Sunday, September 26, 2004


The Inupiat of Northern Alaska Part L

Native American Recipe

Boiled Salmon-Guts


After the woman has cut open the silver-salmon caught by her husband by trolling, she squeezes out the food that is in the stomach, and the slime that is on the gills. She turns the stomach inside out; and when she has cleaned many, she takes a kettle and pours water into it.

When the kettle is half full of water, she puts the stomach of the silver-salmon into it. After they are all in she puts the kettle on the fire; and when it is on the fire, she takes her tongs and stirs them. When (the contents) begin to boil, she stops stirring. The reason for stirring is to make the stomachs hard before the water gets too hot; for if they do not stir them, they remain soft and tough, and are not hard. Then the woman always takes up one of (the stomachs) with the tongs; and when she can hold it in the tongs, it is done; but when it is slippery, it is not done.

(When it is done,) she takes off the fire what she is cooking. It is said that if, in cooking it, it stays on the fire too long, it gets slippery. Then she will pour it away outside of the house, for it is not good if it is that way.

If it should be eaten when it is boiled too long, (those who eat it) could keep it only a short time. They would vomit. Therefore they watch it carefully. When it is done, the woman takes her dishes and her spoons, and she puts them down at the place where she is seated; but her husband invites whomever he wants to invite.

When the guests come in, his wife takes a large ladle and dips the liquid out of the kettle into the dishes. When they are half full of the liquid of what she has been cooking, she takes the tongs and takes out the boiled stomachs and puts them into the dishes. When all the dishes are full, she takes food-mats and spreads them in front of the guests. Finally she takes the dishes and places them in front of the guests. There is one dish for every four guests. Then she gives a spoon to each guest.

Water is never given with this, and they never pour oil on it, for oil does not agree with the boiled stomach; and therefore also they do not drink water before they eat it, for it makes those who eat it thirsty. Then they eat with spoons; and after they have eaten, the host takes the dishes and puts them down at the place where his wife sits.

Then he takes water and gives it to them. Then they rinse their mouths on account of the salty taste, for the boiled stomach is really salt. After rinsing the mouth, they drink some water; and after drinking, they go out of the house.

This finishes what I have to say about the cooking of various kinds of salmon. They never sing when eating steamed salmon-heads or boiled salmon-heads, or when they eat boiled stomachs, for these are eaten quickly when they first go trolling silver-salmon.

The stomach of the dog-salmon is not eaten when it is first caught at the mouth of the river, nor when it is caught on the upper part of the rivers; but they boil the heads when it is caught in the upper part of the river, also those of the humpback-salmon. At last it is finished.

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