Thursday, July 21, 2016


There comes a point in aging where you realize you have more past memories than future.  You accept your aging and your limitations, and if you are fortunate enough you may have real adventures to relive.   

Yesterday I wrote a post on blueberry.    I included some pics of my wife and our time at one of the Native villages in Alaska.   I mentioned that after the elementary kids picked blueberries and cranberries they returned to the classroom and made Eskimo Ice Cream.

The people of the far north brave winter conditions with subzero temperatures in the range of 40 to 50 degrees below zero.  At these extreme temperatures fat in a diet is critical.  Because caribou, that migrate through these northern regions, is lean meat, these northern Natives have for generations depended on seal, and whale to supply their fat needs.
Whale fat, or blubber, is considered a staple by these coastal Natives and it is often eaten fresh, frozen, boiled or fermented (an Eskimo delicacy called Muktuk.)    It was these northern people that originated Eskimo Ice Cream.

Oil and lard from the whale fat was hand whipped into a frothy consistency and berries added – later, with the incursion of ‘whiteman,’ sugar was added to the mix.

 (Note: whiteman – pronounced as one word, and the equivalent gussak are used by the Eskimo as a derogatory term for Caucasians.)

The last village my wife and I worked in was in southwestern Alaska on the Kuskokwim River.   These were Yup'ik people.   Once coastal, these people, had moved inland along the river to be near Russian trading post.   Here moose, caribou, musk ox and bear were plentiful and there were massive summer salmon runs to supplied ample protein for humans and dogs.  

Over the generation these river Yup'ik lost their dependency on whale and seal fat, but still retained their cultural connection to that food.    Now, here in the inland, whale fat has been replaced by Crisco and Wesson Oil in the making of Eskimo Ice cream.

Crisco, Wesson oil and shredded fish are mixed together - the fish to supply the missing taste of the ocean. 

Sugar is added and the mixture is vigorously whipped by hand.

Next come the berries: blueberries and cranberries.

The final product is Eskimo Ice Cream.

Probably not heart healthy; but it actually taste good. 

Just the trail of another memory
the Ol'Buzzard


  1. I can feel my arteries hardening.

  2. I've never heard of Eskimo Ice Cream before. Thanks for the education!

  3. New to me and I spent two years in the Canadian arctic, though Inuvik and Cambridge Bay were hardly real arctic bu the early 1970s


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