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Baking healthy bannock 101: connecting with Indigenous culture in the kitchen

April 14, 2021
The cornbread, standard and whole wheat bannock you can learn to bake through this virtual workshop.

Move over sourdough – you can learn how to make healthy versions of bannock, the delicious, moist, quick bread symbolic among many Indigenous people.

On World Health Day, April 7, the Office for Aboriginal Peoples hosted a virtual workshop to share healthy bannock recipes. Chef Andrew George, Wet'suwet'en, with Nicola Valley Institute of Technology students David McLeod, Upper Nicola, and Davis Moses, Lower Nicola shared family recipes for three kinds of bannock - cornbread, standard and whole wheat.

The ingredients

Bannock is often made from a few simple ingredients including white flour, so cornbread is a gluten-free alternative boosted by antioxidants. Bannock is often deep fried and made with lard (pork fat); these recipes use oil, including heart-healthy olive oil, and are all oven baked. You can also learn how to cook it over a campfire, like Chef Andrew did with his late father, lending a natural smoky flavour to the bread.

Bridging cultures & generations

Coast Salish Ethnobotanist Cease Wyss explained that bannock is an evolutionary food that has changed through generations and cultures. A popular favourite for many Indigenous people in Canada, the U.S., and New Zealand, eaten at community celebrations, while enjoying nature and with family. Trappers adapted to using it since it’s lightweight and travels well. European people, including the Scottish, have similar quick breads; bannach is flat, oval-shaped and made from rolled oats.
Bannock can be enjoyed as a sweet treat with butter and berries or as a savoury side served with soup.
With the advent of spring, Cease also spoke on sourcing local seasonal treats like salmonberries and maple buds, which could be added to the recipes. 

Watch the workshop
Find out why Chef Andrew says this is the best bannock in the world.