Bannock is a type of fry bread, which originates from Scotland but was eventually adopted by the Indigenous peoples of Canada, particularly the Métis of western Canada. Bannock stems from the Gaelic word bannach, which means “morsel,” a short and sweet but accurate description. The Scottish cooked the bread on a griddle called a Bannock Stone, which they placed on the floor in front of a fire.
The bread was brought to Canada by Scottish explorers and traders, where the Indigenous adopted the recipe over the 18th and 19th centuries, using corn flour or plants rather than the wheat flour of the Europeans. Cooked hearth-side, it was usually prepared as a large biscuit that could be broken up or wrapped around a stick. Since then, regional variants have emerged in Indigenous communities across North America.
It is a simple bread, but quick to make and useful for travelling and while in the wilderness. It’s a source of carbohydrates, and a fulfilling meal, which was a staple for wilderness explorers, trappers, and prospectors. Camping enthusiasts still make it, old-fashioned style, while traipsing around the wild!
Want to try bannock? Drop by a Food Services location on February 25th from 11am to 2pm and try out Indigenous Education Week lunch, with Winter Vegetable Soup with Squash, Potato and Wild Garlic Served with Bannock. Or try to make it yourself with this Bannock recipe from our recipe box! It may, however, be best to just use your stove-top rather than an open flame.
Have a great Indigenous Education Week, UofT!
– Emily Hotton