Yucca, three-leaf sumac and chiltepin are all staple ingredients in Indigenous recipes, but the rich history of Indigenous cooking is often forgotten or overlooked, especially in Western kitchens. To highlight Indigenous recipes, ingredients, and chefs, Indigenous chef organization I-Collective, has created “A Gathering Basket,” a cookbook created for and by Indigenous chefs and home cooks.
“A Gathering Basket” differs from a traditional cookbook in the sense that it is more of a living document. Composed of digital issues of recipes, essays, and embedded videos, the multimedia document will continue to grow and expand over time. The expansive nature of the project also highlights the great diversity of Indigenous cooking traditions and recipes, which cannot be summarized in one static book. Recipes include both sweet and savory items, like one for squash pudding bars, created by Indigenous chef Kristina Stanley, which features cassava flour, pepitas, and maple syrup.
The first issue of the cookbook, released this week, features a series of essays by Karlos Baca addressing the history of the chiltepin, a type of pepper. The issue will also include recipes featuring yucca as a primary ingredient, as well as information about the use of yucca in making soap, thread, and shoes.
The project was funded with support from the Food and Farm Communications Fund, the First Nations Development Institute, and a GoFundMe page. Subscribers are asked to pay $30 for five issues, with scholarships available to expand access for Indigenous people. Subscribers also have access to live discussions on topics like Indigenous food sovereignty.