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Side Dish Recipes

Have you ever wondered why early settlers, with their sunup to sundown dearth of physical labor seemed to stay physically fit with trail and winter diets of mostly beans and cornmeal? I sure have! At some point, while trolling through an interesting site (Backwoods Home), I came across the following little tidbit:

When you eat beans with rice or corn, the two foods mix up inside your body to create an important type of protein which is like the protein in meat. (Your body is made largely of protein, and so you need to eat a lot of it.) That's why the native Southwestern people were so healthy with a diet of mostly beans and corn and not much meat.

Who knew? I knew that beans were a great pioneer choice due to cost and portability issues, and I knew that cornmeal was far cheaper than wheat flour and was very flexible in what you could make from it, but I just didn't realize that the combination of the two in their constant diet was a key factor in keeping these hard-working folks healthy and strong!

Of course, this diet was not year round . . . spring, summer, and autumn brought a wealth of wild fruits and vegetables, even if a settler hadn't gotten their garden growing yet.

Here are a few basic recipes: