Before Europeans brought the honey bee to the Americas, flowering plants were largely pollinated by native bees and insects. American Indians ate a diverse assortment of plants and animals. Anthropologist and beekeeper, Dr. Melissa Zabecki Harvey, the staff of Parkin Archeological State Park, and a number of devoted volunteers recreated a meal of the foods available at the Mississippian village of Casqui, the east Arkansas site visited by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541. See https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parkinarcheological/.
The bountiful meal served to the public at Parkin included the Three Sisters from the park’s Mississippian Garden: maize, squash, and beans. I sampled the following American Indian foods collected on the site and nearby: Roasted Custaw Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, and Sunflower Seeds; Pecans; Black Walnuts; Hickory Nuts; Roasted Burr Oak Acorns; Popcorn; Persimmons; Pumpkin Bread with squash, persimmon paste, corn meal, duck eggs, and milk; Acorn Bread from burr oak acorn flour, sunflower oil, duck eggs, and milk; Dried Cushaw Squash; Dried Serviceberries; Persimmon Leather; Meat Pemmican of shredded venison jerky, elderberries, and butter; Cornmeal Pemmican of cornmeal, serviceberries, and butter; Venison Jerky; Raccoon; Duck; Rabbit; Smoked Venison; Buffalo Fish baked in Tyronza River clay in an open pit on the park grounds; Crawfish Stew of Jerusalem artichokes, corn, crawfish, sassafras leaf powder, sunflower oil, onion grass, and salt; Squirrel and Cornmeal Dumplings; Acorn Stew with venison, acorn flour, and hominy; Indian Stew of venison, pumpkin, sunflower oil, blackberries, beans, hominy, maple syrup, and salt; Pumpkin Soup with, maple syrup, spicebush berries, and animal fat; Kanuchi made from pecans and amaranth grain with salt and maple syrup; Roasted Sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes; Hominy; Bean Cakes of beans, cornmeal, water, duck eggs, salt, onion grass, and sunflower oil; Sunflower Seed Cakes with cornmeal, and maple syrup; Hoe Cakes of cornmeal, water, butter, and pawpaw paste; Poyha made from ground venison, oil, onion, duck eggs, cornmeal, and corn; Persimmon Paste; Hickory Butter; Salt; Wild Garlic; Pine Needle Tea; Prickly Pear Juice; and Sumac Tea.
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