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'Good Seeds' Paints Portrait of Food, Family and Menominee Life

Wisconsin Historical Society Press

Sitting down to a good meal is an experience valued across cultures. A new food memoir by Native American artist and social sciences professor Thomas Pecore Weso, calledGood Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir, expands upon this shared appreciation of food to open up a window into tribal life.

The memoir combines essays with accompanying recipes from Weso's childhood growing up in the 1950s and 60s on a northern Wisconsin Menominee reservation.

"As a society, I think we need to value our food more."

Weso’s food exploits include catching fish by hand and grilling and eating them within 20 minutes, smothering beaver with barbeque sauce and preparing milkweed so that it was edible.

Regardless of what he was eating, Weso says it was always in season, and the source of the food was the local forests and streams. These are lessons, he says, we all need to learn.

"We have to understand that we all live in a cyclical, seasonal universe... Like today if I want a pork chop, I just go down to the store and buy a pork chop," Weso explains. "There's little ceremony involved in that. Perhaps that lack of ceremony cheapens the value of that pork. As a society, I think we need to value our food more."

Thomas Pecore Weso will have a book reading Tuesday, October 18 at Books & Company in Oconomowoc. 

Maayan is a WUWM news reporter.