napatêhkasikan, my pumpkin pie adventure.

napatêhkasikan cî ahpô wîhkihkasikan?

Pie, or cake?  Answering “both” is of course understandable, but I like to think that just as some people are ‘dog’ people while others are ‘cat’ people, some of us will take a pie over a cake any day.

The harvest season here in Quebec is different than in Alberta, as much of the produce is grown further south than what I am used to.  So when my children went pumpkin picking on November 1st, we paid no heed to the fact that Halloween had already passed.  Clearly it was time to make pumpkin pie!

Oh delicious osâwipak!  Ye of the one-time-a-year appearance on my table!  I cry a single tear like Iron Eyes “the Italian” Cody every time I walk by a discarded pumpkin the day after Halloween.  Such delicious, sweet flesh wasted, turned over to the squirrels when it could be filling my belly with warm goodness!

A wasted pumpkin is a pie that never made it to my belly.

Do you know that feeling where you never really believe yourself to be a grown up?  When you call your mom to find the right temperature to roast a chicken, and how long does it take per pound and what is that awful spice in stuffing so I can avoid it…

Well making a pumpkin pie from scratch sets you on the path to being the one someone is going to call one day.  Just sayin’.

There is at least one full out lactose-intolerant member of my household, with possibly two others who do seem  to get suspicious tummy aches when they eat cheese or drink milk.  As a result, I modify pretty much any recipe that requires dairy products.  I don’t miss it to be honest.  Western culture puts a weird emphasis on milk to the point where I will sometimes just nod and smile when the health nurse asks if I’m giving my kids three glasses a day of the stuff, rather than start a discussion about why I think that’s extremely excessive.

However, yogourt is one dairy product that seems to do a body good and that most lactose-intolerant folks can stomach.  Something about the lactose already being digested by the bacterial cultures in yogourt.  mmmm.  Bacterial cultures.  I wonder what their dances and traditional clothing look like?

I am the kind of cook that does not own a measuring cup.  My daughters’ plastic cups are roughly 1 cup I think.  I use pinches and dashes and a bit of this and a bit of that.  I warn you now because my measurements below are going to be very approximate.  I cook by taste and intuition and sometimes both fail me.  Usually they don’t. mâna.

Oh.  Did I mention the recipe would in Cree?

Ingredients:

  • nîso osâwipakiswak
  • pêyak minihkwâkan yogourt
  • pêyak ahpô pêyak êkwa âpihtaw minihkwâkan osâw sîwinikan
  • niyânan pehcayihkwak
  • nîso êmihkwânisak vanilla
  • pîwêwêpinamowin cinnamon, nutmeg, êkwa cloves

To make:

  1. pêyak: manihkomâmê êkwa pîkinisohkok osâwipakwak
  2. nîso: pakâsimik osâwipakwak (kaskâciwahtêwak)
  3. nisto: sikowêpahohkok
  4. nêwo: takon yogourt, pehcayihwak, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves êkwa kikawin
  5. niyânan: sikin napatêhkasikanihk
  6. nikotwâsik: takahkihkasok 350°F kotawânâpiskihk, pêyaktipahikan

Trust me kids, you won't like this. Let me take care of it for you, okay?

And there you have it.  Easy peasy!  This is the end all pumpkins should meet, not the sordid decay of a decoration for Halloween but rather a sugar-filled autumn delight!

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Categories: Cree vocabulary, Imperative/command form, Language learning, Plains Cree

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