Ross School - Senior Project 2007-08

Student: Erica Phillips

Mentor: Matthew Aldredge


Title: From East to West Cookbook: Traditional Shinnecock & Navajo Recipes


For my senior project, I decided to write a cookbook. I choose to do this because cooking is passion of mine ever since I was little. I have been able to intern in restaurants which helped expand my knowledge in culinary arts. This cookbook contains traditional recipes from the Navajo and Shinnecock tribes. Also there is a section of gaming recipes. These recipes are collected and passed down through my family to me. Throughout the book are stories/memories of my life including photos.









Cover of Cookbook            Inside of Cookbook









Gallery Opening



For my senior project a wrote a cookbook containing Traditional Shinnecock and Navajo Recipes also including a gaming section. I chose to do this because cooking has been a passion of mine every since I was little. Throughout my life, I have always loved to cook and also have been lucky enough to intern at local restaurants here on the east end. Also, my dad inspired me to cook. Seeing him in the kitchen cooking  and throwing things together was interesting for me.  Another main reason I chose to write a cookbook is that my culture is important to me. Being two different tribes from two different places, Shinnecock here on Long Island and Navajo out from New Mexico, its important to me to keep my tradition going. Throughout my life I have gone and have had ceremonies here and out west in New Mexico. And at these ceremonies there would be the traditional food. Food being a kind of big part of my cultures is the reason why its in important to know and to have.

First I had to decide what recipes to use. I began by writing down the ones I knew and also the ones my family and grandmothers knew. There are tons of traditional Shinnecock and Navajo recipes, that not only one person knows by themselves. So, I chose the recipes I had grown up with and knew. I also chose ones my grandmothers knew. I ended up with 25 recipes total. I collected the recipes from my family members but mostly from my grandmothers. When I was collecting recipes from my grandmothers, they didn't use any measurements so my grandmothers would say this much flour or sugar. Then I would guess like ¼ cup or 2 teaspoons of flour. We would then test out the recipes and the amount I guessed. Sometimes it worked and other times we would have to adjust the recipes.

After getting the traditional recipes from my grandmothers, I got gaming recipes from my dad and one from my brother. I decided to do a gaming section because hunting is sort of a big family tradition we do. My dad grew up hunting which he passed on to us. After collecting and writing down the recipes, I would begin to type them in the computer. I would look at different cookbooks to see the format of the recipes because I didn't know how to creative  the recipes in the way people would understand. I would edit a recipe over and over. I was able to get help from the chefs here at school. Also I had Catherine Creedon, my outside consultant, who helped edit and review my cookbook. Then I put the recipes in a layout that would be the cookbook. I added photos and short memories and information of certain recipes or just about the culture of that tribe. 

I had some challenges with this project. Like I said early, creating/writing the recipes in a format that people would understand was difficult. I didn't know how but overcame by looking at cookbooks. My grandmothers never use measurement when they were cooking. They could tell when the recipes was done and right by knowing and growing up with it. They could tell by taste and how it looks. Also, that these recipes have been past down from their mothers and grandmothers and so on. 

Printing the cookbook was also a challenge. The original publishers I was using had technology problems. So then I used a local printers but they also had technology problems. In the end I printed two copies at school. 

After finishing my senior project, I realized what I had got out of this project and discoveredthe recipes would be that the recipes that I will be able to pass on down to others. It would be a piece of not only my grandmothers and family but my culture too. Personally, I don't think a lot of young people know these recipes, so this could help them, I know it helped me to know my culture and to keep the tradition going.

Works Consulted

Creedon, Catherine. Personal interview. Nov.-Dec. 2007. 

Dharmanande, Subhuti. “GREENTHREAD: NAVAJO-HOPI Tea A Relative of the Herb Bidens, Used   as a Health Tea.” 2004. Viewed 25 Oct. 2007. <>.  

Franklin, Linda M. Personal interview. Oct.-Nov. 2007.

Ortiz, Isabella. Personal interview. Sept.-Nov. 2007.

Phillips, Adam. Personal interview. Dec. 2007.

Phillips, Eric W. Personal interview. Dec.-Jan. 2007.

Phillips, Marion. Personal interview. Nov. 2007.

“Traditional Navajo Foods & Cooking.” Tsa' Aszi' Magazine. Vol. 3 issue 4: pg 6-125.

Community Member (Details)

Catherine Creedon, Author, Director of John Jermain Memorial Library