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Just witnessed the Chickasaw engage in an animated Iron Chef competition using all freshly picked vegetables from the Sewataro Garden. Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, jalapeno, and swiss chard were sliced, diced, sautéed in various combinations, spiced with thyme, basil, mint, oregano and presented in different arrangements by the vying tables. Britanny Rose, our Gardening/Cooking doyen, orchestrated the competition, as she does with all the tribes, and invited us to be a guest judge along with herself and tribe counselor Vic. Wow! You would have thought you were in the kitchen of Oleana or on the set of a TV competition run by Gordon Ramsay. The finished products were judged by each of us on the grounds of cleanliness, presentation, and taste. Table 1 won cleanliness (2-1 in judges’ vote), and Table 2 won Taste (3-0), but the judges were split down the middle on presentation (1-1-1). The culinary talents of these Chickasaw boys should be cultivated at home.

cooking for blog

We went back up to Gardening/Cooking during Wednesday’s last period to see a comparison with a girl’s group there, since the Potawatomi were scheduled, but we only found two Pots there, assiduously preparing their own juice drinks from the fruits of the garden. The rest of the tribe were up at the SOAR high ropes course since the tribe had been given the option of adding a SOAR period or sticking with their regular schedule. Only Michaela and Lily opted for cooking, so it was a cozy group. Lily opted for a mix of watermelon, sumac, cucumber, honey, and calendula, with an infusion of lemon verbena and sumac. Very light and refreshing. Michaela’s, which blended cucumber and watermelon, then infused lavender, lemon verbena, mint, sumac, and a pinch of calendula had more body and more complexity. The girls shared their creations at snack time with the rest of the tribe who had scaled the vertical playpen or ventured on the swinging vines.