksgiving, 2002.


    Victoria Eileen Smith (Wolf Clan)


Squash and Corn with Tomatoes

  • 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ pound zucchini cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 ¼ pounds summer squash cut into ½ inch slices
  • ¾ pound corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 ¼ pounds tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 ounces canned green chilies, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced cilantro or parsley
Melt butter in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté zucchini, summer squash and corn 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, chilies and pepper to taste. Cover skillet and simmer 5-6 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and serve.
  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes


Cornbread Stuffing

Basic Cornbread
  • 1 c. yellow cornmeal
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. egg substitute
  • 2/3 c. skim milk
  • 1/2 c. plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. honey
Additional Ingredients
  • 1/4 c. minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 c. currants
  • 2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsps. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Prepare cornbread first. In medium bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In another bowl, beat egg substitute slightly. Add skim milk, nonfat yogurt and honey, mix well. Pour liquids over the dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix. Coat an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Pour batter into pan and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool thoroughly, then crumble into a bowl. Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme; saute 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in crumbled cornbread, parsley, currants, pecans and pepper. Remove from heat. Place in container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 1 hour

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