A Yup’ik Potluck

Last night, we had a potluck with some members of the church. Unlike the potlucks that I’ve experienced in Nebraska, there were no pies or pots of chili. Instead, there was a delicious variety of traditional Yup’ik foods. Here are a few of the dishes that we tried:

  • Smoked salmon
  • Mayonnaise and dill salmon
  • Salmon chowder (my favorite)
  • Moose and vegetable stew
  • Seal stew
  • Caribou stew
  • Herring eggs with oil
  • Spicy beans with ground moose
  • Fried bread
  • Rhubarb and ginger cake

What made this meal so special was hearing hunting stories about the meat I was eating and listening to the way some dishes were prepared. In the case of the Yup’ik people, nothing is wasted. Every piece of meat is taken off the bones of salmon, the scaly skin is sewn together to create a waterproof coat, and the fermented heads are considered a delicacy. While I’m not sure if I’m ready to try a fermented fish head, I’m so grateful that I had the chance to try some traditional foods.


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