In December, we posted a menu for a typical mid-20th century feast of roasted caribou head served out on the land in the North. For James Wheeler of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, the sight of the caribou head brought back memories:
“Lest your readers without an oven give up on having their own caribou head, a recipe from a cookbook of about 1959 from the Church of the Ascension in Inuvik (courtesy of Bertha Allen) says, ‘Skin and wash the head well. Then chop it in quarters, splitting it between the eyes with an axe. Cover with cold water and boil until soft.’ Please don’t drool on this letter.”
We did our best not to. But it was hard, given that James had included a copy of some of Bertha Allen’s recipes. Here they are:
Boiled rabbit soup: Skin the rabbit, cut it up and put it in a pot of cold salted water. Bring to the boiling point. Add rice and dried vegetable mix to make a thin broth. One can also add dumplings when the soup is almost done.
Roasted rabbit: Cut up the rabbit and put in a pan with grease and a little water. Add salt and about a handful of dried vegetable or onion flakes. Roast in the oven for about an hour or until done. Mix a little flour with salt, and mix well together. Roast a little longer until flour is cooked. This makes good gravy. Cooked rice is good to eat with this.
Oven roasted lynx: Wash and clean the hind legs of the lynx and roast in a roaster with lard and a little water.
Boiled lynx: Cut up the lynx and boil it until it is soft and well cooked. This is good to eat with muktuk.
Boiled reindeer head: Skin and wash the head well. Then chop it in quarters, splitting it between the eyes with an axe. Cover with cold water and boil until soft. One can also roast in an open pan in an oven very slowly.
Boiled reindeer or caribou hoofs (sic): Put the hoofs with skin still on them in a large pot. Cover with hot water and boil for a couple of hours. The skin peels off easily then. The muscles are soft and very good to eat. The toe nails also have some soft sweet meat inside them.