Ero

Hokti's eroero
squirrel

The Indian Cook Book, 1933

Dress squirrel and wash clean, place on fork or stick in front of open fire, turning often until thoroughly brown.

James H. Hill, ca. 1936-40

If they kill a lot of squirrels, they cooked them by boiling and ate them, but if it was just one, they singed off the hair by laying it near the fire and covered it with hot ashes, and when it was done, one person or even two used to eat it.

Even now the squirrel is still very much eaten.

Beulah Simms, 1970

Begin the cleaning of the squirrel by burning off all the hair over a direct flame. Scrape all the singed hair off. Remove skin, dress, clean, and cut into smaller pieces as you would a fryer.

If the squirrel is old, boil in salt water until it is tender.

Place about one tablespoon of lard in a frying pan and pan fry the squirrel over a low flame with the pan covered with a lid until slightly cooked. Pour in about one cup of water and simmer down until thoroughly cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.

Hokti's eroSome Creek tribal towns traditionally have stewed squirrel dinners before the first Stomp Dance of the season and after the last Stomp Dance of the season.

American Indian Recipes, 1970

Make a fire outside with dry limbs and place the squirrel into the fire, watching it very carefully not to burn. Burn only enough to singe the hair off, scrape and put back in fire long enough to brown and brittle the skin.

Next wash and clean the squirrel, cut into pieces and cook in water. Season with salt and pork drippings and cook long enough to be real done and serve.

John Lowe, 1992

Wash the squirrel well to remove all hair or fuzz. Cut a young squirrel into serving pieces. Rub with lard and salt. Roll in flour and fry in lard until brown.

Add a few drops of water and cover. Steam for thirty minutes over a low fire. Remove squirrel from the pan and make gravy from the drippings.

Brown two tablespoons of flour in four tablespoons of the fat in which the squirrels were fried. Cover with water and let cook until it is about medium thick.

Old squirrels may be boiled until almost tender then fried in grease as young squirrels, except they are not to be rolled in flour.

Serve with biscuits or fry bread.

Seminole Indian Recipes, 1996

Cut two cleaned squirrels into serving pieces. Mix salt and pepper and one cup all-purpose flour, and dredge the squirrel pieces in the mixture.

In a large skillet, heat six tablespoons lard or bacon drippings and fry squirrel pieces, turning occasionally until golden brown. Remove squirrel from the skillet and set aside.

Pour off all fat except about three tablespoons. Add two cups water to the skillet and bring to boil. Return squirrel to the skillet; bring to boil again, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for about one and one half hours or until the meat is very tender.

Serve with corn bread.

Creek Muscogee Recipes, Cooking Tips and Lore, 1999

Cut two squirrels into serving pieces. Place flour and salt and pepper in paper bag, place squirrel in bag and shake until coated.

Fry in skillet in six tablespoons grease until golden brown, pour off excess grease and add two cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for one hour.

friedsquirrel

Sources

Cvtvhakv

bd platecvtvhakv
“stone-resembling”
blue dumplings

Charles Gibson, 1918

A gallon, or more if needed, of shelled flint corn should be soaked overnight in a strong solution of ash-lye (water with ash-lye drippings).

Pour off any excess solution in the morning. Pound the corn in the mortar and break the grain into large pieces. Clean off the husks from the grain in a fanner. Pound the clean, broken grain to meal, taking the mass out of the mortar and sifting it from time to time until all the grain is pounded down to a fine meal. Mix a quart of this meal to a stiff dough with boiling water to which add about a cupful of strong ash-lye drippings. A larger amount of dough can be made by using the same proportions of meal and ash-lye drippings. Form pieces of the dough into the shape and size of ordinary doughnuts, with a hole in the center, and bake these in a Dutch oven until thoroughly done. Place the freshly baked bread in the sunshine until perfectly dry. It will be hard as wood. The rings of hard bread were strung on heavy string, and hung on the wall or rafters to keep indefinitely.

Creek Indian hunters used to carry strings of this bread tied to their saddles, on long hunting expeditions, without cover from rain or snow or any kind of weather. The backbone joints of fresh game—antelope, deer, buffalo—were stewed until tender; then a dozen or so of the hard, dry corn bread rings were put into the pot and after cooking for a little while they softened and mixed in the stew. It is told that this was the Creek Indian hunter’s choice bread; it was his ration on the war path.

Lilah D. Lindsey, 1933

bd bowlScald whole white corn in lye water, drain until dry, pound into meal. Burn pea hulls (black eyed or cow pea, or any kind) and pound to a powder, sift and add to your corn meal; using hot water, knead into balls size of baseball, drop into boiling water and cook one-half hour. To one part of meal use one-half part pea meal.

James H. Hill, ca. 1936-40

Shell black or white corn, put water in [a pot] to boil, set it over the fire, put in a small amount of strong ashes without any charcoal, and when it boils, put in the shelled corn, and after it boils, take out the corn, and wash it off until all the corn skin is removed; and when it’s dry, put it in a mortar, and when you pound it with the pestle, add fine ashes from bean hulls or burnt corn cobs, pound it fine, sift it with a fanner, remove the fine portion, stir in some boiled beans that have been cooked, mix it with water, and when it’s stiff, break off about one handful, squeeze it, make it into a ball, or make it flat and round, and when they’ve been placed in boiling water and have cooked, they call it cvtvhakv.

It’s good to drink the soupy juice.

Beulah Simms, 1970

Soak two quarts flint corn in water until it is soft. Pound in keco with kecvpe while the corn is soft and wet. Sift in a senweskv and separate the large kernels from the fine powder.

Place dried green beans and green English pea hulls in a container and burn to a crisp. The hulls must be clean and free of dirt or the bread will be gritty. Ground the burned material into a fine powder. Mix with the corn meal. Drop in three or four drops of kvpe-cvfke for flavor.

Mix with boiling water and form into biscuits and drop into boiling water and boil until cooked. It should boil about one hour. Beans or sweet potatoes may be mixed in before making into biscuits.

Serve with fresh pork.

Native American Recipes, 1996

Bean hull powder is made by burning bean hulls in a pot and sifting the ashes. Put one-half cup ash-lye in a large pot of water and boil. Use enough water to mix with four cups cornmeal and three tablespoons bean hull powder and form into dough. Form into balls a little larger than golf balls and drop into a pot of boiling water. Cook for one hour. Serve hot.

When using corn flour (Spanish flour may be substituted for cornmeal) and finely ground purple pea hulls (may be substituted for bean hull powder), prepare in same way except pat the dough balls until thin. Cook in boiling water until done, about one hour.

Marquis Martin, 2006

Boil water. Mix about four pounds masa cornmeal and three tablespoons of bluing in warm water until thin enough to roll into golf-ball size balls. Boil until they float to the top.

bd pan

Sources

Tafvmpuce

tafvmpucetafvmpuce
“onions-little”
wild onions

The Indian Cook Book, 1933

Two bunches of wild onions, bacon grease, salt and a little water. Cook ten or fifteen minutes then break six or seven eggs and scramble in with the onions and serve hot.

As this is one of Will Rogers’s favorite dishes, Mrs. Rebecca Swain suggests we call it Will Rogers Delight.

Beulah Simms, 1970

Wild onions can best be found in early spring time or even late winter, as soon as the winter snows have melted and the ground has thawed. The onions with long slender leaves and onion smell are found on creek banks or in shaded, wooded areas. Dig up sufficient quantities; about four hands full.

Clean and wash thoroughly, making certain all the soil is washed out of the leaves. Cut into one-inch lengths. Place the onions in a skillet with one-half cup water and simmer until the onions are tender. If the onions are old, simmer in salt water. Pour off the water and add two tablespoons bacon grease and cook until the onions are wilted. Add one teaspoon salt and six beaten eggs and stir until the eggs are completely cooked.

Hokti's tafvmpuceA Creek Indian has not fully prepared for the advent of summer until he has eaten his fill of wild onions in the spring, and it is even better if the meal has been shared with good friends.

The flowers of the wild onion are rose, reddish-purple and white in color. The leaves of the wild onion are two to four inches or more high. “Crow’s Poison” looks very much like the wild onion but has flat leaves and does not have the onion smell.

Cookbook of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma, 1976

When wild onions are nice and tender in early spring, gather them using a table knife and digging (modern way, a shovel). Clean by snipping the roots close to bulb.

When desired amount is clean, wash and cut into about two-inch lengths and place in warm bacon dripping. Cover and cook, adding small amounts of water until tender. Add four eggs and cook longer, stirring with a fork.

Creek Muscogee Recipes, Cooking Tips and Lore, 1999

A favorite use of wild onions is in combination with scrambled eggs. The particular recipe varies with each individual or family, some like lots of wild onions with only enough scrambled eggs to hold them together. Others prefer to have their scrambled eggs flavored with a small amount of the onions to taste.

To cook wild onions with eggs, chop onions into small pieces. Add two to three tablespoons of bacon drippings or oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, one-quarter cup water and salt to taste, simmer and stir until onions are tender. When most of the water is cooked out and the onions are tender add six slightly beaten eggs and scramble.

Serve hot with fry bread and honey.

Cinda Wind, 2000

You just cut them, clean them up, and wash them. Just get a skillet—a big skillet—and put three ounces of cooking oil or one-half cup of grease, preferably pure lard, in there. Put the onions in there along with a little warm water. Let them go to cooking. Then after a while, when they go to getting done and get tender, you can put a little bit of eggs in there, as many eggs as you like. Then stir it up and simmer covered on low heat for thirty to forty-five minutes until it gets done, then it’s ready to eat. That’s all I know.

I like to eat salt meat with mine.

Bertha Tilkens, 2009

Wild onions are found in early spring, around small creeks or in areas where the ground stays pretty moist. Dig them up and clean them like you would garden onions (remove the outermost skin and wash them well).

Cut them up, place them in a skillet with cooking oil, and add water. Cover the pan and let it simmer until the heads (white parts) of the onions are transparent. Add beaten eggs and cook until the eggs are done.

Serve with salt pork or bacon.

Dicey Barnett, 2011

Pick two bunches of wild onions when young and tender in early spring.

Wash and cut into one- to two-inch lengths and place in warm bacon drippings or two to three tablespoons oil over medium heat. Cover and cook, adding small amounts of water until tender. Add four eggs or more, depending upon how many onions you have, stirring with fork until done. Salt to taste. Stir and simmer covered on low heat a few minutes longer and then serve and enjoy!

tafvmpuce2

“Wild onion season bridges tradition with a good meal,” in Oklahoma Indian Times 6, no. 3 (March 31, 2000): 2.

“Wild Onion and Eggs” by Dicey Barnett, in Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative Newsletter 4, no. 3 (March 2011): 6.

Other Sources

Osafke, Safke

osafke, safkeosafke, safke
sofke/sofkee/sofkey/sofky/sofki

George Washington Grayson, 1885

This may be well termed the National dish of the Muscogees, because all make it and is fond of it and is almost always kept in the house.

It is made by pounding a very flinty kind of corn grown for the purpose, and running it through a riddle made of split cane or reed. By this, and a winnowing process, the outer coating of the broken grains is removed. This is then cooked in quantities of three or four gallons; the cooking consisting simply of slowly boiling the grains in a plentiful supply of water, adding occasionally a little lye dripped from strong wood ashes. When done the cooking is so gauged as that the whole consists of about two-thirds soup and one-third hominy.

There being no salt or seasoning of any kind, it is at first rather insipid to one who is not accustomed to it, but almost all persons soon learn to become fond of it. Most Indians prefer it when partly fermented.

Lilah D. Lindsey, 1902

Two gallons hot water, one quart of grits, home pounded is best, boil until grits begin to crack open. Keep kettle full of boiling water, or replenish as it boils away. When grits are tender add lye made from wood ashes, about one teacup, if of ordinary strength. Let it boil slowly for one hour, or until grits are perfectly done, then pour off in crock or jar. Add one gallon of cold water to keep the grits from burning.

This is used for a drink at table or elsewhere. When fresh it is also good with sweet milk. For a cool refreshing drink in sickness, especially with fever, there is no equal.

Charles Gibson, 1918

Shell good, clean and dried flint corn from the cob, enough to have a peck or more of the shelled grain to prepare sofky for several meals. Cover the shelled corn with cool water, and soak over night.

Pound the soaked corn, or a portion, lightly in a wooden mortar enough to break the grains in half. Place the pounded corn in a fanner, and clean out the hulls. Put the clean, broken grain into a large vessel, cover with water and boil until thoroughly done. Add water if necessary from time to time to keep the hominy in a loose fluid. When it is cooked thoroughly, add ash lye solution in the proportion of a cupful to a gallon of the boiling hominy, stirring it regularly for it will scorch easily. Boil the hominy with the ash-lye solution for at least another half hour, then pour it into a stone jar to keep and serve.

“As long as the Indian can eat and drink osafke, he will not go dead.”

Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, 1922

Sofki has been one of the favorite dishes of food for the In­dians, especially among the Creeks.

It is made of corn, pounded into coarse meal, treated with lye and mixed with water. The wet meal is boiled and lye is dripped into it through a sieve filled with wet wood ashes. When the mixture becomes a thick mush, it is removed from the fire and allowed to cool, sometimes ground nuts are added to the mixture.

Sofki is still made and relished by many Indian families.

James H. Hill, ca. 1936-40

They shelled flint corn, put it in cold water, set it aside.

Then removed the corn, put it in a mortar, pounded it lightly, and peeling off the corn-skins, they called it vce aktonke [“pulverized corn”] and sifted off the pounded corn husks, filled a big water kettle called a lehayv-rakko with water, and when it got hot, they put the vce aktonke in, lit a fire under it, not a very big fire, and it slowly simmered, and after quite a while, they . . . poured [the lye] into the corn boiling in water, and when the vce aktonke is cooked with lots of juice, they poured it in a sofkee jar.

Beulah Simms, 1970

Place about three pounds flint or white corn in a bucket of water and let the mixture stand until the kernels are soft.

Place the corn, while still wet, in a mortar (keco) and pound with a pestle (kecvpe) until the grains of corn are in small kernels. Separate the finer grains (vce enfolotkv) from the larger grains (safke nērkv). You now have your corn ready to be boiled into safke. (Safke nērkv may now be purchased in most all supermarkets and may be called for as hominy grits or safke grits.)

Place the safke nērkv in a large kettle of water, about three gallons of water to three pounds of corn, and place the kettle over a low hot fire. It is better if cooked in an iron kettle over a wood fire out-of-doors. When the mixture comes to a hard boil, add kvpe-cvfke, a drop at a time until the corn turns a slight yellow. Continue to boil, stirring often so that the mixture will not burn, until the liquid thickens and the corn is soft.

Safke may be served while still hot, however, some prefer it cold. It is best served with meat dishes. Safke may also be served with cream and sugar. When permitted to set a few days, especially in warm weather, it becomes fermented and then it is known as safke toksē and is preferred by some Creek Indians to fresh safke. Safke toksē is not intoxicating, as some people believe.

American Indian Recipes, 1970

Need two gallons of flint or white corn. This will make about five gallons of sour corn. To every mortar full of corn add one or two cups of hot water and handful of strong ashes or soda and work with pestle until it is skinned or peeled and work all of the two gallons. Sift corn through pan which has holes made by number twenty nails. After it is sifted put back in mortar and crack with pestle and keep sifting til all is finished and all the skin and meal is clean. Place black pot over fire with about five buckets of clean water and start cooking unless you prefer to soak over night and then cook.

After the corn is cooked then put the ash water in and cook down til all four or five quarts of liquid is gone and corn turns light brown.

When finished, put corn in five gallon crock jar and cover with clean wet cloth and lid, keep from air and place in a warm corner to turn sour overnight. To turn sour faster put a buffalo horn (made into a spoon) at the bottom of the jar.

Cookbook of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma, 1976

Recipe for small families:  Clean and wash one quart sofky corn. Put corn in large cooking pot, porcelain or large cast iron pot. Cook about three hours and add one-half cup of ash lye, gradually, and stirring corn all the while. Continue cooking until corn is very tender.

Hattie Beaver, 1991

Among many American tribes, maize (vce) has always been a principal food. Years before explorers came to this country, American Indians were planting and cultivating maize.

There are many ways Creek and Seminole women prepare corn for food. It is used for breads, vegetables, main dishes (cooked with meats), desserts, and drinks. A favorite drink and food among the Creek and Seminole down through the ages has been sofke. Sofke is made from flint or field corn.

In preparing corn for sofke, they shelled dry corn from the cob. The corn was soaked in water with drip lye until hulls could be removed. The hulls were removed and the corn washed several times. The placed the corn in a wooden mortar (keco) and pounded it with a pestle (kecvpe) until the corn was pounded into small pieces. After the corn was pounded, the grit was removed by sifting in a sofke sifter.

While they were pounding the corn, they had ready a big pot (le-ocv) of hot water. They placed the prepared corn in the hot water and cooked it until tender. After the sofke was done, a small amount of drip lye was added—just enough to give a light tan color to sofke.

Seasoning was not added to sofke, but many of the younger generation today prefer to drink it with sugar.

Today, many supermarkets carry prepared sofke grits or hominy grits, thus making it easier for the working woman to continue to serve sofke to this generation.

Native American Recipes, 1996

Put three quarts hominy corn or grits into five gallons water. Add one pint ash lye. Cook for three hours or until the corn is tender.

May be served warm or cold. For sour sofkey let it stand for a day or two.

Stephen Carson, 2006

Boil four gallons water. Put four cups dry corn in the boiling water and let cook for a few hours. Put one-quarter cup of sofkee lye in pot and let cook for one hour.

Bertha Tilkens, 2009

To make sofke using today’s modern way of cooking: Fill a four-quart crock-pot about three-quarters full of water. Add two and one-half cups of dry hominy or white corn. Cook for two and one-half hours, then add the ash drippings until the flavor is right and the mixture looks a little cloudy. Cook until the corn is soft, then serve either hot or cold.

Acee Blue Eagle

“Creek Vocabulary and Verb Paradigms with Occasional Ethnographic Notes” by George Washington Grayson, Bureau of American Ethnology manuscript 568a (Eufaula, I.T., 1885), quoted in A Dictionary of Creek/Muskogee: With Notes on the Florida and Oklahoma Seminole Dialects of Creek by Jack B. Martin and Margaret McKane Mauldin (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2000).

“Sofki” by John D. Benedict, in Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma (Chicago, IL: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922).

“Sof-ke” by Hattie Beaver, in Four Circles of Learning (Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma State Department of Education, 1991).

Other Sources