Graphic Arts Center, Publishing Company
Date: December 2003
Reviewed: Trade Paperback
it at Amazon
Notes: Beverly J. Rowe
What Real Alaskans Eat
By J. Stephen Lay
Illustrated by Barbara Santora
to make genuine Alaskan recipes from rosehip tea and fireweed honey
to rhubarbed ptarmigan. Many of the recipes assume that you live
in the Alaskan Bush, and catch and kill your own food. A biscuit
recipe calls for rendered bear fat shortening and condensed milk,
though the author does give lower 48 substitutes. Even today, there
are places in Alaska where fresh milk is not available. Many of
the recipes rely heavily on rhubarb or low-bush cranberries as condiments...and
they are wonderful. Commercial cranberries simply do not compare
to wild Alaskan cranberries for flavor.
Lay's sense of humor is prominent in his
preface comments about recipe serving size, and his introduction
and recipe commentary throughout the book. The Brussels Sprouts
recipe is a just for fun recipe requiring you to plant a large garden
of just Brussels sprouts, tear down the fence, allowing the resident
moose to eat them, then killing and eating the moose. Lay uses beer
in many recipes, generously allowing plenty for the cook.
Eskimo ice cream (ahkootuk or
akutaq) may be a wonderful treat in some places, but several pounds
of whipped animal fat, lightly sugared, mixed with wild berries
and shredded fish doesn't work for me. Then there is the stink-head
recipe that requires fish heads, skunk cabbage and a shovel. Alaskan
natives still make and eat stink heads!
Many of the recipes really whet your
appetite though. My family really enjoyed the blueberry muffins
and the seafood stir-fry. The salmon dip is out of this world.
This compact little cookbook would
make a great gift for your favorite outdoor adventurer, wherever
he lives. Use it just for fun or for a real cooking adventure.