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Loretta Oden: Native Tastes

A delicious “sister” act



Loretta Oden

 

 

Loretta Oden opened her first restaurant after she was 50 years old. The Shawnee native and member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation opened the first Corn Dance Café in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her oldest son Chef Clay Oden.

“The timing was serendipitous,” Oden says. “Mark Miller and Coyote Café had just taken off and Geronimo’s was rolling, so I just took things a step further, and instead of focusing on Southwestern cuisine, I focused on Native American cuisine.”

The Corn Dance Café would lead to press in major publications like Food & Wine and appearances on “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show,” and many other opportunities, including teaching, consulting, working with Robert Mondavi and Francis Ford Coppola and a PBS miniseries called “Seasoned with Spirit: A Native Cook’s Journey” that won an Emmy.

“Santa Fe was definitely a launching pad for me,” she says. “I moved back to Oklahoma in 2003, and I do a lot of work on both coasts: consulting, wine dinners, teaching, etc. I also do some work with reservations with health issues and the bad food that hangs around the rez.”

Oden’s food background started in the family kitchen, where she said she was blessed to have two living sets of great-grandparents and two sets of grandparents. Her first food gig was in the family of her first husband. “I married into the Van’s Pig Stand family,” she says. “I was very young, and the marriage didn’t last. I flipped burgers, worked as a soda jerk, stuffed cherries for Jell-O salad, pretty much everything on the Van’s menu. Mother Van was an amazing cook, and I loved the camaraderie and energy of a kitchen. Always have.”

A second marriage after she moved to OKC at the age of 20 would lead to a decades-long hiatus from commercial kitchens while she raised two sons and two step-daughters. The second divorce led to her move to Santa Fe.

 

 

“I moved there to figure out who I wanted to be when I grew up,” she says, once again segueing into her easy laugh. “The environment there was very receptive to Native cuisine. There’s something weirdly political about trying to do ‘Indian’ things in Oklahoma, but Santa Fe wasn’t like that.”

After opening the café, Oden dove into ethno-botany. She wanted to learn where all the foods came from, what was indigenous, what originated in the Americas and then went somewhere else only to return to the Americas in another form: potatoes from Ireland, chocolate from Switzerland, tomato sauce from Italy. “Those foods originated here,” she says.

She has no patience for talk of cultural appropriation when it comes to food, though. “Food is food. The ingredients have been around the world and back, and everyone uses them.”

What emerged from her study of the North American tribes was the realization that Native American cuisine is a very broad category. The tribes ate what the environment provided, so the cuisine is seasonal and regional: shrimp in Louisiana, bison on the Plains, salmon in the Northwest, etc. Woven throughout the cuisine, though, were the “three sisters.”

“All tribes have a story about the three sisters – beans, corn and squash,” Oden says. “Along with the other indigenous foods, they changed the cuisine of the world.”

For her recipe, Oden is featuring the trio in a Three Sisters and Friends Salad with a cranberry-coriander vinaigrette. The salad showcases the ingredients and flavors of spring and summer with a recipe that is remarkably easy and flexible.

 


 

 

Three Sisters & Friends Salad

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa – red, white, black or all one color
  • 1/2 cup cooked authentic, hand-gathered wild rice (optional if too costly or unavailable)
  • 1/2 cup unpeeled fresh green zucchini AND
  • 1/2 cup fresh, small yellow zucchini or yellow summer squash – quarter-inch diced, spiral cut into "zoodles," thinly sliced with a peeler into long, flat curls or scored and thinly sliced on mandoline into discs
  • 1/4 cup cooked heirloom beans or canned, rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1/4 cup lightly grilled fresh corn cut from cob, or frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed and well drained
  • 1/4 cup firm, fresh jicama, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh red onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Serrano chile – seeded, deveined and minced
  • 1/8 tsp kosher or sea salt

Combine all ingredients and toss with vinaigrette.

There are many different variations of “friends” you can use. Feel free to experiment with different seasonal veggies.


Cranberry-Coriander Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp wildflower honey
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp coriander, lightly toasted, ground (or just use ground coriander)
  • 1 Tbsp dried cranberries, finely minced (unsweetened and not craisins)
  • Pinch of sea salt, to taste.

Put all ingredients EXCEPT oil into blender or food processor. With motor running, slowly add olive oil.

Or, simply whisk together in small bowl or shake in a lidded jar.

Notes
Salt to taste, but very little … always remember, we need to cut down on that excess salt.

This is a light, tart, slightly sweet dressing, good for use on salads or fruits or as a marinade for mild white fish, scallops, shrimp or chicken.

 

 

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Calendar

September 2019

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

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Artspace at Untitled
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Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
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Oklahoma City Museum of Art
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Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

A Texas State of Mind, featuring the art of Larry G. Lemons of Nocona, TX, is coming to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK.  A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 - 6:30...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

A Texas State of Mind, featuring the art of Larry G. Lemons of Nocona, TX, is coming to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK.  A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 - 6:30...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Featuring more than 70 works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

A Texas State of Mind, featuring the art of Larry G. Lemons of Nocona, TX, is coming to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK.  A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 - 6:30...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Featuring more than 70 works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
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View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: BigWing
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Featuring more than 70 works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift of...

Cost: $15

Where:
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415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

A Texas State of Mind, featuring the art of Larry G. Lemons of Nocona, TX, is coming to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK.  A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 - 6:30...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

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USAO Ballroom
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Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
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EVERY BRILLIANT THING strikes a delicate balance between sobering loss and cathartic laughter as it recounts a life lived in the shadow of suicide.  By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe,...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
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201 N Walker Ave
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Telephone: 405-594-8300
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Cost: Free

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Bicentennial Park
201 North Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community Foundation
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Contact Name: Kasey Gardner
Website »

More information

A Texas State of Mind, featuring the art of Larry G. Lemons of Nocona, TX, is coming to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK.  A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 - 6:30...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Featuring more than 70 works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Bricktown
Oklahoma City, OK


Sponsor: Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co.
Telephone: 405-740-9618
Contact Name: Jessica Gwinner
Website »

More information

Produced and Organized, Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co. presents an all-Oklahoma, all-Original Music festival located in Bricktown. This is a free event for the community, featuring Oklahoma-original...

Cost: free

Where:
Bricktown
Oklahoma City, OK


Sponsor: Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co.
Telephone: 405-740-9618
Contact Name: Jessica Gwinner
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District & Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and, quite possibly, an amazing...

Cost: Adult: $20 Seniors and Children: $15

Where:
Regatta Park Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd
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Sponsor: Oklahoma River Cruises
Telephone: 405-702-7755
Contact Name: Che Loessberg
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Join us for a night of music under the Ferris Wheel lights. Enjoy live music from Saint Loretto, Flock of Pigs, and Sophia Massad. Come hungry: Taco Nation, Wicked Hangry, Cook'n It...

Cost: Free

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Wheeler Ferris Wheel
1701 S. Western Ave.
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More information

EVERY BRILLIANT THING strikes a delicate balance between sobering loss and cathartic laughter as it recounts a life lived in the shadow of suicide.  By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe,...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

The Barber of Seville Rossini’s comic masterpiece comes to the Freede Little Theater! When Count Almaviva and his love Rosina run into an issue preventing them from being married -...

Cost: $35 or $50. Prices do not include fees.

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

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Cost: Varies

Where:
Hudiburg Chevrolet Cneter
6000 Prosper Blvd
Midwest City, OK  73110
View map »


Sponsor: Emporium Presents
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Musical Swings is an interactive public art installation featuring 10 swings that each activate a different note, allowing participants to make music, connect to one another and have a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bicentennial Park
201 North Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Telephone: 405-606-2922
Contact Name: Kasey Gardner
Website »

More information

Featuring more than 70 works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

A Texas State of Mind, featuring the art of Larry G. Lemons of Nocona, TX, is coming to the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK.  A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 - 6:30...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Forms Through Language: an exhibition by San Francisco Artist Gyöngy Laky. On view September 12 – October 31. Free and open to the public. Join us for Laky's Artist Reception on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

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Cost: $15

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Memorial Park
204 N Main St
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View map »


Sponsor: Hennessey United
Telephone: 580-484-1682
Contact Name: Angela Bruner
Website »

More information

Produced and Organized, Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co. presents an all-Oklahoma, all-Original Music festival located in Bricktown. This is a free event for the community, featuring Oklahoma-original...

Cost: free

Where:
Bricktown
Oklahoma City, OK


Sponsor: Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co.
Telephone: 405-740-9618
Contact Name: Jessica Gwinner
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
1, N Broadway Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

Produced and Organized, Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co. presents an all-Oklahoma, all-Original Music festival located in Bricktown. This is a free event for the community, featuring Oklahoma-original...

Cost: free

Where:
Bricktown
Oklahoma City, OK


Sponsor: Gwinner Studios Ltd. Co.
Telephone: 405-740-9618
Contact Name: Jessica Gwinner
Website »

More information

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Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
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View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District & Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and, quite possibly, an amazing...

Cost: Adult: $20 Seniors and Children: $15

Where:
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701 S. Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73119
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma River Cruises
Telephone: 405-702-7755
Contact Name: Che Loessberg
Website »

More information

EVERY BRILLIANT THING strikes a delicate balance between sobering loss and cathartic laughter as it recounts a life lived in the shadow of suicide.  By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe,...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

For the First time ever in Oklahoma City Pauleen & La Brasa present Bollywood Dance Night . Introducing Hindi Music @La Brasa Saturday 21st September. 10 PM 

Cost: $5

Where:
La Brasa
1310 NW 25th ST
Oklahoma , OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Pauleen
Contact Name: Pauleen

More information

La Brasa & Pauleen present Bollywood Night at La Brasa this Saturday, September 21st.  This is one of the first Hindi Music events to happen in Oklahoma City and anyone can come...

Cost: $5

Where:
La Brasa
1310 NW 25th St
Oklahoma City , OK  73105
View map »


Telephone: 405-524-2251
Contact Name: Pauleen
Website »

More information

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