Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lets Talk Country Food

I am a semi vegetarian, I learned in culinary school that it doesn't just mean picky, it is a legitimate term for someone who doesn't eat meat but does eat poultry and fish. Knowing this about me, imagine the thoughts running through my head as I was faced with the chance to try muktaaq.

I cant be sure of the exact definition of the word muktaaq but I have heard it used to describe the raw meat of Beluga's, Narwhals and other whales.

This time, it was the meat of a Narwhal sitting on a piece of cardboard in front of me.

Our friend Alannah had said she had a freezer full of it that a friend had brought her from another, more northern community. Katie's face lit up at the mention of this country food delicacy.

Later that day, I found myself sitting at Katie's kitchen table, watching the excitement in her eyes as she cut the muktaaq with an ulu. I was mesmerized by the appearance of the food. I wasn't sure which part of it we were meant to eat. The skin of the Narwhal was beautiful, smooth and thick. It looked like a marble counter top of greys, black and white. I stroked it repeatedly with my finger tip, apologizing to Katie for playing with her food. She laughed at my intrigue.

Since moving to the Arctic, I have been inspired and filled with an unparalleled sense of adventure and curiosity. I do things now that would have terrified me a year ago. If it seems like something I wouldn't do, I make sure to do it.

And so I tried muktaaq, raw Narwhal, for the first time.

The taste was mild, slightly fishy and the texture disturbed my palate. I felt like I was chewing on a rubber band. The face I made had nothing to do with the taste, just with the texture. Please keep in mind that I have a flare for dramatics. I tried the smallest piece that I could get away with, just to say I did. Then I watched Katie enjoy her meal and listened to the stories she told of enjoying muqtaak on the kitchen floor with her mom and siblings when she was young.


Sarah said...

...I've had it a few times in 2009 when I lived up here. I must admit the first few times I too couldn't get past the texture...but a week ago I had some again, leary at first because I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it... BUT I was surprised..I really enjoyed it! (So don't be discouraged-it took me a bit to get past the 'texture' too...) Next time you come across it try it again! Also try dipping it in soya's AMAZING that way! :)

Mom said...

I WON'T DO IT......your braver than me. I'm so glad your trying new things sweetie!