“Senecas used large wooden spoons to eat full-corn hominy out of bark dishes or carved wooden bowls. Along with the hominy they ate roasted venison and boiled corn bread, dipped into a bowl of grease. If their greasy fingers bothered them, they wiped them clean on cornhusks.

At the end of the meal, each person received a bowl of “onegadaiyeh.” This was a hot tea made from the tips of hemlock boughs mixed with a dash of sassafras, or wintergreen tea sweetened with maple sugar. Evening meals were topped off with generous slices of sugar-nut bread, made by mixing white corn flour with ground maple sugar and hickory and hazelnuts. The cake was held in shape by cornhusks wrapped around it, and boiled until done.”


NATIVE AMERICANS        Primary Theme Series — JoAnne Kato
1998 Creative Teaching Press, Inc., Cypress, CA 90630

“The availability of food depended on the season, but since the woodlands teemed with wildlife, there was always large and small game to be hunted. The lakes and rivers were full of fish. In the spring, summer, and fall, there were wild fruits, berries, and nuts, along with an abundance of corn, beans, squash, and other crops. When corn was in season, the woodland peoples cooked a variety of corn dishes including corn soup and cornbread. They popped corn too!

Add to the flavor of your Seneca study by preparing a corn dish. It could be as simple as popping com for the class or baking cornbread. If you’re a bit more adventurous, try one of the following recipes:”

(Makes about 23 small servings)


1 cup fresh spinach, torn
1 15 oz. can whole-kernel corn
1/2 cup cooked beef cut into small pieces
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 quart water
1 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: Combine ingredients in a medium pot. Simmer until rice is cooked (25-30 minutes).

(Makes about 23 small servings)


2    15 oz. cans hominy
1    15 oz. can pinto beans
1 cup cubed ham
Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: Combine ingredients. Heat and serve.


“Because their meat supply depended on the success of a hunt, the Seneca Indians learned to grow and dry corn, beans, and squash. Their natural sweetener was maple syrup, which they gathered and cooked in birch bark bowls.”


(for a group of 4)


1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c milk
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 c. oil
1/8 c. sugar
1 egg
*baking cups

DIRECTIONS: (Assign each student in a group a number from 1 — 4.)

#1 Measure, add and mix the flour and cornmeal
#2 Measure, add and mix the sugar and baking powder.
#3 Measure, add and mix the salt and the egg/
#4 Measure, add and mix the milk and the oil.

#1 — 4 Spoon the batter into baking cups. Fill 1/2 way.

Teacher     Bake at 425 degrees for 12 — 15 minutes or until slightly brown on top. Serve warm with butter.


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society