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News and Comment by Tehaliwaskenhas
Bob Kennedy, Oneida
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May 6, 2007 - On my features menu today is a restaurant review, and a review of a new book, created by seasoned restaurant food folks Dolly Watts and daughter Annie Watts. The book is titled Where People Feast, an Indigenous Peoples Cookbook.

But before we take a look at their 192 page book, with its "16 full-colour photos and 150 delectable dishes", I want to offer this quick restaurant review.

Sob! Boo Hoo! Those english words express my sadness and disappointment, in learning that after 12 years the Liliget Feast House, "the only First Nations fine dining restaurant of its kind", located at 1724 Davie Street, in Vancouver, BC - is closed.

The traditional First Nations food - a range of fish, game, berries, etc. was an attraction, for sure. For me personally, I have missed the eatery since moving to Vancouver Island in '98. I managed to get there a couple of times since, but wish it had been more often.

It was truly a most enjoyable experience, thanks to the atmosphere they created, but of course because of the quality and variety of the foods, and personal service - all made it so very memorable. But I also liked the unique charm of the place itself.

Once down some stairs, you felt at home. Your eyes were welcomed by the warmth of wood, and more wood. You got cozy and comfy by tucking into the tables - a worthwhile squeeze for those of us, with size. Your nostrils, overcome by pungent and sweet smells, quickly sought out their origins. Tantalized, you were satisifed with the promise of a feastly fulfillment. And so it was, for any appetite that arrived, Native or non-native.

I remember, and as I do, it amazes me to realize a restaurant, small as it was, had character that was longstanding and large as life. Now it's gone.

I asked Dolly, "What prompted the decision to close your place?" She heard that the owners of the building planned to tear the place down this year and replace it with apartments. She told me, "Both myself and my daughter, Annie, are happy that its legacy can live on in our new cookbook".

I myself get stuck on the front page of Where People Feast. It's the lifelike blueberries, and all they represent, especially in these days of diets and our return to traditional fare. Once inside, you again fall under the spell of culture and quality. Although focused on west coast Native cuisine, like its predecessor - the restaurant, this cookbook caters to across-culture cravings - First Nations food tastes from across Turtle Island.
Where People Feast, an Indigenous Peoples Cookbook
by Dolly Watts and Annie Watts
published by Arsenal Pulp Press

Here's Their News Release Arsenal Pulp Press is delighted to bring you Where People Feast, an indigenous cookbook by Dolly and Annie Watts. Ambrosia for the hungry soul, the book focuses on west coast Native cuisine, which takes advantage of the area's abundant seafood, game, fruits, and vegetables with ingredients both exotic (oolichans, venison, grouse) and common (salmon, crab, berries).

The food traditions of North America's indigenous peoples are centuries-old and endure to this day. Feasts that include a bounty of land and sea are the focal point of celebrations and ceremonies; for many, food is what connects them to family, community, and the afterlife.

Dolly and Annie are from the Git'ksan First Nation in British Columbia, and were the proprietors of the Liliget Feast House in Vancouver, the only First Nations fine dining establishment of its kind, whose numerous accolades included a four-star "recommended" rating from The New York Times.

Annie received her Culinary Arts Degree in 1980 and for almost two decades, Dolly and Annie have focused on serving Native cuisine that is both traditional and modern; while many recipes are steeped in history, others are contemporary takes that acknowledge other cuisines both near and far.

The book includes 16 full-colour photographs, and 120 delectable dishes that can be easily replicated by chefs at home; the authors also offer plenty of handy suggestions and substitution ideas. For Dolly and Annie, Where People Feast is the culmination of a lifetime's work dedicated to introducing people to the extraordinary foods that are truly North American.

Recipes include Smoked Salmon Mousse, Indian Tacos, Venison Meatballs, Alder-Grilled Breast of Pheasant, Blackberry-Glazed Beets, Wild Rice Pancakes, Seaweed & Salmon Roe Soup, and Wild Blueberry Cobbler.

Where People Feast, an Indigenous Peoples Cookbook
Their Web Site


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