Fry bread contains only four ingredients—flour, baking powder, salt, and water—but behind this extraordinarily simple recipe is a complex, and tragic, history. “It’s so simple,” Bitsoie says, “but it is the most controversial Native American dish.”Rations and SurvivalNow considered a Pan-Indian food that’s nearly ubiquitous across the 574 federally recognized tribes, fry bread is not indigenous to Native American cuisine. According to Lois Ellen Frank, a Native American chef at the helm of Red Mesa Cuisine who holds a doctorate in culinary anthropology, fry bread’s history is a medley. A large slice of fry bread can contain 700 calories and 25 grams of fat. Cultural ComfortsAfter more than 150 years, for the generations who have eaten fry bread, it can be difficult to unravel the dish’s complicated history from their cultural experience.