Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kitchen Adventures from Jeannie and Rick's Travels

Not being a very adventurous cook. I had never cooked wild rice before.  Jeannie, our middle daughter, is a long-distance bicyclist.  A year ago last summer, she rode many miles in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Her husband Rick plays coach and always accompanies her with the truck to keep her as safe as possible.  When they don’t opt for a motel, they sleep on beds in the truck. 
Last Christmas Jeannie gave all the family members lovely gift baskets with discoveries from their summer bike journey.   One item, which did not last long, was a large yummy iced cinnamon roll in the shape of a mound and called Sin-A-Mound. .  It had come from the Sinsinawa Bakery at the home of the Dominican Sisters at the Sinsinawa Mound in Southwest Wisconsin. Their website explains:
’“Mound Bread’ became famous for its homemade flavor among a growing crowd of admirers in the 1960s and ’70s. People who visited Sinsinawa Mound experienced the wonderful homemade baked goods and wanted more. Although the Sisters never intended to sell it, the bread was so tasty that word spread and the demand continued to grow as the product advertised itself. Today, close to 70,000 baked goods are sold to friends and guests every year. Your purchase helps support the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters as they continue their mission of preaching and teaching the Gospel.”
Jeannie’s basket also had jar of strawberry-rhubarb jelly.  I saved it for guests since Gerald and I try to use the sugarless kind of jelly; but we did, of course, indulge a bit when this jelly was on the breakfast table for others. That too has been long gone; and consequently, I can’t remember what interesting road side place it came from or whether it was from Wisconsin or Minnesota...
But the pound plastic bag of wild rice was still in my kitchen cabinet until the other day. The directions saying I needed to cook the rice for 45-60 minutes always discouraged me since I am  usually in a hurry and don’t want to be in the kitchen that long making sure something does  not burn.  (The truth is I am a habitual burner, but that long cooking time seemed like a promise to burn if I did not stay and supervise the pot.)
This rice was grown and harvested by the Red Lake Indian Nation in Red Lake, Minnesota.  Until I started studying the Cherokee, I had no idea that there existed sovereign nations within the borders of the United States, but they do.  And evidently this Red Lake Nation, which represents a band of Chippewa Indians, is one of those nations.  If I understood their website, these people separated themselves somewhat from other Chippewa bands because they wanted to continue to hold in common rather than individuals owning land.  Their population is given as 11,422 citizens.  The two joined areas of the Red Lake are featured in their logo in appreciation of the lake providing fresh water and food-- walleye. Here’s a tidbit from their fascinating website:
“The Red Lake Band of Chippewa, through treaties and agreements in 1863 (amended 1864), 1889, 1892, 1904 and 1905, gave up land but never ceded the main reservation surrounding Lower Red Lake and a portion of Upper Red Lake. The unceded land is regarded as the "diminished" reservation and "aboriginal" land. It is comprised of 407,730 acres. In addition, there are 229,300 acres of surface water area.”

The tribal government has full sovereignty over the reservation, subject only to federal legislation specifically intended for Red Lake, which makes it a "closed" reservation. The Tribe has the right to limit who can visit or live on the reservation.” 

The reservation completely surrounds Lower Red Lake, the largest inland lake within the borders of Minnesota, and includes a major portion of Upper Red Lake.  The land is slightly rolling and heavily wooded, with 337,000 acres of woodlands under management. There are numerous lakes, swamps, peat bogs and prairies.”
I cheated and cooked the rice in a slow cooker, so I did not have to be in the kitchen.  It turned out chewy and very good.  The skins separated from the kernels, so I am not sure it looked as it would have if I had followed directions, which I intend to do with the wild rice still remaining.
Now I am looking forward to honey for Thanksgiving from this Freeport family.  When Rick was a high school youth, he had a hobby/business of bee hives and the equipment to strain the honey.  Throughout Jeannie and Rick’s marriage, this large two-or- three foot stainless steel container has moved with them.  I thought it was a lovely thing and tried to figure out how they might use it somehow as a piece of furniture, but it always remained in garage or attic storage.   Now Rick has restarted his hobby and placed bee hives on a friend’s land, and he harvested his first honey. Since my daddy was a beekeeper like some of his Craig relatives,  I am extremely pleased that Rick has taken up his hobby again and we have a beekeeper in the family.  


eva natiello said...

Can't wait to hear what's in this Christmas basket! By the way, you've inspired me not to burn the burgers next time!

Proverbs 31 said...

OH Sue - how good it is to read notes from Woodsong again. I'm remembering so many things from Red Room. I used to feel I knew your family. Thank you for posting.

Sue Glasco said...

Thank you Eva and Sharon. I am grateful that Red Room friends are able to keep in touch.