March 6, 2009

I'll Never Tell

I’m not supposed to write about this. Strict orders from the spousal unit. But you KNOW I’m going to. By now you should know I’m a trouble maker.

So promise you won’t tell a soul. I’d hate to kill anyone with my super powers.

We found native Indian relics (pot shards, etc) on our property where we are building our home. Quite of lot of them. In Arizona that could mean stopping the process of building our home and dealing with graduate anthropology students from Yale pitching damn tents all over the place, smoking sage joints, and dragging out their drums for crazy ass ceremonies honoring the dead Indians. Right on the spot where my Thermador is going!!! I’m as National Geographic as the next person, but, hell-to-the-NO to a dig on our property….I’m building my kitchen!

(I will never tell where our property is...but it's somewhere on that map...go ahead, send me to Gitmo and those weak sister water boards. I'll never talk.)

And just so you know that I am culturally sensitive (I’ve waved a few sage sticks around in my time) - we DID check around covertly about what to do about it, but generally we were told, “yeah, there’s a lot of the stuff all over the place out there”, and no one seemed particularly concerned or excited. The area is a deeply researched and cataloged area of the Sinagua people that migrated down from northern Arizona (Flagstaff area) and settled all over central Arizona (our land). And we ARE being super careful about anything we do find and respectful of the general idea we aren’t the first to think our property is pretty damn great. But it is pretty cool to look down and find pieces of someone’s cookery right there, lying on the ground, from some several hundred years ago. And it looks nothing like All-Clad.

I like wandering around, picking up shards and thinking about what it must have been like to cook back then. Well, first of all, evidently, you had to make your own pot. No running down to Williams Sonoma for a Le Creuset Dutch Oven, that’s for sure!!

First Native American: “I’m hungry”

Second NA: “Good grief, you just ate 3 days ago!”

First NA: “Woman! Go get me some meat!”

Second NA, sighs…picks up her spear, heads out. Stops to make a clay pot, and have a baby. Runs cross country about 8 miles to water hole, then crawls in the brush to ambush a big elk. Takes a breather and makes a pot. Throws her spear, then jumps on the elk’s back, wrestling it to the ground. Butchers 800 pound elk, making 12 pairs of shoes with the hide. Takes a break and nurses the baby. Packs the meat back to camp. Digs a fire pit to smoke the elk. Runs down to the crops planted by the creek and harvests corn, squash, and beans. Makes a couple more pots. Starts making dinner. Rattlesnake tries to bite the baby and she ties it in a knot. Makes some more pots.

First NA: “Isn’t dinner ready yet, woman?”

Second NA: “Pipe down, will you? It’s almost done!”

Second NA makes a set of 12 pottery plates (with artistic black squiggles) and fills one with smoked elk tenderloin with a juniper berry sauce and a medley of fresh corn and squash. Complemented by bean cakes, topped with fresh dandelion greens.

First NA: “Oh brother…elk again?”

I think that’s when the pots got smashed.

This recipe has nothing to do with anything I just wrote about. But it’s very good. And I took a picture of them perched on a big pot shard. I hope it was the one she used to bop her spousal unit on the head with.

Butterscotch and Salted Pine Nut Cookies
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 bag butterscotch chips
Handful of pine nuts
2 big pinches sea salt
1. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each egg. Add vanilla.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture.
3. Stir in butterscotch chips.
4. Toast pine nuts in small skillet until barely turning brown and fragrant…toss with sea salt. Stir into cookie dough.
5. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on racks.


Mary said...

Hi C,

Learned a long time ago not to offer my two cents worth when folks are weighing difficult alternatives. The Yale kids, aren't all bad (I've raised a few.) I really, really like your cookies.

toontz said...

It's not like the shards are you, bones! Then I think you MIGHT have to relent and let the Yale students do their thing. :) (or the FBI, depending on the age of said bones). Make a mosaic of the shards and hang it in your new kitchen!

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Oh Mary! I hope I didn't offend you with my remarks about Yale!!! I really meant - Harvard.
How was your trip!!!???

toontz, I thought of that...but for now I'm just taking a few and leaving the rest...we'll see. There surely is a lot. There was a lot of pot throwing!

Mary said...

I not only like your cookies, I like you as well!!! I'm not in the least offended. Trip was worth every cent it cost.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Just gonna keep it simple and say, I really like your cookies -pine nuts should be in cookies more often then they are. Got pinon trees on the land there?? ;)

Heather said...

Gasp! Shocking! It's against federal law or something!

That's really cool, actually. And besides, anything over 50 years old is considered a "cultural or historic resource" (no joke!), so even old Coke bottles count these days.

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"The Dish" by Catherine Wilkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.