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Old 06-17-2007, 02:29 PM
Location: Baker City, Oregon
4,668 posts, read 7,124,917 times
Reputation: 8907


This is still made in Western Alaska in places like Bethel.

I did not write this, Robert Davis is/was a Bush Alaska school teacher:


by Robert Davis

bring a gun

First, drop your preconceptions. Fish ice cream is good stuff. Huge tubs of it disappear at every potlatch, and you’ll reveal yourself a true gasuk (Anglo) if you don’t spoon it down as quick as the rest.

Second, you need berries. Exactly what kind is a major controversy in the villages. I’m a cranberry man, myself. Tartness goes well with fish. But a lot of people will defend blueberry fish ice cream to the last spoonful. It’s sweeter. I guess I should also mention the few perverse souls who prefer salmon berries. But they’re like people who put anchovies on pizza—you just can’t take them seriously. Anyway, you need berries. And remember, your choice is a lifetime decision. It’s okay to eat any flavor of fish ice cream, but if you’re caught making more than one kind you’ll lose all social standing. Traitors are regarded suspiciously by all sides.

Pick your berries in late August, before the frost turns them to mush. You can find cranberries almost anywhere. They litter the moss under the spruce. Blueberries are scarce. They grow in patches, which are staked out early by the blueberry fanatics. Cranberry people like to raid these patches at night, and then bring blueberry pies to the potlatches and watch the blueberry people get stiffed-lipped. (I don’t believe in enabling, so you anchovy/salmon berry freaks have to find your own berries). Oh, when you go to pick your berries, bring a gun; bears like berries, too.

The next ingredient is fish. By general agreement, whitefish is the best. They run in September, just before the river freezes. In an afternoon or two, you can catch enough fish for ice cream and to feed your dogs through the winter. In a pinch it’s okay to use pike, but people will think you’re cheap. Never, under any circumstances, use salmon. That’s gross! Oh, and when you go fishing bring a gun; bears like fish, too.

The last two ingredients are sugar and Crisco. If you’re Midas, you can walk down to the store and buy what you need. But if you’re trying to live on a teacher’s salary, order it from a catalogue and have it mailed in. Order early though, especially in the winter—planes don’t fly when it’s fifty below. Oh, when you pick your order up at the post office bring a gun; village store owners hate people who buy their food out of catalogues.

Now, you’re ready to begin. The exact amount of fish is up to personal taste. But remember, you’ll be called stingy if you bring less than 10 gallons of ice cream to a potlatch. You’ll need at least four or five big whitefish. Cut the fish into fist size chunks, cover them with water and boil until the meat begins to separate. Take the pan off the stove and let it cool. Wrap the fish in a cloth, preferably clean, and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Drink the juice while it’s still lukewarm. Dump the squeezed fish into a big container. Then add equal measures of sugar and Crisco. Mix well. It should be the consistency of stringy putty. Mix in a gallon or two of berries and chill. Serve. Be sure to leave room for “rotten fish”—a locally produced popsicle of raw, fermented grayling or trout, frozen and dipped in seal oil.
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Old 10-28-2007, 10:25 PM
Location: Wa
2 posts, read 12,847 times
Reputation: 12
when I was younger I was dating a girl out of Emmonak , I went to fish camp one summer with her family ,, I watched her mom make this and thought to myself there is no way I was goin to eat it ,,, she tried a couple times to get me too and I wouldnt , finally I tried it and loved it ,, sure would be good to have some now
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:35 AM
Location: Palmer
2,519 posts, read 6,587,132 times
Reputation: 1391
I grew up eating that stuff, I can taste it now. It's GOOD. I've eaten it by the plate full at potlaches.

Not the same as the aqutuq made without the fish...I can't handle that.
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:35 AM
Location: Portland OR
24 posts, read 87,854 times
Reputation: 20
I saw this on a Jeff Corwin Alaska special, it sounded crazy but I will try anything once. Do local restaurants carry it?
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:47 AM
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,368 posts, read 35,784,368 times
Reputation: 13879
I love the whitefish Akutaq. Especially with Salmon Berries, Black Berries and or Red Berries and it has to have boiled raisins in it...yummy.
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:29 AM
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,305 posts, read 13,679,350 times
Reputation: 6219
Yes, most local resturants carry eskimo ice cream. It's just like an Eskimo pie without the chocolate cookie part. Probably all made by the same people in igloos northeast of Kotzebue. I've haven't been to the factory but I've seen pictures of it. I think in the off seasons it's the same place where the elves and reindeer hang out.
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:25 PM
Location: Juneau, AK
2,628 posts, read 6,508,873 times
Reputation: 652
Hmm... that actually sounds okay. Reading the first part I was imagining it with salmon, which would be gross, but whitefish is pretty mild. I would try it!
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:33 PM
Location: NC, USA
7,084 posts, read 14,164,400 times
Reputation: 4006
There are times when a person of suspicious nature would be tempted to suspect that perhaps a few of yall have frozen off your taste buds, or, this is a regional hoax, kinda like a "snipe hunt"
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Old 10-30-2007, 02:38 PM
3,774 posts, read 10,680,693 times
Reputation: 1860
Not a hoax. It is a potlatch delicacy in Northern and Western Alaska. Look it up. Frozen taste buds might be the answer though.
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Old 10-30-2007, 02:46 PM
Location: Palmer
2,519 posts, read 6,587,132 times
Reputation: 1391
It's the real thing. Perhaps an aquired taste. I've eaten it by the plateful, and brought home more from the potlatch.

It's actually quite good. But where I grew up we called it "Indian ice cream". I didn't know the eskimos made it. Instead of crisco, rendered black bear fat is better.
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