July 01, 2005

Stinky Beaver Tail

An old friend from High School stopped by earlier this week. It was great to have a chance to relive the good old days of Dungeons and Dragons, hunting pheasants, ducks, squirrels and pigeons and climbing water towers because we liked the view. These days EH is living in Alaska and is in charge of social services for an area the size of Ohio with a population of 7000. His Inuit girlfriend also came to visit. She lives most of the year in a village of 60 that is only accessable by river-- preferrably by snow machine in the winter when it is frozen. Apparently the last few winters have been warmer than usual meaning that it has been harder to get in and out of her village. The main problems there are isolation and drinking. The other effect of global warming (which has its greatest effect in polar regions) is that it has made the whale hunt much harder. The whales like to feed at the edge of the ice, and now they have to paddle their sea kayaks twice as far on whale hunts because of the receding ice cap. This is a dangerous trip and several members of her tribe have been killed. The mayor always declares a holiday whenever they bring a whale back. EH and Alecia were full of stories from Alaska-- boat motors breaking 3 days from the nearest building, hunting bears and making sausage, and strange ways of preserving food by allowing it to rot. Apparently you dig a hole and throw in the meat, cover it and wait a few weeks and end up with e.g. 'stinky salmon', 'stinky moose' or 'stinky beaver tail.'

3 Comments:

At July 01, 2005 4:36 PM , Anonymous tim said...

I think a lot of cultures have ways to rot food to preserve it. Isn't that what cheese is? And Koreans have that pot of cabbage they bury.... and isn't there something called lutefisk?

 
At July 01, 2005 6:20 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Lutefisk is dried cod that is rehydrated using lye and then rinsed-- quite another thing. But their is another Swedish specialty involving canned herring-- its not ready until the can has bulged. The Icelanders are known for burying shark on the beach and then digging them up after a few months.
Then of course there is sauerkraut! I made some once, pretty easy to do and it tasted great.

 
At July 01, 2005 9:00 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Here is a website dedicated to the Swedish delicacy, surstroemming (sour herring):
http://www.svensson.com/norge/sur1.htm
A sample:
The day has come. Put the can on the table. Find an opener and a cloth. Put the opener in position and cover it with the cloth. Now push the opener through the tin plate and hear and smell the pressure in the can depress.

First time you do this you will probably find the smell less inviting. But remember to take a deep breath and you will almost instantly not feel any inconveniancy from the smelling can.

All of the people who is going to participate in the dinner must sit close to the can when opened and they should as soon as possible inhale the smell. if you are more than 20 feet away from the can you will not be able to inhale a concentration big enough. This is the trick - you must as quick as possible see to that you strike out your smelling sence. Now you are ready to start eating!

 

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