We were sitting around the dining room table a couple of weeks ago (My Mum, Brother and Mum Sue). I don’t recall how we got to talking about our favorite food memory. I asked My Mum if she knew what my favorite food was. She was pretty quick to answer, “Yeop! It’s Nitsidigo’i’.” Tranlation of the word is Kneel Down Bread. Here’s a recipe:
It’s the Navajo version of the tamale. It’s my favorite because it’s quite tasty but especially because I have fond memories of both my paternal and maternal grandmothers making this food for me.
We didn’t visit my paternal grandparents often (several times per year). They lived in Utah about 3 hours drive from our house. My paternal grandparents led a pretty traditional Navajo lifestyle. They subsisted on the meager oil royalties for oil taken from around their homestead. It was just enough to cover payments for Grandpa’s truck (usually the latest year’s model truck). The rest of their earnings were earned from their livestock (hundreds of sheep, cows and horses). Visiting the Grandparents usually meant we’re going home with mutton. Grandma Lucille was quick to make sure we took something home with us. They lived near the San Juan River so there was usually plenty of fresh produce. Grandma Lucille must have known my favorite food also because she usually made a special variety of Kneel Down Bread for me, mixed with Sheep Blood. Sounds disturbing but it was the most delicious food I’ve ever had. My Grandma has been gone for more than a decade but I see her easy smile and kind eyes in my nephew Kyle.
My Brother’s favorite food & memory was my Dad’s recipe of corn and squash with tortilla grilled over coals. My Dad left us more than 10 years ago but this recipe is something each sibling cooks for their kids now.
My Mum’s favorite food & memory was her Mum’s crepes, made fresh every morning. I remember my Grandma’s daily routine, included milking the sheep or goats to make the crepes. She ate this daily, which is probably how she reached 99 years until she left us last year.
I remembered my Grandparents and Dad when I saw a picture of Monument Valley Mittens this morning. MV Mittens are visible from the mesa near my Grandparent’s Summer homestead. I need to visit my Grandpa soon. It’s been awhile since I last saw him.