Being a writer, one of the perks is that I get to do a lot of research. While some writers may groan over the hefty tomes, reading multiple books at once and the frequent trips to the local libraries I often relish in the process of learning about a new topic or revisiting an old favourite to gain a new perspective.
Being a Pagan, one of the bases of my practice is following up my storytelling skills with a deep immersion in the culture and lifestyle of a particular pantheon. By reading recipes, frequenting mythology blogs and speaking with people who follow a particular path, this is just one way I can honour diversity.
One of the fastest ways to explore a new pantheon or culture is by their food.
This helps in putting your character into foreign landscape, and can offer countless opportunities for community and introspection. The same way that we can when we immerse ourselves and step beyond our own national food experiences. When we do, we get to experience a communal opportunity to respect the flavours, skill, passion and diversity that makes up each meal.
Whenever I am embarking on a research quest I take to looking at the food, drink and the history behind the ingredients that at first glance might look to be throw together for colour, and taste, yet on a deeper level build upon the foundation of generations of love, learning and cross cultural sharing. These ingredients hold a rich history of stories in themselves.
For my recent Novel project in progress my characters are travelling overseas to the state of New Mexico in the U.S.A. The idea to set my story in a specific fictional town, made up of a number of ghost and popular tourist towns was inspired by my own past life recounting and experiences of the Native Americans. It is here I learned about the myth of corn.
One of the main ingredients ingredients’s that hold this richness in myth is Corn. According to Adele Nozedar in her book The Element Encyclopaedia of Native Americans, “There is a great deal of mythology surrounding its provenance. A gift from Gods themselves, “Mother Corn” is equal to the gift of life itself. “ – Page 275 – Maize
(Photo taken by Tennille Chase)
Armed with that knowledge I set about to create the dish – Calabacitas that has corn as one of its ingredients. I sourced fresh sweet corn, and as part of a ritual shared the dish with my friends, in honour of “Mother Corn” and her gift of healthy food. It has also inspired an idea for a foodie adventure scene in my novel, as my characters discover a new town, and a mysterious culture.
The method is simple and took little time to make. Below are the ingredients. Mix them all together in a frying pan, add two spoons of butter, cook until golden brown and then serve with Jasmine rice. You can add cheese and mince to fill it out.
- 1 cup of Zucchini/squash
- I medium Brown onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 cups of corn
- ½ Mild chilli
- Cheese if you wish
Nozedar, A, 2012, The Element Encyclopaedia of Native Americans, Harper Collins Element London