Yadao Inong, Traditional Foods

Eel is one of my favorite foods from our region — but I wasn’t always a fan.  If you’ve ever seen lamprey eel you will know it is isn’t one of the most glamorous looking foods — in fact I’m sure there have been many horror movies that have used the idea of the lamprey to create a monster that would terrify us.  It has a mouth that seems like just a sucking hole lined with teeth — and really…does it have eyeballs?  I never got past the mouth.

Lucky for me one of the Humboldt Del Norte County Master Food Preservers brought some smoked and canned eel to one of our meetings to share.  What I discovered for myself is that eel is a comfort food for me.  With that smoky flavor and oily delicious flesh, I think eel hits a part of me that is satisfied no other way.  If you ever get a chance to taste eel, I suggest you do yourself a favor and try it.  I’ve also had it deep fried and, well — I’ve never met a deep fried food I didn’t like…but still smoked is my favorite.

I was very happy to have the opportunity to talk with a young man who grew up along the river and fished for eel and has been enjoying it all his life — Yadao Inong. I learned about fishing for eel and also about other traditional foods he grew up with.

Part 1 listen here, Part 2 listen here

This program was supported in part by the Northwest California Tribal Communities Extension Program, a USDA funded project through UC Cooperative Extension of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

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Klamath Salmon Festival

For the 56th year the Yurok people in Klamath are celebrating the life blood of the region — the salmon that come charging up the river!  This year the festival was very successful because the salmon were plentiful enough to be caught for this event — and were cooked in the traditional way making a very special lunch for many of us.  The streets were lined with vendors and stores in the community were open and celebrating as well.  Lena Hurd was busy weaving a basket in the booth that she was sharing with several others, many vendors were selling clothing with native designs, and I bought a beautiful fused glass dish with a raven design (and sure enough I called raven to my house with that bowl because he is visiting constantly and has lots to say!).  There was some fantastic music with a live band and a parade down the main street.

Listen here to the interview with Penny Gensaw while she and her family prepare the salmon barbeque to feed the hungry crowds.

This program was supported in part by the Northwest California Tribal Communities Extension Program, a USDA funded project through UC Cooperative Extension of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties

 

Lena Hurd, Acorns, Traditional Food Harvesting and Basket Making

I met the beautiful and super vivacious Lena Hurd at the Big Time event at Humboldt State University this past spring.  Introduced to her by Jessica Eden, after 10 minutes of talking about wanting to include more stories of traditional foods into our Food for Thought show, we had an invitation to her home in Cave Junction, Oregon.

First of all — I don’t know what to say first of all.  She was so gracious and gave us a tour of her home which was loaded with beautiful baskets and regalia (which she and other friends and family members made).  The home itself was a piece of art, and was full of other art pieces created by both her son and her husband.  I’m telling you this family got into line 12 times for artistic talent!  I was in complete stimulation overload — I didn’t know where to look first.

Then! She took the time and graciously shared information with me about gathering acorns and making acorn mush, gathering various food plants and sea vegetables, and making baskets.  Baskets are so part of making food, from baskets to trap eels, burden and storage baskets to carry plant materials and acorns, and cooking baskets.  One of the things I learned was that baskets were made to be used — and baskets that are kept on museum shelves eventually become brittle and die.  They need to be handled and need the oils from our hands to keep them alive.

Of the many journeys I’ve taken over the years this was quite possibly the very best.  Practically in my own backyard (Oregon), such a rich and wonderful experience learning so much from Lena Hurd.

Acorns, Traditional Food Gathering

Part 1 Basket Weaving, Part 2 Basket Weaving

Basket Weaving coming soon!

This program was supported in part by the Northwest California Tribal Communities Extension Program, a USDA funded project through UC Cooperative Extension of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties