People around the world have added any number of small touches to the important function of eating. It seems to me that traditional cooking and eating makes people feel good. I believe that Osages Cooks have evolved the preparation of food in a very good way, knowing when to stop and enjoy. For me it is better than any other food I have tasted. As I write I am fully aware that our People have always been open to new ways of doing things, but for now we are doing very well with our traditional food. That is one thing in place that helps us continue to exist as a People.
Take Corn for example. The process of eating corn would begin in the early Spring when those Osages from earlier generations would dig up the surface of the earth and from the soil they had turned they would build small piles of that soil that would grow the best corn. Then they would make a small hole in the flat top of the small pile of soil and drop a few kernels of corn into the hole and cover it up and wait for some rain to help it grow.
The planting season and the time for harvest depended on the geography of where they lived. I do not remember the exact calendar date, but I am certain it was the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. I remember hearing several dates set aside as good planting periods, or moons that were best for planting.
Cultivating other vegetables is good, like squash and melons, they were a part of the diet of Osages. Like other Indian People, Osages were good hunters and knew how to blend different foods together.
When Osages reached the Great Plains buffalo meat and buffalo hunts became a part of the life of an Osage and there were many other forms of food like elk and deer that were well suited for cooking and eating.
The time and effort that goes into planting, harvesting, preserving corn and then cooking corn is a good example of what was required to exist in earlier times.
Osage People, like other tribal people, were taught early in life that many aspects of eating are important parts of sustaining life and there are aspects of food that are sacred. By leaving the ripe kernels of corn to dry in the hottest days of light of the Sun for four days allowed the kernels of corn to absorb the Sacred Sun. I do not remember the name of the Elder Indian who told me that first, but I remember asking other Elder Osages and Elder Indians other than Osages and all of them assured me it was true.
One of the first steps in cooking is building a fire, and to Osages the Cooking fire is sacred.
Those Osages who came before us were well prepared to face each day, confident that they were in touch with the One Who Created All Things. Present day Fire Builders do not use commercial liquid fire starting
It is my understanding that in those days there were prayers that opened a meal by expressing gratitude to the one who created all things, just as today.
Those Ancient Ones knew what they were doing. Today’s Cooks and Fire Makers are held in high esteem by those who eat the food they prepare, just as those Cooks and Fire Makers of the past.
Charles Red Corn
Original Publish Date: 2016-01-22 00:00:00