Monday, January 30, 2012

Maktak

Yesterday morning, we were treated to some maktak (or muktuk).  This is the outer layer of whale blubber right next to the skin of a bowhead whale. Here, he is cutting very thin slices of the uncooked skin and fat using an ulu, which is a traditional knife. Maktak is one of the primary sources of vitamin C in the traditional diet. In addition, he brought in some frozen whale meat which he also sliced very thinly and some that he had sautéed with green onions and garlic. Tasty but needed teriyaki sauce...

On another note, we finally did break the -50°F barrier though there were very few celebrating beyond the students trying to get their picture taken in front of the university temperature sign in their swim wear. Many of the temperature signs around town had stopped working and the electronic thermometers in most vehicles stop working. I got a check engine light on my truck and the error code is listed as "Unreasonable outside air temperature." No argument from me. As is typical, there was no wind and yesterday, I managed to go for a short walk and it felt almost pleasant compared to Barrow. No wind really makes a huge difference. As you can see, it looks as if our cold spell is pretty much over with positive temperatures projected by the end of the week. (Not that I'll care by then as I'll be enroute to Ethiopia)

13 comments:

Unknown said...

Richard:

I was feeling sorry for myself for leaving the 85°F temps of Hawai'i and coming home to 33°F of Vancouver , but compared to your -51°F I should be happy as it would be a heatwave in Alaskan talk

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

Actually, after the last month, 0°F would feel like a heat wave.

Trobairitz said...

I am thinking maktak might be an acquired taste. Am I right?

Glad to see your temperatures are improving, although to a weather weenie such as myself, 9˚F is still too darn cold.

RichardM said...

Yes, very much an acquired taste. The whale meat, on the other hand, especially cooked could be used in almost any dish such as a stir fry.

I think everyone around here is looking forward to warmer weather.

redlegsrides said...

"Unreasonable outside air temperature.", the fact that there's an error code in the computer for such events....at least you know the manufacturer tested to that level huh?

So, everyone storing their "perishables" outside instead of in their freezers? :)

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

RichardM said...

A lot of students use the trunk of their cars for food storage. And I used to keep my chest freezer out on the deck as I could just leave it unplugged for months at a time.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Richard,
Cold is cold. I smiled over your comment about the students wishing to get their pictures taken in front of the University's temperature sign. I smiled even wider over your response to Dom. Practical is as practical does :)

I wish you well on your journey.

RichardM said...

Getting pictures in front of the temperature sign has been traditional ever since I've been up here and there was an uproar when the university was thinking of removing the sign. it used to be very inaccurate and they were tired of all the complaints.

Roger said...

Whale meat? Is that allowed, sorry for my ignorance but mention that down under and all hell would break lose.

RichardM said...

Yes, it is fairly tightly controlled and regulated but there are traditional whale hunts twice per year by the natives on the North Slope. Small numbers and shared among the native population of the villages.

Dar said...

An unreasonable temperature to is anything below -2 lol! Yup I too am a weather weenie like Trobairitz. But I paid my weather dues living up in Prince George for 17 years and it was cold back then -40 and colder during winter. I think if I lived up thre I would have to hibernate, seems the only sensible thing to do.

RichardM said...

I guess the weather sort of grows on you. I moved here from southern California and the cold never really bothered me. I still get out and walk around. If it's above -10°F, I'll go x-country skiing. But even when I was in California, I went on snow camping trips.

Many folks are getting really tired of the cold and ready for a change. According to the weather guessers, it's supposed to be +25°F by tomorrow. Noone believes them anymore...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard:

I lived within an hour's drive of Old Forge, New York, which used to have the reputation of some of the coldest winters in the lower 48. This is not the case this year, however... And while it is hitting the zero mark, there is very little snow cover this year.

I was surprised at finding whale meat on your menu too. Even tightly controlled, I suspect there are plenty of folks who would still have their nose out of joint over any kind of a hunt.

The temperature here on the New Jersey shore is epxected to hit 50º today, and may be warmer than Tampa, Fl.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roads