This is Ernie, our guide at the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. He played his flute for us after our 4 hour visit to the Hopi Villages and a number of spiritual sites.
Our tour was done, but Ernie continued to share. He shared his music and more stories of growing up on the reservation. He spoke about living in California where Native American children were sent to be educated. He gave us an opportunity to "meet" his Kachina mask with some special words and food offering. He gave us each an eagle feather to keep.
Ernie also gave me my first taste of Hopi food!
Ernie shared some of his piki bread, made by women in the village...as a gift for performing at a Village Ceremony. It takes days to create this bread that's made from blue corn and ash. It tastes a bit like it looks...rolled up newspapers, toasted over a fire! But it flaked off like a very thin chip. Maybe some salsa would have helped.
Lunch with Ernie
This is as much as I can share in a photo of our lunch experience with Ernie. (no cameras allowed) He was eager to take us to the village store that is packed with much more than groceries. The deli in the back of the store unfortunately served more Mexican food than Hopi.
Traditional Hopi food is still cooked by some of the village elders, but more and more Hopi have turned to Americanized foods. So I'm unable to give points for the burritos and tamales we devoured, but I'll happily give 20 points for dining amongst the locals. Ernie chatted and laughed with friends here and there and quietly murmured stories about some of the folks he spotted.
Found! Traditional Hopi Food!
We parted with Ernie after lunch and headed towards the Grand Canyon. We stopped for gas at Tuuvi's gas/cafe in Tuba, AZ, on the edge of the Hopi Reservation. When I went inside, I was delighted to see, a cafe menu featuring traditional Hopi food!
Even though I had just eaten, I was eager to buy some Mutton Stew, to go! Mutton and dumplings! How about that? I would be able to add Hopi (representing North America) on my list of 50 International Dining Experiences!
Better than Piki!
And how about Fry Bread...with a little honey! Kind of like a sopapilla maybe? It filled the car with the smell of funnel cakes!
So how did the stew and bread taste? Even with the honey, all I could taste was grease. I couldn't eat very much of the Fry Bread.
Mutton Stew? Honestly out of my 42 international dining adventures this is the only food I have not been able to stomach! Even the Taiwanese Stinky Tofu was a bit easier to swallow. I was never so glad to be nibbling in my car and NOT surrounded by Hopi Villagers or cooks. I'm not used to being stumped by a food! How could I not like a dumpling? Maybe it was the atmospshere of my car that made me not push to enjoy my sampling. But after 3 bites of glue-ish, gray gravy and rubbery, pungent meat of the "mature sheep", I replaced the lid and set it aside...which I could not have done in the presence of Hopi!
30 POINTS for HOPI DINING
No negative points for my mutton, because I have a MUTTON MEMORY and that's worth 10 points! 20 points for the People Encounters. I will never forget my varied experience with food on the Hopi Reservation! I hope I get to give it another try some day!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.