noun: a common food in western Alaska, usually made
with ingredients such as Crisco or animal oil, berries, sugar, and fish. Yupik word for “something mixed.” Also known as Eskimo ice cream.
Example: “That Akutaq
was so tasty, I’m still grinnin’
like a possum eatin’ a sweet tater.”
I first tasted akutaq in Kotzebue, north of the Arctic
Circle. I was at a public event, and a
young girl approached me with an old shoebox full of small paper cups, each
packed to the brim. “Would you like some
Eskimo ice cream?” she asked. Famished,
I said, “Yes, please,” and took the fullest cup. This Southern woman never turns down ice cream.
It was then explained to me that the variation of ice cream I was so
eager to spoon into my mouth was actually a combination seal oil, salmon, Crisco,
loose snow, salmonberries, blueberries, and sugar. Since trying akutaq with an open mind was the
respectful thing to do, I did my usual countdown… 3-2-1… and BOOM! Flavor explosion! Rich, gooey, bitter, tart, saccharine, indescribable texture, and unexpectedly
pleasing to the palate.
Try it. You just might like it.