Photo: So Delicious
Are you freezing these days? So are we! But there are people who live in the most frozen areas in the world and still resist cold weather. In this case, you may want to know what Eskimos eat to get inspired by their foods.
Eskimos are the Inuit, which are culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. They never farm, because very little vegetation can grow in the frozen Arctic area. So, what do Eskimos eat, due to the lack of fruit and vegetables? The harsh living conditions made them learn how to hunt on the sea, but also at the shore.
If what Eskimos eat is mostly meat, that’s not only because they only have meat on hand, but also because this type of diet is effective in keeping the body warm, making the body strong fit, and even making them healthy. “The blood and flesh of walrus, seal, whale, caribou, and polar bear make up much of the Inuit diet. They also eat birds and eggs, and fish including sculpin, Arctic cod, and lake trout”, said John, a western scientist, according to Lecoresorts.com. He added that Inuit people also eat plant-based foods such as seaweed, grass, roots, and berries.
Even if they eat so much fatty meat, Eskimos don’t suffer from obesity and type two diabetes and heart attacks are a rarity. “In the 1970s, Danish researchers studying Inuit metabolism proposed that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish were protective. Those conclusions eventually led to the recommendation that Westerners eat more fish to help prevent heart disease and sent tens of millions scrambling for fish oil pills”, The New York Times noted.
What Eskimos eat to resist the cold weather
What Eskimos eat is mostly hunted meats. Sea mammals such as walrus, seal, and whale. Whale meat generally comes from the narwhal, beluga whale and the bowhead whale. Inuit usually hunt juvenile whales, because they are easier to hunt and have a tastier skin. They fish sculpin, Arctic cod, Arctic char, capelin, and lake trout.
They also hunt for eating land mammals such as caribou, polar bear, muskox, and birds, but they also eat eggs.
As for the greens and vegetables, these are not so often eaten by Eskimos. While it is not possible to cultivate native plants for food in the Arctic, Inuit eat those that are naturally available, including berries, herbaceous plants such as grasses and fireweed, tubers and stems, and seaweed.
How they prepare foods
The Eskimos usually dry their protein foods to be preserved and consumed later. They sometimes cook their foods, but they also eat frozen, or raw. Food preservation techniques include fermenting fish and meat in the form of Igunaq, meaning that they bury meat and fat caught in the summer in the ground, like steaks, which then ferment over autumn and freeze over winter, ready for consumption the next year.
When they cook, they mix just a few ingredients and add very few spices. Some of the Eskimos dishes are:
Akutaq, which is berries mixed with fat. Traditionally, akutak was made with whipped fat mixed with berries like cranberries, salmonberries, crowberries, cloudberries, and blueberries, fish, tundra greens, or roots with animal oil or fat. Recent additions include sugar, milk, and shortening.
Bannock is a flatbread generally prepared with white or whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, lard, and water or milk. The ingredients are combined and kneaded then fried in rendered fat, vegetable oil, or shortening, baked in an oven or cooked on a stick. Eskimos can also add spices and dried fruit.
Suaasat a traditional Greenlandic soup made from seal, whale, caribou, or seabirds, but also from reindeer. They add onion and potatoes, and simply season the soup with salt and pepper or bay leaf. Inuit cooks often thicken suaasat with rice or by soaking barley in the water overnight so that the starches leach into the water.
Nowadays, the Inuit people of Alaska, known as Eskimos, incorporate both traditional and modern components into their lifestyle. While they continue to hunt for sustenance, they now supplement their diet with food products purchased at grocery stores.