Alaska is home to the Salmon, Halibut, Moose, Elk, Bison, Caribou, Wildberries, Mushrooms, Northern Lights, Seals, Inuit, Mount McKinley, Alaskan Malamute Sled dogs, and yes, Sarah Palin!
I will miss you Alaska! We prayed for you; thanked God for the clean food; revered all the ways to make Salmon and Halibut; and celebrated the diversity.
As you can tell there is more to Alaska than cold, fish and seals. One of those ways that Alaska brings diversity to the table, is a small and growing number of Latinos growing up in Alaska. The numbers for the Hispanic population number about 40,000 according to the census bureau. Interestingly, my curiosity of food and culture led me to think about Mexicans and their contribution EVERYWHERE, but I wondered if that is true in ALASKA? There is very little information about the Mexican food contribution in Alaska, but I did find a gold nugget of a paper called “Suitcases Full of Mole: Traveling food and the Connections between Mexico and Alaska” by Sara Komarnisky.
The basic premise behind the paper is this: the connectedness of food and interconnections between Alaskans and Mexicans. The author reaches deep into the Latino community embracing their food stories and culture; writing about Mexicans and describing the food connections that play in society. In my opinion and in my research for writing this blog for over a year, I find that food is the great equalizer when living in different cultures: “while food often travels long distances from field to table along grocery store and restaurant distribution chains, people also carry foods, recipes, cooking utensils, and ideas and memories about food with them when they travel” writes Komarnisky. I love that image of carrying tradition and recipes in your suitcase to share with family and new friends. It’s what makes America a great place to live! http://academia.edu.documents.s3.amazonaws.com/1070849/Komarnisky_2009_AJA.pdf
It’s what I like about you Alaska. I like creating food memories and traveling (virtually) to reach beyond our borders to experience a palate of color, creativity and culture. It’s what I like best about cooking. It’s like finding some shiny gold nuggets, and looking for cool ways to make salmon, halibut and bison – Chile con Bison, Bison Tacos and Wild Salmon Pizza just to name a few. Check out my menu from last week and the finale of Alaskan food with friends. For now, I leave you with a quote from the author of “Suitcases Full of Mole” that encompasses the Alaska that me and my family praised and thanked God for in January:
…. to think about Alaska in
new ways—still as the land of stunning natural beauty
and seemingly untouched wilderness, of rich Native culture
but also as a more vibrant cosmopolitan and multicultural
place, home to many different people from many different
parts of the world who bring their foods and ideas.”
Last week’s Menu and Madness:
- Bison Burgers and Onion Rings
- Alaskan Salmon and Kale with Apple-Bacon Vinaigrette
- Chili con Bison
- Bison Tacos
- Smoked Salmon Pizza
- “Moose” Stew
- Shrimp Risotto
- Smoked Salmon and Artichoke Dip
- Apple and Walnut Smoked Salmon Spread
- Applesauce Cake
- Alaska Tea
Some pictures of the meals (not necessarily listed in menu) to cap it all out with a few friends in tow. Join us in February, when we go Deep in the Heart of Texas!