Fry bread represents home and domestic comfort. A food created by Native Americans out of necessity when they were forced from their arable land, and made from ingredients given to Native people by the United States Government, fry bread as a traditional food is both a generational tie and a symbol of a painful inheritance. Nonetheless, throughout the text, it represents a connection to the home, to family, and to tradition.
Victor’s mother cooks fry bread during times of distress throughoutVictor’s childhood as a distraction from his father’s depression and alcoholism. Victor’s aunt remarks that she doesn’t know “where [his uncle] would be if [her] fry bread didn’t fill [his] stomach every damn night.” When Samuel Builds-the-Fire speaks of his childrens’ domestic success, he remarks that they “got their own fry bread cooking in the oven” before and above anything else. Victor describes putting on “a good jacket that smells of fry bread and sweet smoke,” referring to the comforting smells of his home. “Making fry bread,” one character says to her dying husband, “and helping people die are the last two things Indians are good at.” In a culture that clings desperately to its remaining institutions and traditions, fry bread represents an ideal of a Native American home that, sadly, many of Alexie’s characters don’t fully get to experience; a home full of good, plentiful food, good friends, and a calm and safety foreign to many on the reservation.