Indigenous men and women love a excellent debate. What is that mouth watering flat bread made at powwows and in kitchens across Turtle Island called? Is it bannock, fry bread, scone or skaan? Is it best fried or baked? 

The discussion will get additional sophisticated when you throw raisins into the mixing bowl — and it’s sparked heated debates on social media.

Following a thirty day period-extended investigation into regardless of whether or not raisins belong in conventional and contemporary Indigenous cuisines, CBC Indigenous has realized that Indigenous palates are either grapeful for the minor dried fruit or they make one’s taste buds shrivel up like a … very well, you know….

Raisin lovers

Sherry Ann Rodgers, originally from the Anishnabe (Algonquin) group of Rapid Lake in western Quebec, opened the Anishnabe Kwe Café previously this year in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, 136 kilometres north of Ottawa. 

Baskets of fry bread sit on a table.
Sherry Ann Rodgers works by using a cast iron pan to fry her bannock. (Anishnabe Kwe Cafe/Fb)

She makes and sells fried raisin bannock each day. 

“We like our raisins,” Sherry Ann Rodgers explained of her property local community.

“I grew up with raisin pie, fried raisin doughnuts and all that.”

Tim Fontaine also grew up eating raisin pie. The Winnipeg-centered writer from Sagkeeng Very first Nation even likes raisins in butter tarts and rice pudding.

Previous journalist Tim Fontaine begun the satirical web page Walking Eagle News to consider a humorous look at the complex connection in between Canada and Indigenous people today. (Canadian Push)

“Raisin bannock is not my selection just one, but I really like it,” he said.

“I know that on the Prairies, like in Manitoba and in Saskatchewan … there is certainly a large amount of raisin activity…. It truly is almost like Indigenous soul foods.”

‘Raisins are gross’

Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller has visited many Indigenous communities in his job, and for that reason has tried using a lot of bannock. CBC Indigenous questioned him to weigh in on the debate.

“In the previous, the minister has expressed a desire for a particular bannock vendor at the Kahnawake powwow, which has only served to injury relations with other effectively revered bannock makers. Appropriately, no further more comment will be manufactured,” read a assertion from his place of work.

“Also, raisins are gross.”

Bannock bakes in pans about an open up hearth during Flavours of the North on Parliament HIll in Ottawa in December 2017. (Leah Hansen/CBC)

Outside of bannock, raisins have crept into regional dishes from coast to coastline to coastline like wild rice, common soups, and even meat pies. 

Even though Anishinaabe author Waubgeshig Rice enjoys taking in raisins on their own, he is not a lover when it comes to including them to Indigenous foodstuff like wild rice and skaan. 

“It tastes sort of weird, feels kind of odd,” he mentioned.

“Even even though I am opposed to them in some meals, I am not extending any type of vitriol or sick feelings in the direction of them or individuals who like them due to the fact we adapt foods to our have delicacies and existence.”

A man stands looking at the camera with a backdrop of orange-coloured trees.
Waubgeshig Rice is creating a sequel to his 2018 ebook, Moon of the Crusted Snow, which was voted the winner of the 2019 Evergreen Award. ( Submitted by Waubgeshig Rice)

Bannock alone is a fantastic example of that, he states. 

Commodity foods

Whilst a lot of Indigenous nations across North The united states typically have some variation of bread, modern bannock manufactured from wheat flour was launched by Scottish settlers.

Europeans also brought the raisins we are familiar with from overseas, claims 6 Nations of the Grand River chef Tawnya Brant.

Tawyna Brant is from Six Nations of the Grand River in southern Ontario.
Chef Tawyna Brant was a contestant on Season 10 of Best Chef Canada. (

They’re also tied to a colonial record of poverty and marginalization. The very long shelf existence of a box of raisins made them best commodity foodstuff that were being delivered to Native American communities in the United States by federal government officials.

“You can find just so numerous issues we do that we never know why we do them. We just do them for the reason that that’s how it is generally been carried out. And I assume that is kind of in which raisins lie,” she stated.

In Six Nations, raisins are included to Indian cookies — a spiced ginger cookie adopted from British influences. 

“I hated them rising up,” Brant mentioned about raisins.

Which is why will never discover raisins in any meals served at her restaurant Yawékon. She prefers to prepare dinner with cranberries or blueberries as they are indigenous to the location. 

A dessert made with blueberry Indian cookies bread pudding.
Blueberry Indian cookies bread pudding served at Yawékon. (Yawékon/Fb)

However, she believes the Kanien’kehá:ka, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, and Tuscarora ended up traditionally likely a confederacy of professional-raisin nations, much too.

“Harmony grapes are the only indigenous wide variety of grapes that is developed domestically. All the relaxation of them all occur from Europe,” explained Brant.

“Raisins are one thing that came from a commodity food stuff. But it shouldn’t have been a little something that was totally out of our realm for the reason that drying was a large issue for us…. We dried every little thing else. We dried strawberries and dried blueberries.”

Baked, not fried

Like Brant, Paul Natrall prefers cooking with cranberries about raisins when it comes to the food items he will make at Mr. Bannock.

The Squamish Country chef has been operating the Vancouver food truck since 2018.

He stated it can be tough to deny the nostalgic emotions that raisins evoke.

Paul Natrall is a chef from the Squamish Nation in British Columbia.
Paul Natrall opened the Mr. Bannock foods truck in 2018. (Mr. Bannock/Fb)

“My grandmother truly employed to like working with them,” explained Natrall.

“You are not able to beat a clean baked bannock with raisins in there…. Irrespective of whether you like it or not like it, it really is out there and individuals genuinely appreciate it.”

For raisin enthusiasts like Fontaine, the worth is about raisin recognition.

“You do not even know what you’re hating,” he claimed.

“Give it a test. You may well be stunned. If you will not, much more for us.”

By Taba