To follow up the post on the ever popular fry bread, it is important to know there are other breads that are seen as traditional for American Indian Tribes. I thought about doing this follow up piece to the fry bread post after hearing a nutrition educator from the Minnesota Chippewa tribe talk about their efforts to offer bannock in place of fry bread at community gatherings . Bannock is a traditional Ojibwe bread that is often baked. The bannock, of course, having less calories and fat than fry bread will take less time in the gym to work off after eating the several pieces we are likely to consume!
Other traditional breads of American Indian Tribes include cornbread, tortillas, and Lugaled to name a few. I’m sure you’ve heard of the first two but Lugaled is a traditional bread for which my grandma had recipes in her recipe files. Lugaled, also spelled Lagilette, means fire bread. It was traditionally made in a skillet over the open fire, or if there wasn’t a skillet available, the dough could be wrapped around a branch and baked over the flames.
The recipe for Lugaled in my grandma’s collection includes flour, baking powder, salt, lard, and water. These were likely ingredients that were available either on the reservation or by trading. By hearing the ingredients you can imagine it would be more like a biscuit than the fluffy fry bread. I’m told by one of the nutrition program staff in Red Cliff that it is best with bacon on it! Obviously, our more healthy option is compromised with bacon!
A friend and student of my grandma’s, James “Jimmy” Pete, wrote a cultural preservation article for the Red Cliff Tribal Community in which he addressed the importance of remembering Lugaled. It was clear from his article that Lugaled had a connection to the past and is a small way of keeping traditions in the forefront of our lives. Like many traditional foods, it is a way to bridge generations by sharing stories and sometimes tall tales of what it has meant in our lives.
5 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp. lard or drippings
2 ½ cups water
Mix dry ingredients. Add fat and work until crumbly. Add water. The dough will be stiff. Knead in a bowl for 10 rounds. Add a bit of flour if mixture is sticky. Place in a greased flat cake pan and bake at 400° for 40 minutes. Lug can be cooked outside by an open fire by placing in a greased skilled and facing the fire. When one side is brown, turn over in pan and cook the other side the same way.