Bannock and berries and beans, oh my
Guests get their hands sticky making bannock at community event in Ottawa
The Crisco sizzles in a hot pan on the stove as elder Zippie Nochasak kneads a large ball of dough to fit the pan.
Want to know her secret for cooking extra-flavourful bannock?
Reuse the Crisco oil in the pan for each batch of bannock that you cook.
“That’s the secret,” Nochasak whispered.
She shared tips like these at Bannock and Belonging, a community event in Ottawa she and art historian, seamstress and curator Augatnaaq Eccles organized through the Carleton University Art Gallery.
The team treated participants to an afternoon of making bannock and a lunchtime feast at the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre on Thursday in Ottawa.
Bannock is a dish shared by many Indigenous communities, said Danielle Printup, a co-organizer of the event, and it’s often prepared for families and friends to share.
Nochasak, who hails from Nain in Nunatsiavut, walked participants through a recipe for kenauqtuk, a Nunavik-style bannock cooked flat on the stove.
This particular recipe called for two cups of flour, a tablespoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of salt to taste, mixed with a third of a cup of Crisco oil, a quarter cup of milk and one cup of water.
A tablespoon of sugar can also be added to the mix for a sweet kick, Nochasak said.
“Each of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat have their own versions of bannock,” she said.
Some communities deep fry small pieces of the dough in oil or lard, others make a stovetop version fried dry in a pan. Another popular style is rolling the bannock dough into a coil shape inside the pan to make it easier to tear off into pieces for sharing, Nochasak explained.
Bannock can be served sweet or savoury, too. Guests could choose from toppings like Arctic char, cream cheese, chili with cheese and green onions, a corn and bean salsa, and for a dessert version, fresh strawberry sauce with whipped cream.
Nochasak herself likes her bannock to be fried in small pieces with raisins added to the mixture.
“It’s tastier,” she said with a smile.
Participant Julie Hodgson has eaten bannock before on trips to Nunavut, but had never made it before. “It was wonderful seeing it prepared,” she said. “I’m going to try making it at home.”
Frédérique Guinel also made bannock for the first time on Thursday, describing the treat as “rich” but an enjoyable dish to make.
“I’m going to try making it for my son,” she said.
See below for more photos of the event.