Food Term Paper

This essay has a total of 1764 words and 8 pages.



Food is the connector to everything that surrounds our culture. Each celebration includes
a huge feast. We believe food tastes better when it is shared with family, relatives, and
many other people. In my grandfather Makivik's time, all types of food were cached on the
land, ready for a celebration. Back then there were many ways to prepare the foods,
including different types of sauces and dips. I know of three sauces that are very good:
aalu, misiraq, and nirukkaq.

Aalu is made from choice parts of caribou or seal. Here is the recipe. Make sure the meat
is very lean and clean. Cut it up in tiny pieces and put it in a bowl. Add a few drops of
melted fat. Then add a few drops of blood. Add uruniq (ptarmigan intestine) to taste. Stir
everything very friskily with your fingers until the volume doubles and the mixture turns
fluffy. This is one of the most popular dips for all kinds of meat.

Misiraq is another dip that is made all over the North today. It is made from blubber. Cut
up pieces of seal blubber, whale, or ujjuk (square flipper seal), making sure not to
include any meat. Put the blubber in a safe container with a perforated top — for
example, an old coffee tin container. Don't use plastic bags or containers with airtight
lids. Store it in a cool place where it can be slowly aged away from heat. When it ages
properly the liquid ends up clear, like a fine white wine. The aroma is delicious and
never bitter. (If it smells bad, throw it out! The offensive smell means it hasn't aged
properly.) All kinds of meats can be dipped in misiraq.

The third dip is called nirukkaq. It requires special care. Nirukkaq is the contents of
caribou stomach. Here is my Uncle Annowalk's recipe. The hunter, when butchering the
caribou, carefully removes the stomach contents and puts them into a container. The
contents are frozen until ready to be used. When the time comes, the contents are thawed
and a process called siingijaijuq is begun. This involves cleaning the contents very
carefully with kneading motions. Undesirables like pieces of grass, leaves, lichen or
lumps are removed. When smooth, it is ready. Caribou meat is used for dipping.

Our food is much more than just frozen or raw meats and sauces. We also enjoy different
types of dried fish and meats, such as caribou. A traditional caribou stew made on the
land using blackberry bush also makes a delicious meal that has a woody taste and a very
refreshing smell. We have also developed recipes for caribou and fish dishes prepared the
"new" way with spices.

When we feast on a seal we follow the traditions of our ancestors. One particular feast is
called alupajaq. The men are around the seal, and two or three of them cut up the animal
in a particular way. The women are grouped together in another area several feet away. The
men's conversation is audible to the women. They tell hunting stories, pleasant stories.
The women are talking about the seal, how nice it is to be so blessed with plenty.

The meat is then passed from the men to the women. The choice parts of the seal are for
the women only. The first parts to come are the upper flippers. Two women are responsible
for cutting up pieces for everyone. It is considered rude to leave anyone out. Next, the
heart is cut up in small slivers and passed around, followed by the liver. The upper spine
is then passed to the women while the men take the lower half. The ribs are cut into equal
parts, with the women taking the front ribs and the men eating from the back ribs.

Guests are careful not to eat up every part of the seal. They must leave some for their
kind hosts, unless they are urged to take some home. Some guests leave as soon as they
have eaten, even before washing up. They feel they must not take up too much space and
overstay their welcome. Appreciation is expressed more than once before leaving. The
remaining guests help clean up everything.

Stories and pleasantries are exchanged. There is much laughter. This kind of feast rotates
throughout the community, with each home taking a turn. In a community feast where
everyone gathers in a public place, all food is donated by families that have something to
give. In bigger communities, much of the food is provided by designated hunters.

Feasts are very special because we believe sharing food is an important part of our
culture and is an important link with our heritage. We believe food makes friends out of
strangers. When we eat together, we feel more harmonious. And food doubles its volume when
it is shared.

Staying With an Inuit Family

When we have a guest in our home it is a great honor because it means we are accepted as
we are. We feel needed and humble that our home is good enough for other people. This
includes parents, relatives, friends, visitors, or anyone who needs a place to rest. There
are just a few guidelines you should know before staying with an Inuit family because
sometimes we take it for granted people already know what to expect.

First of all, you are very welcome even if no one tells you so. You must feel at home at
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