Hi everybody. Bunny and I finally got back home - very dusty and tired - but we're fine and nothing bad happened to us on our walk. I'm writing this as Bunny is (voluntarily) taking a bath.
Trip summary: It's been so hot this past couple of weeks we could hardly believe it. In some parts it got almost to 120° F (49° C). In fact it was so hot we didn't walk everywhere as planned and ended up riding in people's cars whenever possible. We met a lot of nice people and another good thing was that we were able to go a lot farther than if we'd just traveled by foot. After about a week we found ourselves in the Navajo Nation so we wandered around there for a little bit. One day I'll write down some of our experiences, either here or in an episode or something, but right now I think I'm going to lie down and rest for the rest of today.
Okay I think Bunny fell asleep in the tub so I'm going to tell you one story. While walking a little west of Petrified Forest National Park, I found some really great papers stuck to a fence alongside Interstate 40 (I'm always finding good stuff alongside highways). One of the papers is a story about Navajo fry bread. I liked it so I put it in my backpack and brought it home with me and now I'd like to share part of it with you. I don't know who the author is - if anybody reading this knows please e-mail me as I'd like to credit them.
"I like to give a little history on the Navajo fry bread. The Navajo fry bread actually evolved in the mid 19th century. In 1863, approximately 8,000 Navajos spent 4 years imprisoned at Fort Sumner, New Mexico and were given little more than white flour and lard to eat. American Scout Kit Carson and his troops drove our Diné people from their land by destroying our means of survival. Kit Carson and his troops killed our sheeps, goats, and horses, poisoned our water wells, burned our crops and destroyed shelters and anything else that was value to our Diné people.
Carson and his troops then rounded up thousands of starving Navajo women and children and sent them on what is called the "Long Walk", a 200 mile walk from Arizona to Fort Sumner and Bosque Redondo, New Mexico, one of the saddest events in Navajo and U.S. history. As time went by, the U.S. government provided those on the reservation with wheat flour as part of a commodities program. Lard and wheat flour became the main ingredients in the making of Navajo fry bread. The Navajo women, back then had to make the best of what was often considered poor quality rations in concentration camps and the varying availability of government issued commodities.
Frying was totally new to Navajos because we were used to hunting game that was very lean and making bread in mud ovens. The iron pots were also introduced to us thus created fry bread.
As with many cultures around the world, Native Americans have an all purpose flat bread that is a staple of our cuisine. Fry bread is considered a food of inter-tribal unity and is made at all Indian pow-wows. The dough is a variation of that used for flour tortillas, consisting of flour, preferably Blue Bird flour, shortening, salt, water, and baking powder. Navajo fry bread is a tradition in Dinétah.
If you ever become a visitor to a Navajo family home or a family gathering and you're offered fry bread or other traditional food, please take it, even if you ate 10 minutes ago, this is to show respect to the family that offered you their hospitality. That famly that is offering their food to you put great thought and love into their work. They want you to be happy with a full tummy and a safe journey down the road of life.
THIS IS OUR WORLD FAMOUS FRY BREAD, ALSO MADE FROM SCRATCH.
5 CUPS OF FLOUR
2 TBL SPOONS OF BAKING POWDER
2 TSP OF SALT
2 CUPS OF LUKEWARM WATER (NOT HOT, WILL BURN YOUR HAND, AND NOT COLD, WILL HARDEN YOUR DOUGH)
MIX ALL DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER IN LARGE MIXING BOWL. SLOWLY ADD WATER, KNEED YOUR DOUGH TILL IT BECOMES A NICE AND FLUFFY.
NOW YOU ARE READY TO MAKE FRY BREAD!!
TO FRY YOUR BREAD:
1 CAST IRON SKILLET
1 1/2 CUPS OF OIL (YOUR CHOICE CORN, CANOLA OR 10W30)
TURN UP HEAT ON OIL, WATCH OUT THOUGH!!!
PUT A PINCH OF DOUGH IN HOT GREASE IF IT SINKS, IT'S STILL COLD, IF IT RISES, IT'S READY
NOW THAT YOU'RE AN EXPERT, LET'S MAKE A TACO!!
1 FRY BREAD
1 SCOOP CHILI CON CARNE
ADD THE FOLLOWING AS YOUR BASE - CHOPPED LETTUCE, DICED TOMATOES AND ONIONS AND GRATED CHEESE.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE NOW FAMOUS!!!"
So that's the story and recipe I found. Maybe later this week when I go marketing I will buy some baking powder and try to make some fry bread. Oh - here is a photograph of some fry bread I ate at the Blue Coffee Pot Diner in Kayenta. I also ordered ice tea and that was the biggest cup of ice tea I ever saw in my whole life.Till next time - peace,
[ Bunny: What's that comment about "voluntarily" taking a bath's supposed to mean? I TAKE BATHS. I remember that Kayenta fry bread. I ate something that looked like Chinese stir fry + french fries + half that fry bread. It was good. ]