Native American cusine helped create southern style dishes

Explore Native American influence on southern food

Native American ingredients and traditions helped create the unique culinary culture of the South.     
Home-style food, country cooking, soul food, Southern-styleówhatever you call it, these words alone can make your stomach begin to rumble. Your mind may conjure the sound of a bubbling pot of beans, the recognizable scent of greens simmering in a pan, and the sight of golden-brown cornbread awaiting its chance to join with potlikker and set your taste buds to dancing.
Food carries traditions that cross gender, racial, and religious lines, as well as crossing centuries of time. It allows us to find connection with our past and with people we will never have the opportunity to meet.William Faulkner once said, ìMan didnít necessarily eat his way through the world but by the act of eating and maybe only by that did he actually enter the world.
Scholars have said that Southern food was born by using African methods to prepare European recipes with Native American ingredients. This continent held a bounty of foods never seen before outside of this hemisphere. New inhabitants of the Americas had to learn from the indigenous population how to use those riches to survive in this strange new world. We will discuss lessons that were learned and forgotten, the adaptation of age old traditions and recipes, and the slow but sure creation of a new culinary tradition in this land we call the South.
Join a park interpreter at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, to explore the Native American origins of many well-known and beloved Southern dishes, plus you will have a chance to try some of these foods! Meals in the South and for many Native American groups were a social event, so bring your friends, your family, and (most importantly) your appetite. Come early before the food runs out!
Admission:  $3 per person, under 6 free
     Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park is in Lonoke County just southeast of Little Rock.  It is a day-use park dedicated to Native American education, research and preservation. The park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Information on Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park can be found online at: HYPERLINK "http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/toltec/" http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/toltec/.
     For more information, contact:  Emilee Baker, Park Interpreter, Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park, 490 Toltec Mounds Rd., AR 72142; phone:  501-961-9442; e-mail: emilee.baker@arkansas.gov.

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