Children's LiteratureThis book is part of the publisher's series, "Exploring History through Simple Recipes." Other series titles include California Gold Rush Cooking, and Cooking in Nineteenth Century Whaling Ships. Gunderson, a food historian, presents each recipe in tandem with background information about the culture from whence it came. The directions are simple, and the foods are attractively presented. However, what is lacking is information about how these modern versions (using sugar and butter) depart from those of pre-Columbian days. Also, it seems awkward, not to mention misleading, to speak always of tribes like the Inuit and Hopi in the past tense, without reference to present-day members of these groups. If history is prologue, young people should be offered an understanding of the past in the context of today, and this is conspicuously missing here. 2001, Capstone Press, . Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library JournalGr 4-9-This nicely designed book attempts to provide basic information about the food, diet, and customs of various Native American peoples. It opens with a simple, straightforward overview of what Native peoples ate before 1500, explaining regional differences based upon climate and gradual changes in diet as trade routes developed. This general introduction is followed by eight brief chapters, each of which is devoted to a geographical region: the people who lived there, their lifestyles, climatic conditions, housing, food storage, and sometimes utensils or customs. Each chapter includes one recipe based upon the foods historically consumed by the area's indigenous populations, but it has been modernized and simplified for young cooks. There does not always seem to be a direct link between the recipe and the informational section. For example, the section on the Great Plains does not even mention pemmican or explain why that specific recipe is included. The book contains small color photographs, reproductions, and one map with no scale. Beverly Cox's Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1991) is thoroughly researched and has over 100 recipes. Students doing short reports on Native Americans and who need to find a recipe might find Gunderson's volume useful, but, overall, it attempts to do too much and its broad-stroke approach gives readers the idea that Native peoples within each of the geographic regions were all alike.-Dona J. Helmer, College Gate School Library, Anchorage, AK Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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