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bison steak tacos with garlic butternut squash puree
Tacos: A North American Ancient Eat

Tacos are often, and quite correctly, associated with Mexican cuisine. However, almost all indigenous cultures have some form or variation of a flatbread. It is not a huge stretch of the imagination to envision that selfsame flatbread topped with local savories and folded over and some approximation of a taco, burrito, or wrap.

homemade blue corn tortilla
Blue corn tortillas on the griddle

Corn, or specifically maize, likely originated in what is now Central America somewhere between 7,000 and 12,000 years ago. It quickly spread northward. By the time the first European explorers arrived on the coast, the farming of corn had disseminated throughout North America amongst all those indigenous peoples who practiced agriculture. It was a food staple, along with beans and squash, known as the three sisters.

For this North America Ancient Eats update, we combined several foods native to pre-Columbian North America into familiar taco form. Organic blue corn masa was combined with water and salt to form fresh, delicious, warm tortillas. Roasted garlic[1] and butternut squash purée adds lovely earthy notes and a creamy texture. This was topped with marinated bison steak. Bison were ubiquitous throughout North America and fundamental for the survival of many native peoples. One taco was topped with the salsa roja, which features another North American native, the tomato. The other was topped with the salsa verde, which is based on the tomatillo that likely originated in Mexico. Both salsas were flavored with spicy chili peppers, which like the other ingredients are native to the New World.

marinated bison steak taco
Marinated Bison steak, thinly sliced and quickly cooked makes a tasty taco!

As we continue to learn that the pre-Columbian world of the Americas consisted not of isolated tribes of savages in the wilderness, but of sophisticated cultures and societies that regularly communicated, traded, exchanged and warred with each other; it becomes all the more likely that ingredients and preparatory techniques likewise flowed throughout the land.

bison steak taco with garlic and butternut squash puree, salsa roja, and salsa verde
Roasted garlic and butternut squash puree, salsa roja, and salsa verde provide the perfect complement

Sourcing quality ingredients elevates the humble taco into a pocket rocket of nutrition. It transforms the destructive fast food incendiary found on the drive-through menu into an authentic and most importantly delicious, food experience.  So enjoy this modern spin on an ancient eat and take a bite out of history!

homemade healthy steak tacos
Tacos: A North American Ancient Eat with a modern twist

[1] While  the modern day form of garlic likely originated in Europe, close relatives like “crow garlic,” “meadow garlic,” and “wild onion,” are native to North America.

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