As we’ve travelled around the world with food, we have been able to explore so many different foods and textures. When we came to the Americas, we were excited to get back to foods we were used to. This week, however, we got even closer – We made it back to Central North America – Our home. So we knew once we got here, we had to have Bison.
Why we can enjoy Bison
Bison, pre-mass hunting practices of the 1800’s, were stretched around most of North America. They had wide-scale migrational habits and their presence was a key factor the eco-system. The mass slaughter of the bison took their numbers from nearly 30 million to 1000 by 1880. In 1905, Teddy Roosevelt founded the American Bison Society to focus on the dwindling numbers (Which, let’s be honest, he himself hunted previously); where they started a breeding program at the New York Zoo (now Bronx Zoo). One of the ways they completed this was to crossbreed Bison with Cattle, but because of this, after years of breeding practices, only 11,000 purebred Bison exist, with 400,000 commercially-bred Bisons available now.
This has provided us the opportunity in the modern age to eat Bison again, but it must be acknowledged that this moment only occurred because of years of investment and conservation.
The history of the Mississippi Valley Culture
When it comes to the recipe itself, we knew we wanted to include Bison, but we also had to think of the other ingredients that were available to the People of the Mississippi Valley Culture, specifically, the residents of Cahokia.
Cahokia was a pre-Columbian Native American city, in present day Illinois. Their civilization was known for their large earthen mounds and wide-scale farming, which was heavily consisting of corn (maize), native squash, sunflower, erect knotweed and chenopod (a North American species of Quinoa. This led us to decide on making a simple porridge of corn meal, like polenta, with a pureed butternut squash mixed in.
3 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed this recipe for the most part. I enjoyed the overall flavor, especially mixing the corn porridge with bison, but I did find it a bit…much. A smaller portion, with other vegetables added (like maybe, foraged mushrooms or something), to balance it out.
1 out of 5 stars
I will come out and say, the bison was the only redeeming quality about this meal. The bison was amazing; the thick goop it was placed on, not so much. The corn meal goop was unflavored, but that wasn’t the worst part for me. The worst part was the texture of it. It was gritty; like eating dirt in your oatmeal and had an overall unappealing in texture. I would eat the bison again, however.