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Northwest - Meals & Bentwood boxes Illustration

Meals
Pacific Northwest Native Americans
in Olden Times for Kids

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Meals: Each family was allowed a small fire in their area, to prepare meals, inside the longhouse. There was plenty to eat. Without leaving the longhouse to restock, a family could dine, and even invite guests into their area, for weeks, without running out of food.

Their cooking was varied and clever. They were good cooks. They used whale or fish or salmon oil much as we would use butter and salad oil. They broiled some of food over low fires.

They baked and steamed and boiled their food without using any pots or pans. Pretty neat trick! To do this, first they heated rocks in the fire. When the rocks were hot, they were carefully lifted with utensils and dropped into a thick wooden cedar box or a thickly woven cattail basket full of water. When the rocks cooled, they lifted them out and replaced them with hot rocks. They kept this up until the water boiled.

Bentwood Boxes: Some west coast Native Americans also used a bentwood box to cook food. Bentwood boxes were also used to store clothes and toys, like miniature canoes.