Sunday, October 12, 2008

Anyone want a Chinook olive?? Anyone??

Today we went for a Sunday drive up into Washington State. As we drove through one of the Native American reservations, I had a thought pop into my head. See, I love to cook and try out different cuisine. So I had this notion pop into my head to make some Native American cuisine, if I could get my hands on some recipes.

When I got home, I started googling, and unfortunately, thus far, everything I have found has been pretty vague. Like Wikipedia mostly just has a list of different foods by region, but hardly any pics, and not any recipes or really any insight into how to actually make some of these dishes. But, I got curious when I saw something called "Chinook olives."

We live in Chinook territory. The Chinookan Indians were a group of tribes indigenous to coastal Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. Most of the tribes and their members are now extinct. (Including the Clatsop Indians, the ones Lewis and Clark encountered at the end of their journey. In fact, their salt mine is a mile from my house.) There is a town 45 minutes from us called Chinook. We even have a variety of salmon called the Chinook Salmon (also called a Silver Salmon). So anyway, because I recognized the word Chinook, I figured I better look into this "long lost" culinary treasure from my own backyard.

But, you wanna know what a Chinook Olive actually is? Are you ready for it? (Hint: Its not really an olive.) According to Wikipedia, a Chinook Olive is....... An olive, buried in the ground under a thin layer of grass and dirt, then cured with a collection of urine from every member of that household. (I can see you grimacing!) And here's the kicker.... It was considered a delicacy!

"Hey kids! Come here! I need you to pee on this acorn for me!" No disrespect to the Chinookan people, but can you just imagine???? I'm sorry. I will eat things with my kids' spit and backwash in them, but I draw the line at eating their pee. I leave the pee-cured acorns for the chipmunks. (Which, on a totally random, unrelated tangent, we killed one on our drive today. What can I say? He didn't time his run across the highway very well.)

Anyway....yeah. The things you learn online.


Anonymous said...

Oh that sucks! I was hoping you'd found some cool recipe for some good indian (wa-wa-wa kind) food but no, you found some back woods rendition of a recipe for people who dont live in modern society! Hehehehe! That totally sounds like something I'd find! :)

Megan said...

I know! When I saw the title I was like, "Woohoo! Indian cuisine from my own backyard." Then, when I read what it actually was, I was like, "Oh, that is SO wrong!!" LOL