Nasaump is a Wampanoag recipe for cornmeal porridge. Cooked with fresh berries, nuts, and seeds and sweetened with maple syrup, this recipe is a mix between oatmeal and grits. Hearty and filling, this porridge recipe is a fun historical recipe the whole family can enjoy.
Historically Hungry – Old Recipes Made New
Every month my friend Amy from House of Nash Eats and I get together and recreate a historical recipe. Sometimes we make it exactly with just a few minor adjustments to suit the times, and sometimes we recreate the recipe into something new! This month we thought it would make sense to give a nod to Thanksgiving, colonial America and the Native Americans who lived here at the time! This time around I made Nasaump, a cornmeal porridge and Amy made Honey Roasted Duck!
What did Pilgrims Eat?
In truth, we ca't really talk about what the Pilgrims ate without talking about what the Native American tribes who lived in the area ate as well. The first Thanksgiving was held to celebrate a great harvest after a brutal winter where many colonists died. The Native Americans in the area provided the colonists with food during that first harsh winter, along with teaching them how to hunt and fish, grow corn, forage the land, and which plants were poisonous.
The original Thanksgiving Feast went on for THREE days, and was attended by 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. Sidenote: it was also celebrated in September at the actual harvest. It wasn't until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday!
The people of this time hunted and fished, foraged for food, and planted crops as well. The people of this time ate very seasonally. Surpluses were dried or smoked. Breakfast was usually bread with butter or cheese. Lunch (called dinner) was the biggest meal of the day and made up of porridges, bread, and meat. Supper (or what I typically call dinner because its my biggest meal of the day) was leftover food from lunch (err. dinner).
For the most part, life revolved around food. Hunting, fishing, farming, gardening, cooking, and caring for animals - it all revolved around putting food on the table today and ensuring there would be food on the table in the days to come. If you are interested in more recipes the Native Americans and colonial Americans might have eaten, check out the American Harvest Bison Bowl!
Tips for Making the Best Cornmeal Porridge
To make the best cornmeal porridge, the trick is to mix a little it of the cornmeal with some water before you start to cook it. Forming this paste helps to create a lump-free porridge.
You can cook porridge to your pwn liking - you can add more liquid to make it thinner or less to make it thicker. Just keep adding water or milk until you get the consistency you like.
What to put on your Nasaump Cornmeal Porridge
The Wampanoag cooked their cornmeal porridge with maple syrup, fresh berries, nuts and seeds. Some great topping choices are:
Some topping ideas are:
- Fresh Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries or Raspberries
- Maple Syrup or Honey
- Walnuts, Pecans, Chestnuts
- Sunflower Seeds, Pepitas
An alternative version of Nasaump is that you grind the nuts and seeds and cook them with the cornmeal instead of using them as a topping. You can then spread the porridge into a pan and allow it to cool. When cool, you can cut it into strips and fry it in butter or bacon grease.
Get Your Kids in The Kitchen
- Kids aged 1-3 can help you measure the cornmeal, wash the berries, and get out the maple syrup (or honey), nuts and seeds.
- Kids aged 4-6 can help you do all the above, plus help you top each of the bowls of porridge!
- Kids aged 7-10+ can help you do all the above, plus stir the porridge as it cooks!
*Please note that these recommendations are generalized, and to please use your personal discretion with your child’s skill level. And always, always supervise! Read more about how to have your children help you in the kitchen.
- 1.5 cups cornmeal, either yellow or white (or both!)
- 1 cup berries - strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or a combination of all
- ½ cup chopped nuts and seeds - any combination of walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 cups water
- In a medium sized pot, mix the cornmeal with just enough water to form a paste.
- Add in 1 cup of water and mix thoroughly.
- Add in ½ cup berries.
- Heat over medium heat to simmering and cook, stirring continuously, for 10 minutes, or until the desired consistency has been reached. Continue adding more water as you see fit - its more art that science here!
- Divide into bowls and top with remaining berries, nuts and seeds, and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 525Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1994mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 9gSugar: 18gProtein: 14g