Endangered Eating: Manoomin (Wild Rice)

image courtesy Sarah Lohman
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Taught by Sarah Lohman

Sarah Lohman is a culinary historian and the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed book Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. She focuses on the history of American food as a way to access stories of women, immigrants, and people of color, and to address issues of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Her work has been featured inTheWall Street Journal andThe New York Times, as well as onAll Things Considered; and she has presented across the country, from the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC to The Culinary Historians of Southern California. She is also 1/2 of the Masters of Social Gastronomy, a monthly food science and history talk at Caveat NYC, with Brainery co-founder Jonathan Soma. 



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March 26 session postponed

This lecture series is a semi-secret preview of Sarah Lohman’s upcoming food history book, Endangered Eating: Exploring America’s Vanishing Food! Over the coming months, she’ll lead eight classes, each focused on a single chapter of her book. It’s your chance to get the scoop on Sarah’s work, help her with questions and feedback, and learn a curious story about America’s food past!

Wild rice is an aquatic grass, much more closely related to corn than rice, that's native to the Great Lakes region. It grows wild in freshwater lakes and streams, and is central to the religion, health and economy of the Indigenious Peoples of the Midwest and Canada. Nanaboozhoo, the historical hero of the Anishinaabe people, discovered manoomin and led his people to settle near the rice beds. Many Native advocates continue to protect and appreciate the grain today.

I traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and upstate Minnesota last September to experience the wild rice harvest. I slid through the manoomin beds in a canoe, learning how to “knock” the manoomin into the boat; a good pair of harvesters can harvest up to 800 lbs of wild rice in a day. I'll tell you about my experiences, as well as the history and uncertain future of this valuable wild resource. You'll learn how you can support Indegenous groups protecting wild rice as well as where to buy the real deal. And I'll bring authentic wild rice for everyone to try, harvested by hand in Northern Minnesota.

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