Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Traditional Food

Dragonfly Lecture 2: 2/2/09
Agave plants growing in the Santa Rosa Mountains. Pat Murkland photo © 2003

Our next Dragonfly Lecture will feature Daniel McCarthy discussing the traditional Cahuilla food,  agave (Agave deserti Engelm. in the Latin).

Food? I wondered when I first saw an agave plant, writing:
"An agave plant looks anything but edible. It's a Great Dane of the succulent family, tall, easily weighing more than 150 pounds. Its giant spiky spears resemble an aloe vera plant on runaway hormones."

I soon learned what Cahuilla people have known for hundreds of years:
"But when harvested with exact timing and roasted with precision, the heart of agave can be incredibly sweet."

Daniel McCarthy, a U.S. Forest Service archaeologist, will discuss Cahuilla strategies for traditional harvesting, preparation and pit-roasting of the sweet heart of agave.

About the speaker:
Daniel McCarthy is an archaeologist and longtime tribal relations program manager for the U.S. Forest Service. He has worked with tribal governments and many elders and organizations (including the Southern California Indian Basketweavers, of which he is VP). He tirelessly promotes cultural awareness. His research interests include aboriginal trails of the deserts, prehistoric rock art, and string figures. He also has done much research on native plant uses, especially on their relationship to health. And he's a great cook!

Details: 6 p.m. Monday Feb. 2
Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
17 W. Hays, Banning, CA
FREE. Donations gratefully accepted.

No comments: