Native American holiday feast

An Indian heritage and a love of good food inspire this special dinner
LINDA LAU ANUSASANANAN

Sometimes I feel I'm at war with myself. I'm half Pilgrim and half Indian," says Loretta Barrett Oden. Her mother is a daughter of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma. And her father is part Irish with Mayflower connections. The mix is complex.

Oden's riveting blue-green eyes and high cheekbones give evidence of her heritage, but her cooking is one-sided. As owner of Santa Fe's Corn Dance Cafe, Oden says, "I offer a taste of Native America for today's palate."

And for this holiday dinner, she weaves together the rich bounty of foods native to the Americas ― including some of the dishes she serves at the Corn Dance. The indigenous Plains and Southwest ingredients ― buffalo, chilies, corn, juniper berries, pine nuts, sage, and squash ― work with other New World foods like quinoa. It all makes for a most memorable feast.