A detailed, readable account of traditional acorn preparation in terms of how-to and cultural significance, by Julia Parker as told to Beverly Ortiz. Parker is a Kashia Pomo Indian who gives demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts at Yosemite museum, but her style of acorn making is from the Miwok/Paiute tradition, and was learned from her husband's mother.

The book begins with a brief account of Parker's life story, and then plunges into a step-by-step account of acorn-making, complete with anecdotes, advice, and accounts of how Parker learned it. It's an incredibly labor-intensive process, but one not seen as mere labor. It has cultural, social, and spiritual significance, and the way Parker describes it reminded me of martial artists and other traditional artists and craftspeople from many cultures, who transform repetitive, painstaking work into a form of meditation.

I would really like to try making acorn from the black oaks on Dad's property, but it could be a multi-visit process. Alas, I cannot do the traditional hot-rocks-in-woven-basket technique, as I have no basket (or none I'd want to risk ruining) and there are dire warnings about exploding rocks. Also dire warnings about boiling acorn mush exploding out of stainless steel pots, with a note that Parker usually cooks while wearing a protective leather skirt.

The book also contains instructions for easier-sounding and non-explosive traditional recipes, like manzanita cider. I might tackle that one first.

It Will Live Forever : Traditional Yosemite Indian Acorn Preparation

ETA: If anyone wants a signed copy at $15.00, I am pretty sure the author will be selling them at the fair tonight, and if you speak before I leave, I could grab one for you.

From: [identity profile] rayechu.livejournal.com

You know, I'm curious about this one. I remember an entire afternoon of my childhood was dedicated to gathering as many acorns as I could from the backyard so that I could grind them up in my grandmother's kitchen and make acorn pancakes for the squirrels. Now, the adults never actually let me get that far, but I've always found acorns fascinating.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com

I am seriously going to look for this book. We're inundated with acorns each year, and I've always wanted to try cooking them but have been deterred by the amount of processing required.

... No manzanita around here so won't be attempting that one.

Thanks for the review.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Black oak has the tastiest acorns, according to Parker.

If you like, I could buy a copy for you and have it signed by the author. I'm pretty sure she'll be at the fair tonight. It costs $15.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com

Oh man, I wish this conversation were happening a month or two ago. Since then, financial stuff has played out so that I don't think I can, not for pleasure just for myself. But please tell her I love that she's written it and that I'm going to try to get it though the library and then *eventually* buy it. In six months to a year or so, if I'm lucky.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com

But... protective leather skirt?

This is a dangerous meal.

From: [identity profile] vom-marlowe.livejournal.com

Hot rocks can explode if they're not the right sort of rock....and I love my extreme cooking.

I would adore a copy if it's not too late.

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