Monday, April 29, 2013


caribou head: skull-licious doggy treat

The other day, somebody in the community Facebook group was advertising fresh grizzly bear meat for sale, from the kill that a hunter had shot the other day. I wanted to buy grizzly bear meat! I would have no idea how to cook grizzly bear meat. Maybe in a stew, like rabbit, like my partner suggests, since it would probably be tough and gamey.  It's probably a good thing we didn't buy grizzly bear meat. Next time, Smokey...

Do you ever feel like a lot of North Americans want to avoid thinking about where our meat comes from? Our fish is served without scales or heads, and even when we walk into the butcher, the chunks of meat hanging from hooks don't resemble anything like the cows or pigs they once were. It's like we want to tell ourselves that burgers come from the burger tree and not from animals that were once living.

It's not like this in other parts of the world.  Just visit the markets in Barcelona, where the heads of ducks and rabbits are intact so you can see from the eyes of how fresh the meat is.  Order a "smilie" dish in Namibia, named after the fact that the goat's head served to you appears to be smiling. Or just take a stroll through Chinatown and peek into the grocery stores where feet and tails and faces of various animals greet you.

The Nunavummiut have less qualms about where their meat comes from. A lot of them go out on the land with the snowmobiles and catch the meat themselves.  It's pretty neat to see modern hunting culture among the Inuit.  Sometimes the hunters post in the community Facebook group, asking for assistance in removing the antlers off a caribou skull, as well as assistance in cutting the caribou head in half. (I wonder if we can take some advice from my friend in Africa and use a bandsaw?)

I also enjoy the hunters' postings on the community bulletin boards at the grocery stores.

for the record, I haven't figured out yet what a kalvik / kavik is. 

In the traditional community spirit, people often share what meat they do catch, especially offering the first cuts of meat to the elders.  This weekend, a community member invited everyone to a potluck dinner at the church to share the polar bear meat that had been shot this week.  This means, by the way, I've now turned down two opportunities to eat bears in one week.

 The Nunavummiut love country food, like muskox meat and char.  At the local grocery store, the "country food" section also has Korean-style galbi ribs for some reason, so I guess I love "country food" too....

I used to be a little squeamish about meat and fur.  I didn't eat seafood for a decade because Koreans like to serve their dishes with the whole fish intact, and I don't like the way they would look at me with their fishy eyes. I got over it, though. I think that you shouldn't eat meat, if you aren't comfortable with where your meat comes from. And I like to eat meat. Which means my Inuit neighbours can now totally hang up their wolverine and fox hides on their porch and I no longer blink an eye.


yes, that's a leg poking up from the roof.
And deal with fish heads, randomly lying on the side of the road for no reason that I can really understand.
why is this still here? why has no one made bouillabaisse out of this yet?