On WNC’s Qualla Boundary, the smell of Cherokee Frybread sizzling in hot oil is evocative.
The history of this simple dish is tough to separate from its oppressive roots — yet, in the words of Cherokeeeducator + cultural preservationist Charles Taylor, the aroma “smells like the Cherokee Indian Fair. It’s relaxing and full of celebration and fun times. He adds “if you like funnel cake, you’d like Frybread.”
This weekend, the dish will have the spotlight at Chow Chow’sCherokee Fry Bread Workshop, which will be led by Charles (a West Asheville resident) and fellow Indigenous educator and botanist Tyson Sampson, on Sun., June 26, 9-11 a.m.
An action shot of Charles crafting a batch of Frybread. | Photo by Tyson Sampson
“With Frybread we were given lemons, so this is our lemonade,” explains Tyson, an Eastern Band Cherokee Indian who often orchestrates Frybread pop-ups for their community and sometimes in the Asheville area.
“The most important thing is just to recall, remember, and to advocate that Frybread is the type of food that makes sure nobody will ever go hungry…. even in our poverty-stricken childhood, we were never hungry.”
The fried dough delicacy, which originated from the USDA rations given to displaced Navajo people in the 1860s, has over time transformed into a culinary staple for Indigenous communities, including the Eastern Band of Cherokee (~1 hour drive from Asheville). The Cherokee version, which uses a dough made from flour, baking powder, water, and evaporated milk, makes for a fluffier and lighter take on the dish, in contrast with the more “pita-like” version found in the Southwest.
“Each tribal affiliation has its own variation, they’ve perfected it to themselves,” explains Charles. “It’s a delicacy because it’s favored by so many people. Everywhere you go, to a public event, cultural event, a pow wow, a gathering – somebody, somewhere in the crowd has knowledge of Frybread.”
Charles says Cherokee prefer Frybread + chili over hamburgers or hotdogs. | Photo by Tyson Sampson
Frybreadcan be eaten plain as a snack or meal — or as more of a dessert with toppings like honey and preserved strawberry jam. Another traditional way of enjoying the bread (Charles’ favorite) is with vegetable, bison, or venison chili or stew.
Another way Frybread is served: garnished with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and raw onion as a “Cherokee Indian Taco.” For Charles, the ideal texture of Frybread is a little crispy and “soft like a pillow.”
Regardless of what topping is preferred, the most important ingredient for Charles is that it’s shared. “I like [Frybread] because it brings the community together, it’s a favorable food item that’s pretty simple to fix. It’s a reason to gather, to share each other’s company over good food.”
Chow Chow: Opening Party | Thurs., June 23 | 5:30-8 p.m. | Atelier Mason, 121 Sweeten Creek Rd. | $100 | Come with an appetite for excitement and celebrate the kick-off of Chow Chow’s 2022 festival.
American Aquarium | Thurs., June 23 | 7 p.m. | The Orange Peel | $20+ | This alternative country band is known for shining light on dark American corners with poetic lyrics and empathetic questions.
48 Hour Film Project Meet & Greet | Fri., June 24 | 6-8 p.m. | 45 S. French Broad | Free | The 48 Hour Film Project’s first meet + greet of the season is an opportunity to learn more about the project, join a team, or find a cast and crew.
Entrepreneurs of Color | Sat., June 25 | 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. | Atelier Mason, 121 Sweeten Creek Rd. | $60 | Enjoy Puerto Rican limber de coco, decadent pastries, savory bright summer Thai salads, flavors of West Africa, and beyond at this culinary event that highlights the diverse talents of our local chefs.
6th Annual Fletcher Firefly Festival | Sat., June 25 | 1-9 p.m. | Blue Ghost Brewing Company, 125 Underwood Rd. | Free | Enjoy live music from Andrew Thelston Band, Skunk Ruckus, and other artists, plus a special release of the Where The Boat Leaves From toasted coconut blonde ale. 🍺
Bold Rock Birthday Bash | Sat., June 25 | 10 a.m.-11 p.m. | 39 N. Lexington Ave. | Celebrate this cidery’s 10th birthday with live music, the special release of the seasonal Honeycrisp Cider, and a cake + cheer ceremony. 🎉
Hominy Creek Cleanup with Connect Buncombe | Sat., June 25 | 10 a.m.-1 p.m. | Hominy Creek, 230 Hominy Creek Rd. | Free | All supplies will be provided for this creek cleanup that also includes options for folks who don’t want to get wet. 🚮
Women to the Front Music Festival | Sun., June 26 | 12-8 p.m. | New Belgium Brewery | Free | This inaugural music festival is dedicated to celebrating women and will feature headliners like April B, Jamie Wright, McKinney, and The Maggie Valley Band.
Hendersonville Triathlon | Sun., June 26 | 7 a.m. | Patton Park, 114 E Clairmont Dr., Hendersonville | $90 | The 3rd annual Hendersonville Triathlon includes a 400m swim, 12.5 miles bike route, and a 5K. 👟
We have amonthly guide filled with events + activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
Where: Center for Craft Galleries, 67 Broadway St.
Hello, perfect date night. Learn how to bend a taper candle and sculpt a match holder + striker. Drinks from Bhramari Brewing Co. included, supported, in part, by Joel Adams & Associates of Raymond James Financial Services.
Where: Center for Craft Galleries, 67 Broadway St.
Tickets: Free, but register in advance
This Werner Herzog-directed film follows an 18th century Bavarian glassblowing town’s descent into madness. Drinks and snacks from Bhramari Brewing Co. and Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn included, supported, in part, by Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
There’s more where that came from — click the button to see the full events calendar. *
At its Tuesday meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted to extend double-time pay for 911 overtime shifts through Sept. 30. The goal of the extension is to address staffing challenges in the 911 call center. Currently, there are 22 vacant positions. Interested in joining the team? See openings. ☎️
On Tuesday, the Economic Development Coalition shared a presentation with Buncombe County about recent accomplishments. Highlights included a $6 million investment from Industry Nine, a $2.4 million investment from East Fork Pottery, and a $1.5 million investment from Legally Addictive Foods. These investments will create 115 new living wage jobs. 💰
Swannanoa eatery Loott House (2372 US 70 Hwy.) will celebrate its grand opening on Fri., June 24, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. The family-style restaurant from Chef Jacob Whitman (formerly of Copper Crown), will include casual fare like burgers, wings, salads, and beer in a low-key atmosphere. 🍔
Yearn to follow the yellow brick road? Tickets for the Land of Oz Theme Park experience will go live this Fri., June 24. The Beech Mountain-based park will open the weekends of Sept. 9-11, Sept. 16-18, and Sept. 23-25 and will feature live Wizard of Oz-themed experiences, performances, and art displays. 🪄
Shindig On The Green, Asheville’s longest running outdoor music and dance festival, returns to Pack Square Park for its 56th season on Sat., June 25, 7 p.m. Expect to hear long-standing house band The Stoney Creek Boys, along with various forms of Appalachian dancing, ballads, and storytelling. 🪕
California-based fitness franchise YogaSix has announced plans to bring a boutique yoga studio to Asheville. The yoga brand offers classes such as restorative yoga, slow flow, power yoga, hot yoga, and sculpt flow. A location for the studio has not yet been announced.
Cochon555’s Heritage Fire — an outdoor, live-fire cooking event slated for Sun., July 17 — has released its star-studded lineup of regional chefs. The culinary extravaganza will take place at Franny’s Farm in Leicester and feature unlimited eats + drinks from local talent like Eric Morris, Cleophus Hethington, Owen McGlynn, and Luis Martinez. Learn more + get tickets. 🔥
Devil’s Foot Beverages has partnered with The Whale Collective to create a fun new non-alcoholic beverageHop’d Lemonade. The farm-to-can product includes fresh-squeezed lemons, honey, and a finish of Citra and Azacca hops. Sip on it at all Whale locations — or order it online. 🍋
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