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Re-release: How learning about indigenous foods can open up your worldview (with Sean Sherman)

How to Be a Better Human


Self-improvement, Education

4.21.1K Ratings

🗓️ 27 November 2023

⏱️ 35 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


What’s your favorite dish — and what culture originated that recipe? Whether you’re thinking about grilled cheese, burritos, curry, pho… (we would go on but we are getting too hungry) trying something delicious opens you up to new experiences and conversations. Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, is a chef and food educator who focuses on revitalizing and reclaiming indigenous food systems in a modern culinary context. In today’s episode, he shares how increasing access to indigenous food practices can liberate more than just your taste buds. Sean, also known as The Sioux Chef, uses Native American recipes as well as farming, harvesting, wild food usage, salt and sugar making, food preservation, and land stewardship techniques to feed and educate communities in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. His vision of modern indigenous foods have garnered him many accolades, including the 2018 Bush Foundation Fellowship and the 2018 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook, and a 2019 James Beard Leadership Award. You can follow Sean at https://sioux-chef.com/ To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

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Ted Audio Collective.




Hey everyone.


How to Be A Better Human is still on our season break,


but we wanted to share a special episode from the archive today.


We'll be back with all new episodes and a whole new season for you in January 2024.


Until then, enjoy.


You're listening to How to Be a Better human. I'm your host Chris Duffy. I love to cook. I love to make a meal and have friends and family over and sit around a table eating and talking and having a great time. That's one of my favorite things in the world. But when I first started


cooking, there was this period of several years where as I was learning I never used the inside of an oven,


only the stove top in the microwave. Because turning on the big box full of gas, that felt way too scary and certainly too advanced for a beginner like me. I was afraid I was going to make my whole house blow up.


At the same time as I was learning to cook, I was learning alongside my roommate,


Dave, one of my best friends. And one time, Dave got his mom's recipe for this


traditional Persian chicken and walnut and


pomegranate stew called fessinjune. And one of the steps was to


process or grind the walnuts into really tiny pieces. But in the recipe


Dave's mom had added correctly, I don't think either of you have a


food processor, so if you don't have a way to grind the walnuts up, you can always just put them in a


zip block bag and then hit it with a boot or roll a wine bottle over it.


And now I first of all think this is an incredible step in a recipe, put it in a bag and smash it with a boot. But she was also completely correct. We did not have any other way to make these walnuts smaller. And because we didn't know many other recipes, we were just learning, this was like our one fancy impressive meal. So we would end up


making Fessin June quite a lot and that means that two or three times a month we would


be in our kitchen smashing a bag of walnuts with the heaviest boot we could find.


Now, for me, cooking pessinjune wasn't just a way to use my boot in my meal.


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