And why are they not frozen? Because their hearts are warmed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Welcome to our blog! We hope you enjoy our travels and dialogues as we journey to Anchorage Alaska for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hello, this is Sister Taylor (for a change).    Being the chief cook in this companionship, I have found that cooking in Alaska can be an interesting experience, not only because we are busy and I am not used to only cooking for two people, but because food can be very expensive here and if you don't shop early enough on Saturday, there isn't any fresh lettuce left in the stores.

This sign is a little deceptive.   It means $4.99 for the small bag, which is 5 lbs of potatoes.

The people in Alaska are EXTREMELY diverse.   Every nation in the world is represented here and the food reflects it.  You can find virtually any food or spice here in Alaska if you are willing to pay for it.
I'm not sure what kind of eggs these are, but thought they were pretty and I understand they are not just dyed eggs.

Of course some foods are free if you are willing to work hard enough for them.   These are blueberries and in the fall they grow wild on the hillsides.   The problem is the bushes are only about 12" tall and you have to crawl around on your knees to pick them.   That is a distinct disadvantage when you get surprised by a bear who is also berry picking.

We have had the adventure of eating some interesting foods since we got here, including reindeer sausage and hot dogs, halibut tacos, halibut pizza, Poor Man's Lobster (which is boiled halibut), taro, coconut shrimp and salmon cooked every way you can think of.   We haven't tried moose or bear yet, but we still have a few months to go, so we shall see.  We missed the "Wild Game Night" that one of the local wards has every year.  No, it's not Twister and Yahtzee, it's where they prepare and eat all manner of fish, bear, caribou, moose, mountain goat and sheep and a few other critters.

These are some recipes that I came across that I thought you might enjoy.    The next time you have an extra seal or caribou laying around that you don't know what to do with, try one of these!  They were all found in the Bering Sea Women’s Group Cookbook.  (P.O Box 1596, Nome, AK  99761-1596)

How to Make Seal Oil (Ukgruk)

In the spring or the fall, remove the fat from underneath the skin of a seal.  Cut the fat into long thin strips and place in a clean bucket.  The blubber has to be clean with no meat attached or blood on it.  Cover the bucket with a clean, thin cloth, and put in a cool, dark place, preferably in a porch or underneath the house.   Stir every day.  When the blubber turns into oil, ladle into clean jars and store in the freezer to enjoy all winter.

The blubber will turn into dungik.  Put in the jars of oil and enjoy eating this with meals.

Fish Head Soup

When cutting fish to dry (king salmon or silver salmon), split the head in half, remove the gills, and wash thoroughly.   Put 2 or 3 heads in a large pot and cover with water.   Boil 15 to 20 minutes.   Cook with potato and fish eggs.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy with seal oil, salt, and white onion.

How to Make Blackmeat (Paniktaq)

Blackmeat is meat that has been dried from ugruk, or bearded seal.  Blackmeat can also be made from other marine mammals.   Cut the meat into thin strips and hang out to dry.  When dry, put in jars or cans with oil you made from the seal.   You can also put the dried meat in Ziploc bags.   Store in the freezer.

Caribou Soup (Tuttuu)

2 lbs caribou, cut up                                                                    Dash of granulated garlic
1 envelope dry onion soup mix                                                  1 T. worchestershire sauce
4 carrots, sliced                                                                           Salt to taste
1 onion, diced                                                                             ¼ c rice
2 sticks celery, sliced                                                                  ¼ c. elbow macaroni
1 tsp. dried parsley                                                                      4 potatoes, cut up
½ tsp. Italian seasoning                                                               1 can stewed tomatoes

Put caribou meat in soup pot.  Add onion soup mix.  Cover with water and cook on high until it comes to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Add carrots, onion and celery.  Add seasonings.   Simmer for one hour.  Add rice, macaroni, and potatoes.   Simmer until potatoes are done.  Add stewed tomatoes until heated through.

How to Put Away Sura or Willow Leaves

When the ptarmigan willow begins growing leaves, pick the tender young leaves and gather into bags.  Take home and pour into a big container and clean the leaves.   Let sit overnight.  The next day, mix with seal oil and pack into jars.  Store in the freezer.  Eat with dried fish.

Halibut Pie

1 lb. cubed halibut                                                                           ½ c. Bisquick baking mix
1/3 c. chopped green onion                                                             1 c. milk
1 c. grated medium cheddar cheese                                                2 eggs
1 (8 oz) cubed cream cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Put a layer of tin foil in a 9” x 13” baking pan.  Place cubed halibut on foil and bake until flaky, approximately 20 – 25 minutes.   Drain liquid.   Move halibut to a greased 9” pie plate.   Layer cheese, cream cheese and onions over fish.  Mix last three ingredients and pour over fish and cheese layers.   Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife poked in center comes out clean.
(To double the recipe, use a large 11” x 13” pan.)

Tom Cod Livers with Blackberries (Ding-u-Lick)

Gather the livers from tom cods, wash them, and put in a sauce pan.   Cover with water and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain the water.   Mix until smooth consistency.   Add sugar to taste.   Add blackberries.
(Note:  Ling cod liver could be used, too.)

Salmonberry Pie

3 c. salmonberries                                                                           1 c. vanilla ice cream
½ c. sugar                                                                                        1 c. Cool Whip
1 (6 oz) pkg orange Jello                                                                 3 graham cracker crusts
1 ¾ c. hot water

Dissolve Jello in hot water.   In a separate bowl, blend salmonberries and sugar.   Add the Jello mixture to the berry mixture and stir together.   Add in ice cream and Cool Whip.   Pour into pie crusts.  Chill in refrigerator for half hour.   Store leftovers in the refrigerator.    Makes 3 pies.
(I wish I had this when we lived on Ragland Road and had Salmonberries all over the place!)

Wild Rhubarb (Kusiimaq)

Wild rhubarb grows inside the willows along the riverbank and along roads or wherever willows grow.  They are picked while young, before they get woody.  Peel the skin off the hard ones.   Chop, put in pot, cover with water and boil until soft.   Add sugar to taste and enjoy.

And the Piece de Resistance --

Old Fashioned Agutaq (Eskimo Ice Cream)

1 lb. caribou or moose fat                                                             1 gallon salmonberries
2 T. clear seal oil                                                                           3 c. blackberries
½ c. cold water                                                                              2 c. sugar or to taste

Chop or grate fat.   Put into a frying pan and melt over low heat until liquid.   While hot, strain through a strainer.   Put melted fat into a big bowl or electric mixer bowl.   Cool.   When cooled, whip the fat with seal oil and add water until light and fluffy.  The mixture should be like shortening or whipped cream.  Add sugar and blend.   Move to your biggest bowl.   Add salmonberries with all the juice.   Mix together until well blended.   Add blackberries.   Serve.   Store the rest in the refrigerator.


Of course, one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of food in Alaska is whale blubber.   The Natives call it "muktak" and thankfully we have not had the opportunity to try that either.  

This is a dumpster in Barrow and it kind of speaks for itself.

This is President Robinson and the two Elders from Barrow, Elder Perkins and Elder Fatani.   President is about to eat the Muktak these Elders were generous enough to bring him.   (One more reason, Doug doesn't want to ever be a Mission President.)    The white part is the blubber and the black part is whale skin. 
As Sister Robinson said, "You don't mean to make a face when you eat it, it just automatically happens."  

Bon appetit!


  1. Balut is what Ed ate on his mission--nearly hatched chicks still slimy but feathery and a little crunchy. And the colored eggs in Germany are already boiled;maybe that's what they are in Alaska, too.

  2. The halibut pie and the salmonberry pie actually sound delicious! Glad to hear you're ok after the earthquake!

  3. Wow, this is exciting eating but as much of foodies as Dennis and I have become, I am not interested in any of this except the Halibut pie and the Salmon berry pie. I agree with your Mom, that sounds yummy! I didn't hear about this huge earthquake. Sounds very dramatic. Glad you are OK. I bet my brother had a wild ride on his tug up there. Love to you both.