Granny Squannit: Memories Of Mashpee Wampanoag Indigenous Recipes

I was looking in my archives and what pops up is a cookbook titled “Cook Book—Mashpee Baptist Church, Mashpee, Mass.” The dedication reads: “In Loving Memory, Deacon Adolphus G. Miller—Chairman of Diaconate (1978).”

This brought to mind that 40 years ago, I loved this cookbook to pieces. I found both traditional and contemporary Wamp food recipes, flavored with wisdom that originates from our ancestors and young adults. There are many other delightful non-native recipes between the pages, also. However, I’ll just Wamp it up this time for the winter solstice and the value of sharing cultural cooking.

Mother’s Chow-Chow

Ellen Edwards Hendricks (Mashpee Wampanoag)

  • 24 green tomatoes
  • 8 onions
  • 2 sweet peppers
  • 4 TBSP mustard seed
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 5 TBSP salt
  • 4 TBSP celery seed
  • 1 TBSP allspice
  • 1 TBSP whole cloves
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • Chop tomatoes, onions and peppers. Cook for 1⁄2 hour and put in sterilized jars. Makes about 10 pints.

Clam Fritters

Robert Hendricks

(Mashpee Wampanoag)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 quart chopped clams
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Mix all together and drop from spoon onto sizzling hot deep fat. Serve hot.

Ginger Ale Crumb Cake

Hannah Averett

(Mashpee Wampanoag)

  • 1⁄2 cup solid white shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 1⁄2 cups flour, divided
  • 2 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
  • 3⁄4 cup ginger ale

Mix shortening, 2 cups flour, brown sugar together until you get fine crumbs. Reserve 3⁄4 cup crumb mixture for topping. Add eggs to remaining crumb mixture and cream well. Blend baking powder and cinnamon, add alternately with ginger ale to creamed mixture, mix well. Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes. Makes 16 2-inch squares.

Quahog Hash

Bonnie Scott

(Mashpee Wampanoag)

  • 1⁄2 stick butter
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2 1⁄2 cups chopped quahogs
  • Mix and brown in frying pan.

Weez’s Special Corn Bread

Louise Lopes

(Mashpee Wampanoag)

  • 2 pkgs Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1⁄2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups canned cream-style corn

Blend, do not beat. Use 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan and bake 25 minutes in 325°F oven.

Potato & Corned Beef Bargain

Marion Hendricks

(Mashpee Wampanoag)

  • 1 quart raw potatoes, peeled and sliced 1⁄2-inch thick
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 16-oz can corned beef, broken in pieces
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1⁄2 lb salt pork, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp salt

Fry out salt pork, sauté onions until light brown. Put all ingredients in a 6- or 8-quart kettle with cover. Cover with warm water, having about 2 inches above potatoes; heat but do not boil until dumplings are added.


  • 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄2 cup cornmeal

Sift all ingredients together with a pinch of salt, then add enough milk to make a medium stiff dough. Drop by tablespoonfuls into hot water. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Do not lift cover while cooking.

Joan Tavares Avant, M.Ed., is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Wampanoag Deer Clan mother, and a former director of the Mashpee School District’s Indian Education Program. She can be reached at