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Publisher: Graphic Arts Center, Publishing Company
Release Date: December 2003
ISBN: 0-9724944-3-X
Format Reviewed: Trade Paperback
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Genre: Nonfiction/Cooking 
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer Notes:  Beverly J. Rowe

What Real Alaskans Eat
Not Your Ordinary Cookbook
By J. Stephen Lay
Illustrated by Barbara Santora

     Learn 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.