The Wild Onion Dinner
By MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon
In Okmulgee, the pecan festival is a major event. I know all about this event and enjoy it. Naturally, foods made with pecans are for sale at many of the booths. There are all kinds of interesting contests, including fire hose tug of war and corn hole. It is always a fun day.
I heard about a beet festival, and it was hard to imagine what kinds of food would be featured that included beets. Later, I saw a poster featuring the beat festival, which cleared it up. Okmulgee was having a music festival.
Then there was The Wild Onion dinner. I wasn't surprised to see ads for it in the newspaper, but those ads didn't give information about what it entailed. My only clue was the locations for these dinners were at Native American-centered buildings. That was enough to send me to google, and it turned out to be a very interesting Oklahoma-based event.
Wild onions are among the first edibles to show up in the spring, and the dinners are to celebrate the early spring and cultural traditions. The first people come together to honor their heritage and sometimes sing and pray in their own language. Lately, nontribal people are invited to attend the dinners to share in this beautiful event.
Here are some recipes that are traditional for the dinners. I hear that wild onions are the best tasting and nothing like other onions, but grocery store onions will have to be substituted when they are not available. The upside to this is that the wild onions must be cleaned carefully and handled gently to preserve the flavor, which can take hours. It takes around a gallon of onions for every ten people.
The onions are boiled in water until tender. For a richer flavor, you can add salt pork or the drippings from bacon. Once the onions are tender, you can eat them as is, but usually, they are added to scrambled eggs.
Although the onion and scrambled eggs dish is the main part of the dinner, there are other dishes often served with them.
· 2 cups hominy (dried pearl hominy corn)
· 6 cups water
· 2 pounds pork ribs (country ribs)
· 1 teaspoon salt
Have water in the pot ready.
Remove any debris from the hominy and then rinse well. Place corn, pork, water, and salt in a pot and cook on low for seven to eight hours until corn is done.
Remember to stir frequently to avoid corn from sticking.
Traditional desert might be grape dumpling
Minutes to Prepare: 20
Minutes to Cook: 20
Number of Servings: 2
1 c Flour 1 1/2 t Baking Powder 2 t Sugar 1/4 t Salt 1T Shortening 1/2 c Grape Juice Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt. Add shortening. Add juice and mix into a stiff dough. Roll dough very thin on floured board and cut into strips 1/2" wide (or roll dough in hands and break off pea-sized bits). Drop into boiling grape juice and cook for 10 - 12 minutes
1. Pour grape juice into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
3. Add shortening. Mix well.
4. Add juice and mix into stiff dough.
5. Roll dough very thin on a floured board. Cut into 1/2" wide strips. Or roll dough in your hands and break it off into pea-sized bits.
Drop the pieces of dough into boiling grape juice and cook for 10 - 12 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream if desired.