In this issue we’re bragging on Alaska food. The state is renown for its healthy and sustainable populations of wild seafood, from crab to cod to salmon, and Alaskans enjoy the bounty whether they gather it themselves or buy it like the rest of the world in the frozen-food section of their local grocery store.
Mix in other foodstuffs, like berries and birch syrup, or wild game, like moose, ptarmigan and caribou, and it becomes apparent that in spite of the cold and austere environment, the Last Frontier offers a tremendous variety of wild food from which to choose.
With such abundance, it’s not surprising that we Alaskans have developed a rich food culture built on access to these wonderful resources. From fried fiddlehead ferns to smoked salmon, the ways to prepare Alaska fare are as varied as the northern landscape. Frankly it can be hard to improve upon food this good and in some cases, unnecessary: my favorite way to prepare salmon is to grill it without seasoning of any kind. But, understanding that my no-frills cooking style doesn’t work for everyone, we sought the help of some Alaskans who have brought cooking Alaskan to a high art, and to make it interesting, we asked them to bring the holidays into the mix (See “Holiday Meals Alaska Style,” Page 24).
We know that delivering such tantalizing words and images might alienate those readers who don’t have ready access to Alaska food, so we’ve included a resource guide to help you find authentic Alaska-grown foods, no matter where you live. And for those who can’t find it, we’ve compiled a list of businesses that will ship it right to your door. Once you’ve got it, there are a number of recipes included to help you make the most of this already spectacular food.
But be warned: There really is no substitute for the real thing when it comes to Alaska-grown food. Taste it at your peril, because once you do you might never be satisfied with anything else again.