Sense of Place: The Food and Cuisine of Alaska

Sense of Place: The Food and Cuisine of Alaska

Emma Christensen
Oct 15, 2008

While the need for food that fuels is paramount in Alaskan cuisine, that doesn't necessarily mean a sacrifice in flavor! Cooks make use of what's available, often brightening a meat-centric dish with berries, tender greens, and warming spices. Take a look!

Since the Gold Rush toward the end of the 1800's, Alaska has been less isolated and residents have been able to supplement their diet with dried beans, grains, cured meats, and canned foods. Barley proved to do well in the Alaskan climate and became a primary starch. Of all the regions of the United States, it's interesting to note that Alaska is probably the only one that did not include corn as traditional dietary staple.

Also, before the Gold Rush and the introduction of the oven, most food were either eaten raw or it was smoked for preservation. These days, you'll find a lot of braised preparations and slow-simmered stews.

Soups and Sides:
Braised Radishes
Chopped Alaskan Razor Clam Fritters from Group Recipes
Creamed King Crab and Spinach Soup from Northwest Seafood
Smoked Salmon Bisque from Simply Recipes

Main Dishes:
Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns
Pan-fried Ptarmigan Breast and Red Currant Jelly from Big Oven
Moose Stew from Recipezaar
Cranberry Chicken from Epicurious
Red Wine Braised Hare from Epicurious
Salmon Kulebyaka Pie from the Food Network

Rhubarb Lavender Crumble
Cloudberry Cream from Recipezaar
Salmonberry Pie from the Food Network
Baked Alaska from the Food Network (though whether this is from Alaska or a metaphor for Alaska is up for debate!)

Basic Sourdough Starter
Beginner Sourdough Loaf
Sourdough Pancakes of Alaska from Cook's Recipes

What other dishes do you have to add?

Related: Best Campfire Food: What Do You Eat While Camping?

(Images: Flickr members micmin, Chris Corrigan, and 5thLuna licensed under Creative Commons)

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