FOOD PRACTICES OF OKLAHOMA’S
References to these dishes are taken from interviews with some of the Indian Territory Freedmen during the 1930's WPA Federal Writers Project (WPA) Many of these slaves had been slaves on the Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes, and they lived and practiced the culture and customs of the nations where they had been enslaved. Though many of these nations today do not wish to acknowledge that they had Africans live in their nations the fact is that the slaves, former slaves and their descendants continued to live in the tradition in which they had been raised. Indian Territory was their home, their language was that of the nation where they were born and enslaved and the culture that they practiced was that of their fellow compatriots. Though denied many of the priveleges of citizenship, these African Native people shared the same diet, language, and traditions of the land of their birth----Oklahoma.
In regards to food, corn was a main staple of the Indian diet, and thus of the Black Indian diet. Ash cakes, Tom Fuller, variations of hominy and others were common fare in their Black Indian world. Many of the Black Indians spoke of their diets and some of their rememberances of their food ways are recorded here to illustrate their traditions.
Common Food Eaten by Choctaw Freedmen
-Hickory Nut Grot
As described by Polly Colbert Choctaw Freedwoman
"We cooked all sorts of Indian dishes: Tom-fuller, pashofa, hickory-nut grot, Tom-budha, ash-cakes, and pound cakes besides vegetables and mat dishes. Corn or corn meal was used in all de Indian dishes. We made hominy out'n de whole grains. Tom-fuller was made from beaten corn and tasted sort of like hominy."
"We would take corn and beat it like in a wooden mortar wid a wooden pestle. We would husk it by fanning it and we would den put in on to cook in a big pot. While it was cooking we'd pick out a lot of hickory-nuts, tie em up in a cloth and beat em a little and drop em in and cook for a long time. We called dis dish hickory-nut grot. When we made pashofa we beat de corn and cook for a little while and den we add fresh pork and cook until de meat was done. Tom-budha was green corn and fresh meat cooked together and seasoned wid tongue or pepper-grass."
Common Food Eaten by Creek Freedmen
-Pounded Hickory Nuts
-Roasted Green Corn
As Described by Lucinda Davis, Creek Freedwoman
"When you make de sofki you pound up de corn real fine, den pour in de water and drain it off to get all the little skin off'n de grain. Den you let de grits soak and den boil it and let it stand. Sometime you put in some pounded hickory nut meats. Dat make it real good."
Common Food Eaten by Chickasaw Freedmen
As Described by Kiziah Love, Chickasaw Freedwoman
"One of our choices dishes was "Tom Pashofa" an Indian dish. We'd take corn and beat it in a mortar with a pestle. They took out the husks with a riddle and a fanner. The riddle was a kind of sifter. When it was beat fine enough to got through the riddle we'd put it in a pot and cook it with fresh pork or beef. We cooked our bread in a Dutch oven or in the ashes."
Creek Women Making Sofkey