Sapan is the word for boiled cornmeal in the Lenape language (also known as Delaware). An anglicized version of the name is suppawn, ocasionally found in some old recipes. Sapan was a daily staple for the Lenni Lenape, and they combined it with any of a number of other ingredients, either savory or sweet.
One sweet version flavors it with blueberries and maple syrup. I'm using ghee as a lacto-vegetarian substitute for the bear fat of the original recipe.
1 cup blue or white cornmeal
1 cup cold water
2 cups boiling water
just a dash of salt
3 tbs dried blueberries
1 tbs ghee
1. Mix the cornmeal and cold water.
2. Bring the rest of the water to a boil; stir in the cornmeal mixture and salt. Add the blueberries.
3. Lower the heat and slowly cook it uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. When it's nearly done cooking, stir in the ghee until mixed and then beat the sapan to a smooth texture.
4. Serve topped with maple syrup.
Reverse side of the Sacagawea dollar, showing an Indian woman cultivating the sacred Three Sisters: corn, beans, and squash. The corn is planted in the middle of a mound of soil, then beans around that, then squash around the outside. The cornstalk gives the bean vines a way to climb higher and produce a better yield. The bean vines help stabilize the cornstalk in the soil to protect it from getting blown over by wind. The big squash leaves shade the soil, helping it retain moisture, while the prickly squash stems help keep away predators. Win-win-win!
Psindamoákan is "parched" (toasted) meal historically used by American Indians as a compact, lightweight source of nutrition and energy for travelers. It's said that you could walk all day long on nothing but a handful of it. With a small pouch of it, you could travel hundreds of miles. Kept dry, it keeps well for an unlimited length of time.
Psindamoákan is its name in the Lenape language. The original recipe of the Lenni Lenape nation took whole dried corn kernels and roasted them, then pounded them up in a large mortar and pestle, and mixed in a little maple sugar. They often didn't have salt available, but since we do, let's add a little pinch. This is my adaptation of the recipe to modern conditions. Whole dried corn kernels for grinding into meal aren't found in most groceries, so I substitute cornmeal. Maple syrup is usually easier to obtain than maple sugar, and I think makes it turn out a little nicer. Psindamoákan is extremely dry and readily absorbs water, so be sure to have abundant water to accompany it.
1 cup whole-grain cornmeal
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1. Roast the cornmeal over medium-low heat in a large skillet, stirring frequently, until fragrant and moderately browned.
2. Add the maple syrup and salt. Mix well. Keep stirring until dry, then take it off the heat. Eat in small amounts with plenty of water.
Makes 8 servings.
It's very crunchy and yummy. In modern terms, this is Indian granola. In fact, I believe granola, first made with toasted oats in 19th-century America, originated as an adaptation of this Indian recipe. Breakfast cereal is so expensive, but psindamoakan tastes just as good and is way cheaper. Cornmeal is one of the cheapest foodstuffs in the grocery.
Per serving (½ cup):
Calories from fat: 39
Total fat: 4.3g
Saturated fat: 2.1g
Total carbohydrates: 37.7g
Dietary fiber: 2.4g
Vitamin A 3% • Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 2% • Iron 7%
Low in cholesterol, low in sodium, high in manganese.
Per serving (25 grams or 2 tbs):
Calories from fat: 5
% Daily Value*
Total fat: 0.6g - 1%
Saturated fat: 0.1g - 1%
Cholesterol: 0mg - 0%
Sodium: 41mg - 2%
Total carbohydrates: 18.3g - 6%
Dietary fiber: 1.1g - 4%
Vitamin A 1% • Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 1% • Iron 4%
*Based on a 2000 calorie diet