Watch the virtual pashofa cooking class during the Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival

Release Date: 09.23.2020
By: Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • A demonstrator at the Chickasaw Cultural Center stirs a cast iron pot of pashofa with a pashofa paddle. Attend the virtual pashofa cooking class during the Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.

Pashofa has been a traditional Chickasaw meal for centuries.

During the Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival, the Chickasaw Nation is hosting a virtual pashofa cooking class Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. during cultural evening. The virtual class is available at AnnualMeeting.Chickasaw.net and on Facebook.com/TheChickasawNation.

Consisting of cracked corn (hominy) and pork, which is covered in water and boiled for several hours, pashofa was more than sustenance. It was traditionally made at ceremonial events in large pots. Women came together to prepare enough to feed an entire village. This required several pounds of cracked corn. When time came to prepare pashofa, corn pounders made from hollowed out tree trunks were used to crack hominy kernels. Next, the corn was poured into boiling water in a pashofa pot. Pork was added and the mixture continued to cook until it was soft and soupy. This process could take a good portion of the day, depending on how much pashofa was prepared.

One of the most important steps in cooking pashofa is to stir the pot regularly. This ensures the corn will not stick to the bottom of the large iron pots. Pashofa paddles were designed specifically for this purpose. They were carved with long handles, broadened at one end like a spoon, but flat with a straight edge for scraping. The strong heartwoods of hickory, bois d’arc and oak trees were used. Because they were made so well, these paddles lasted several generations, handed down as a cherished treasure from one family to the next. The handles wore smooth after many years of use, a legacy of the loving, hardworking hands of Chickasaw ancestors.

Next to the corn pounder, the pashofa pot was a necessary item in Chickasaw households. Before European trade, Chickasaw women crafted large clay vessels for cooking pashofa. The process of making these pots took much labor and many hours of preparing the clay, building and fashioning the pot by hand and waiting for the clay to dry before firing. Though the pots were well-made and served many people, the metal kettle began appearing as European trade increased. They were virtually indestructible and spared hours of making ceramic pots. Many pashofa pots were handed down among Chickasaw families for generations.

Pashofa was, and still is, served by Chickasaw families, for celebrations and ceremonies.

This virtual pashofa cooking class offers a chance to learn more about the cultural significance of this important dish and see how it is made. For a complete list of virtual events, classes and tours, visit AnnualMeeting.Chickasaw.net.