CHEROKEE EATS: Fry Bread Factory

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Former Reporter
08/31/2018 11:00 AM
Audio Clip
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Fry Bread Factory co-owner Annette Mankiller makes an Indians taco for a customer. Mankiller said she and co-owner William Luethje began selling their business in March 2017 and travel to festivals and events to share their non-traditional fry breads. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Fry Bread Factory co-owners William Luethje, left on check, and Annette Mankiller, right on check, are awarded a novelty check after winning the 2017 National Indian Taco Championship in Pawhuska. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Fry Bread Factory co-owners William Luethje and Annette Mankiller are putting their own spin on the traditional food by creating items fry bread pockets and desserts using fry bread. They won the 2017 National Indian Taco Championship, which is held annually in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, last year. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
There are different methods for making and cooking fry bread but most of the time the bread is golden and fluffy after it is removed from frying in grease. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Fry Bread Factory co-owners William Luethje and Annette Mankiller recently experimented with creating heart-shaped fry bread for Valentine’s Day, which includes strawberries and whipped cream. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – While fry bread is a staple on dinner tables of many Native American families, Fry Bread Factory co-owners William Luethje and Annette Mankiller are out to put their spin on the traditional food.

“I come up with all kinds of crazy ideas. I’m the one that just kind of throws things out there,” Luethje said. “We got Indian tacos of course, but a lot of times we’ll do what we call fry bread pockets. They’re not really like a traditional meat pie. We got cheeseburger fry bread pockets. Every once in a while we’ll do Spam and cheese. We got all different styles.”

Newer menu items include brisket and pulled pork pullovers.

“We just take a big piece of fry bread and then we fill it up and pull it over, stick a toothpick in it,” Luethje said. “You can put a little barbeque sauce on it, whatever you want. It’s easy to handle and eat and a lot of people like those.”

Mankiller said they began selling their items in March 2017 and travel to festivals and events to share their non-traditional fry breads. In 2017, they also won the National Indian Taco Championship, which is held annually in Pawhuska.

“It’s a lot of teamwork between me and him,” Mankiller said. “I’m usually the one that does the planning of which event we want to go to and what all needs to be done. He’s all about the fry bread. If you don’t have good fry bread, you’re just not going to have a good taco.”

Luethje’s credits his mother Margaret for taking Fry Bread Factory on the road.

“It started way back when I was a kid with my mom and we used to go out a lot,” he said. “She used to set up like this a lot when we was young, and I seen how people was happy when they would come by. I’ve always held on to that, and it really stuck to me. Then we talked about it. We thought it would be kind of neat to try it out and see how it’d go.”

Although Luethje credits his mother as the business’s “inspiration,” the fry bread he makes is from his recipe. “She does give me little tips here and there, but at the end of the day I think everybody eats fry bread original. I got my own flour I like to use, and when you’re mixing all the ingredients, you’re looking for the right texture. I just make me a little tinfoil (bowl) and kind of knead the flour with my hands. You want to be gentle. When I watched my mom, she always did it with the back of her knuckles, so that’s how I do mine. I don’t really measure a lot, but I have a pretty good idea from muscle memory.”

In addition to their menu items, the duo experiments with specialty holiday fry breads.

“We put strawberries and whip cream on heart-shaped bread for Valentine’s, and then for Saint Patrick’s Day we put a little dye in our bread to make green fry bread and put them into clover shapes, just little ones like appetizers. People used them to dip into honey,” Luethje said.

He said his favorite thing about making fry bread is seeing people’s reactions when they eat.

“What I really like about fry bread and just the Indian taco, the whole of what we do, is whenever people take that first bite, especially if they’ve never tried one before and they just light up with a smile on their face. It really brings people together, and it’s a thing that’s passed on. That’s where we talk about it being more than just fry bread. It’s part of our culture now I think.”

For more information or to place an order, call 918-507-0089 or search “Fry Bread Factory” on Facebook.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ - ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎪᎢ ᏗᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᏚ ᎤᎪᏛ ᏓᏢᎰ ᏗᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᏕᎦᏍᎩᎸ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏰᏟ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏚᎾᏙᏢᏒᎢ, ᎪᎢ ᏗᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᏚ ᏧᏃᏢᏗᎢ ᎢᏧᎳ ᎤᎾᏤᎵ ᎢᏧᎳ William Luethje ᎠᎴ Annette Mankiller ᎾᏍᎩ ᏃᏊ ᎠᎾᏁᎳᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎩᎶᏒ ᎢᎩᎩᏙᎸ ᎠᎵᏍᏓᏴᏗ ᎠᏃᏢᏍᎦ.

“ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎠᎩᎷᏤᎭ ᎦᏓᏅᏖᎸᏍᎬᎢ. ᎠᏯᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᏓᏅᏖᏍᎪ ᏫᏥᏁᎪ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᎩᎷᏤᎲ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏛᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Luethje. “ᏙᎩᎭ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏔᎪᎢ ᏙᎯᏳᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎯᎠ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎰ ᎦᏚ ᎠᏒᎾᏔᏅ ᏧᏜᏩᏓ ᏙᏦᏎᎰᎢ. ᏝᏃᏙ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᏄᎾᏍᏛ ᎪᎯᎨ ᏱᎨᏐᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎭᏫᏯ ᏗᎨᎵᏍᎩ.
ᎢᏴᏓᎭᏃ ᎾᎿ ᏙᏦᏢᏍᎪ Spam ᎠᎴ ᎤᏅᏓ ᎦᏚᏅᎢ. ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎢᏗᎬᏁᎸᎢ.”

ᎠᏤᎯᏴ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎣᏥᏁᏕᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ brisket ᎠᎴ ᎦᏅᏌᏁᏗ ᏏᏆ ᎭᏫᏯ ᎦᎾᏌᏁᏗ ᏫᎦᏬᎯᎸᏅᎢ.

“ᎣᏥᎩᏍᎬ ᎤᏔᎾ ᎦᏚ ᎪᎢ ᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏃᏊ ᎣᏥᎧᎵᎢᎰ ᎠᎴ ᏱᎦᏅᏌᏁᏏ ᏫᎫᏢᏙᏗ, ᏗᏓᏅᎦᏥᎦᎴᏍᏙᏗ ᎢᎬᏅᏙᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Luethje. “ᎡᎵᏊ ᏍᏗᎢ barbeque sauce ᎦᏅᎵᏰᏗ, ᎢᏳᏍᏓᏊ ᏣᏚᎵᏍᎬᎢ. ᎠᎯᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏅᏗ ᎠᎩᏍᏗ ᎤᏂᏣᏘ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᏂᎸᏉᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ.”

Mankiller ᎧᎬᎮᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᎠᏂᎾᏕᏒᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏅᏱ ᎧᎸᎢ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎣᎨᏅᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎾᏕᎨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᏚ ᎪᎢ ᏗᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅᎢ. ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᎦᎵᏆᏚ ᎤᎾᏓᏠᏎ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ Taco ᏓᏃᏢᏍᎬᎢ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏑᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎢᏳᏓᎵ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ Pawhuska.

“ᎤᎪᏓ ᏗᎵᏍᏕᎸᏓ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᎠᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎣᎦᎵᎪᎯ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Mankiller. “ᎠᏯᏃ ᎤᎪᏛ ᎨᏒ ᎦᏓᏅᏖᎵᏙ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᏍᎬ ᎣᎨᏅᏍᏗᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏯᏛᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎦᏚ ᏗᎬᏣᏝᏅᎢ ᎦᏚ ᏕᎧᏃᎮᏍᎪ. ᎢᏳᏃ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎪᎢ ᏗᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᏚ ᏂᏗᏣᎲᎾ ᏱᎩ, Ꮭ ᎣᏍᏓ taco ᏱᏗᏣᎮᏍᏗ.”

Luethje’s ᎦᎸᏉᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᏥ Margaret ᏧᏙᎢᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏫᏛᎲ ᎦᏚ ᎪᎢ ᏗᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᏅᏃᎯ ᎤᎾᏕᏙᏅᎯ.

ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎲ ᎪᎯᎦ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᏲᏟᏊ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎡᏥ ᎣᎩᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎢᎸᏢ ᎣᏍᏕᎬ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. ᎤᎪᏓ ᏂᎪᎯᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᏃᏍᏓᏛᏁᎲ ᏦᏍᏗᏓᎨ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎦᏥᎪᎢ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏚᎾᏓᏅᏙ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏳᏂᎶᏏ ᎾᎥᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᏓᎩᏂᏴᏐᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᏆᏅᏛᎢ. ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏗᏃᎮᏍᎪ. ᏙᎯᏳ ᎣᏏᏱᎦ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏂᎩᎾᏛᏁᎵ ᎦᏙᎲ ᏴᎦᎵᏍᏓ ᎣᎩᏁᎵᏒᎢ.”

ᏙᎯᏳᏃ Luethje ᎦᎸᏉᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᏥ ᎾᎿ ᏯᏛᏗ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗᎢ “ᎠᏓᏌᎳᏗᏍᎪ” ᎾᎿ ᎪᎢ ᏗᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᏚ ᏱᏚᏬᏢᎾ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎬᏗᏍᎪᎢ. “ᏍᏗᎦᎭᎢ ᎠᎩᏁᎭ ᎠᏇᏲᎲᏍᎪᎢ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎨᎢ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᏒᎯᏰᏯ ᏱᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂ ᎦᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏓᏂᎩᏍᎪ ᎪᎢ ᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᏚ. ᎠᎩᎭ ᎢᏌ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏓ ᎠᏆᏙᏗᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᏯᏑᏰ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏣᏑᏴ, ᏃᏊ ᏣᏲᎰ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎤᏓᏑᎨᏗ. ᎪᏢᏍᎪ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎤᏅᏪᏓ ᏖᎵᏙ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᏥᎸᏍᎪ ᎢᏌ ᎦᏑᏰᏍᎪ. ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏓ. ᎡᏥ ᏱᏥᎦᏙᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏕᎦᏰᏌᏛ ᏕᎬᏗᏍᎬ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎰᎢ. ᏝᏃ ᏙᎯᏳ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏱᎦᏟᎶᏍᎪ, ᎠᏆᏅᏙᏍᎩᏂ ᎢᎦ ᎦᎶᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎦᏅᏓᏗᏍᎪᎢ.”

ᏫᎧᏁᏉᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎦᏳᎳ ᏕᎪᏪᎸᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎣᏣᏁᎶᏗᏍᎪ ᎤᏤᏟᏓ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎢᎦ ᎪᎢ ᏓᏅᏂᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎦᏚ.

“ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎠᏂ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎨᏢᏗ ᏙᏥᏍᏚᏟᏍᎪ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᏫ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎬᎭᎸᏓ ᎦᏙ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏫ ᎢᎪᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏅᏱ ᎦᎵᏆᏚᏏᏁ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏤᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏂᏙᏨᏁᎰ ᏚᎦ ᎪᎢ ᏙᏨᏂᏍᏗᏍᎪ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ Clover ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᏂᏙᏨᏁᎰ, ᏧᏍᏗᏊ. ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏓᏅᏗᏍᎪ ᏩᏚᎵᏏ ᏓᏂᏢᏍᎪᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Luethje.

ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏭᎸᏉᏛ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎪᏢᏍᎬ ᎯᎠ ᎪᎢ ᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᏚ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᏴᏫ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎦᏚ ᏳᏂᎦ.

“ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎠᎩᎸᏉᏛ ᎾᎿ ᎪᎢ ᎬᏂᏍᏔᏅ ᎦᏚ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ Taco, ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏃᏣᏛᏁᎰ ᎠᏂᎸᏉᏗᏍᎪ, ᎢᎦ ᎤᎾᏁᎶᏔᏅ ᏱᎩ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏠ ᏳᏂᎸᏉᏔᏂ ᎠᏂᎩᏍᎬᎢ. ᎠᎾᏓᏟᏏᏍᎪ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᎾᎾᏃ ᎣᏥᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᏚ ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏗᎩᎶᏒᎢ.”

ᎤᎪᏛ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᎠᏕᎶᎰᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏓᏅᏍᏗᎢ ᏲᏚᎵ, call 918-507-0089 0r search “Fry Bread Factory” on Facebook.

– TRANSLATED BY ANNA SIXKILLER

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