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Getting Ready for Intercollegiate Wild Clay Symposium Take Two

Getting Ready for the Intercollegiate Wild Clay Symposium at Parkin

October 8, 2023

I have always been fascinated by soup! I made my first pot from scratch when I was a young stay at home mom in the Bronx. I vividly recall the recipe. It was a pea soup recipe I found in the New York Times just after my son was born. I was a vegetarian at the time, and I remember thinking that that was simply the most delectable thing I had ever cooked, and while I had to splurge on the bottle of white wine, which we enjoyed the rest of at dinner, the total cost of the recipe was under $10., wine included. I clipped that recipe, but I have since moved a few times and lost track of that notebook I once used to consider essential to my cooking. However, it did continue to inspire me to find learn the nuances of soup. When my kids were growing up and wanted to have their friends for dinner, they soon learned that when I was making soup, the answer their friends gave was always a resounding yes.

I am working on the second annual Intercollegiate Wild Clay Symposium. This is a very special project. We will soon be spending next weekend in Parkin, Arkansas at the Parkin Archeological State Park. We will be digging clay from the St. Francis River not very far from the 19th century button factory that occupied the town. However, the button factory is inconsequential to our reason for being there. We will be interacting with the collection Casqui Village pottery, which was a Mississippian Culture Population that long predated any European contact on the site. We are digging clay to make wares with it that we will also pit fire. We are camping at Village Creek State Park in Wynne, Arkansas. Here we will reflect on the Trail of Tears, as there is an intact and well-preserved portion that cuts through the park. We will gather, share experiences, network, learn, talk about heritage, and indulge in inspired foodways. We spend the weekend interacting with park staff, state archeologists. We have prepared a lot beforehand; asking questions, collecting local clay samples, researching, and inquiring with the cultural advisors from the indigenous communities that claim this place as part of their ancestry. This project is ongoing in its documentation.

It is five days before we embark on this year’s journey. I have spent the weekend pouring over resources, checking camping gear, shopping for ingredients, tying up loose ends, and formalizing plans. I also started cooking. There is still so much to do this week.

This Three Sisters Soup is inspired by Sue Moran of The View from Great Island the Donna Chapelle and Patricia Chandler from the First Nations Development Institute and the “Three Sisters Soup recipe from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park” found on the National Parks Experience website. It will be served for lunch on the initial day of our gathering.

The soup I have prepared is vegan and I have taken care to use gluten free herbs and spices. This recipe as written will make 48 servings of soup.

Sauté in 1 tbsp oil: (I used olive)

4 onions until caramelized

Add in:

4 cloves of garlic

1 bell pepper

2 jalapenos

1 ribs of celery

4 carrots

1 butternut squash

1 zucchini

1 potato

Cook about 5 min more

Add in:

1 can of corn

1 lb. of purple hull peas

2 lbs. of black beans that have been previously soaked

2 dried anaheim peppers

1 dried pasilla peppers

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp oregano



2 bay leaves

Water to cover

Cook until dried beans are soft. Serve with corn bread.

Rise 4:00 AM - Rest 11PM


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