Monday, 5 March 2012

Berry Soup and Fry Bread

I grew up right next to the Blood Tribe. In fact, the highway that runs through my town separates the reserve from the rest of the town. Unfortunately, this isn't the only thing that separates the Blood Reserve and town.

I wouldn't say that the town I grew up in is actually racist at all. (Of course, I'm looking at this all through white colored lenses). Rather, there's just kind of a feeling of separation. Not of hostility, but just apathy towards interaction.

This feeling, more than anything, contributes to the general lack of understanding between the two groups. Like I said, I'd like to believe that there isn't any major hostility present, just a feeling of indifference. If there is one thing, however, that breaks through the barriers and gets people interested in interacting, it's when the Blood Tribe starts to cook fry bread.

We all knew growing up that when we did our Native studies in elementary school, that someone would be coming by to cook fry bread, and these were some of the only times that we were excited to go to school. I honestly don't know how to make it, and I'm told it's not that difficult. But somehow the fry bread that gets made by the Blood Tribe is far better than other imposter fry breads that I have sampled. It's just better. Try to imagine what fry bread tastes like. Now imagine something better. You're not even close.

When we heard that the Native Association was holding a free berry soup and fry bread lunch at the university, we made plans immediately to be there. I had never had berry soup before, but it's made with Saskatoon berries, and as far as I'm concerned, there's never any need to do anything else with Saskatoon berries for as long as I live.

There were five or six girls hanging out dishing out the portions, and as we arrived a little late there wasn't anyone else dishing up. We took advantage of the opportunity to pester the girls about the soups and how they were made, and try to get them to give us the recipes, which they did not. Trish will be googling them to try and get you all a copy though.
(Success! Recipe at the bottom...)

The girls indulged our questions and nagging conversation just fine, most likely because we had Grayson with us and he's too cute to refuse. I've found that if you want to get to know someone, showing a genuine (that part is important) interest in their culture can open doors to conversation that otherwise wouldn't be available. They even let Grayson go in the child-sized tipi for a picture, which, by the way they will be raffling off at the university soon.

So food. Fry bread and berry soup. Not only was good, but we got to know some people that otherwise we may have been to timid to approach. I'll approach almost anyone for fry bread.

Traditional Berry Soup
   6 cups Saskatoon berries
   1 cup sugar
   8 cups water 
   1/3 cup flour
   1 cup water

     In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add sugar and berries, let water and sugar boil at medium heat for 20 minutes. Optional: To thicken soup, gradually add the mixture of flour and water (no lumps).
     Stir the soup occasionally, making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Additional sugar can be added to sweeten. Boil for at least another 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Average cooking time: 40 – 60 minutes

And yes, berry soup goes excellent with fry bread. 

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  1. Thank you for sharing. Im from the Blood Tribe and I wanted to know how to make berry soup and ran across this article.

  2. Yes, thank u for the post. I am from Siksika and I as well wanted to find out how to make berry soup. I guess I could have asked my grandmother I just thought googling it be faster.