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Old 06-17-2007, 02:29 PM
Location: Baker City, Oregon
3,380 posts, read 5,389,691 times
Reputation: 5149


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 youíll reveal yourself a true gasuk (Anglo) if you donít spoon it down as quick as the rest.

Second, you need berries. Exactly what kind is a major controversy in the villages. Iím a cranberry man, myself. Tartness goes well with fish. But a lot of people will defend blueberry fish ice cream to the last spoonful. Itís sweeter. I guess I should also mention the few perverse souls who prefer salmon berries. But theyíre like people who put anchovies on pizzaóyou just canít take them seriously. Anyway, you need berries. And remember, your choice is a lifetime decision. Itís okay to eat any flavor of fish ice cream, but if youíre caught making more than one kind youíll 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 donít 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 itís okay to use pike, but people will think youíre cheap. Never, under any circumstances, use salmon. Thatís gross! Oh, and when you go fishing bring a gun; bears like fish, too.

The last two ingredients are sugar and Crisco. If youíre Midas, you can walk down to the store and buy what you need. But if youíre trying to live on a teacherís salary, order it from a catalogue and have it mailed in. Order early though, especially in the winteróplanes donít fly when itís 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, youíre ready to begin. The exact amount of fish is up to personal taste. But remember, youíll be called stingy if you bring less than 10 gallons of ice cream to a potlatch. Youíll 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 itís 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 ďrotten fishĒóa 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 11,974 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
2,518 posts, read 5,781,911 times
Reputation: 1360
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 79,435 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
21,355 posts, read 31,878,406 times
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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
6,726 posts, read 11,430,636 times
Reputation: 5279
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 5,958,446 times
Reputation: 631
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
7,088 posts, read 12,501,388 times
Reputation: 3966
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 9,790,993 times
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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
2,518 posts, read 5,781,911 times
Reputation: 1360
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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