Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Eskimo Ice Cream

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When I first read about Eskimo ice cream I couldn't help but think of the Eskimo Pies I loved as a kid. But I knew this ice cream was bound to be very different.

Eskimo ice cream is a traditional snack made from whipped seal oil, wild berries, and sugar. It is called Akutaq, which is a Yupik word that means "something mixed."

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Variations of the snack involve mixing roots or leaves with the animal oil or fat. My favorite variation that I read about is called Mouse Akutak, which is made from roots found in mouse holes. In the traditional tribes, the Elders taught that the mice needed to be compensated for the roots taken from their homes. It was customary to replace the roots with something else the mouse could eat, or to leave some kind of gifts for the mouse.

How can you not smile at such courtesy extended to a little creature like a mouse?

I doubt I would like to eat Eskimo ice cream, but I love the story behind it. :)


My A-Z theme of Alaska is inspired by my debut novel, Polar Night, which is set in the Alaskan Arctic. Click here for all the info on the book.





48 comments:

  1. If it's made with seal oil, then it's probably even fattier than real ice cream.

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  2. I'm willing to try anything once, but if I lived in a place where Eskimos did I think I'd prefer hot tea over ice cream.

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  3. I don't think I would enjoy Eskimo ice cream either. But I do like the story with the mouse.

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  4. What do you get the mouse who has everything? :) Cheese? A swatch of soft material for their nest?

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  5. I would try it for sure! I'm up for new adventures. It's "ice cream" for goodness sake. lol
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    #warriorminion

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  6. Um, may I please have strawberry or pistachio almond instead?

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  7. Is it really ice cream if it's dairy free?

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  8. It looked so appealing until I read what was in it! But still, if I was there, I just might have to try it!

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  9. I'm with you on this one. It doesn't look as good as the tub of ice cream I get when we go to the theatre! Love the story about the mice though and why shouldn't they be compensated!

    Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain

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  10. Hi Julie - Eskimo Ice Cream or any sort of ice cream is not popular on a day like today - still snowing!

    However - what an interesting take on ice cream .. and I wonder what it does taste like.

    Yet the giving back to the earth - mouse or elephant is all part of folk .. isn't it - it's a wonderful idea - I just wonder if all other facets of the human race will ever cotton on -

    Loved it .. these are fun - cheers Hilary

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  11. Your comments were enlightening. I'd never heard of Eskimo ice cream. Probably wouldn't be adventurous enough to give it a try, though.
    You're all invited to visit my page at; wwww.dhdunne.blogspot.com. Hope you choose to stop by and comment on it.

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  12. You lost me at seal oil lol
    I'll have the berries though ;)

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  13. Amazing. If offered it I would try it.

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  14. Ooh, this looks interesting! I'll have to go check out your book!

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah With Joy)

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  15. I'd try it just to see how it tastes.

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  16. Hello, Julie! I didn't know about Eskimo ice cream. It sounds delicious. And how cute that they compensate the little mice for taking their roots! I love that.

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  17. @Alex, that's a good point!

    @Ciara, yeah, I think you're right LOL. It's kind of hard to imagine why they would even want ice cream in those climates.

    @MJ, me too, I love the mouse story.

    @Madline, LOL LOL. I would think the material would be good so they can keep warm up there.

    @Dani, oh, you're way more adventurous than I am LOL.

    @Susan, yum, you've got me wanting pistachio now, I love that. I'd pass on this too.

    @Gwen, it doesn't seem like it would be, but maybe the seal oil counts LOL.

    @Kate, yeah, I thought the same thing. The colors are pretty!

    @Rosalind, I agree, it's only right and actually a sweet idea.

    @Hilary, that's what I think too, I wonder. And I can't believe you still have snow, oh my gosh! It's like endless winter for you there. :(

    @Deanie, thanks for coming by and for your link, I'll be sure to stop by. Great to meet you!

    @SK, LOL, that lost me too.

    @Regina, I don't think I could but maybe I should be more adventurous.

    @Sarah, oh, thanks! I appreciate that!

    @Sheena-kay, I admit I'm getting more curious, at first I thought no way but maybe I would.

    @Laura, hello! The mice story is just adorable to me too, I love it. Thanks for coming by!

    @Michael, LOL, I don't disagree.

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  18. I'll stick with the Eskimo pies I loved as a kid, thank you. Although a nice dish of berries is always a treat.

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  19. @Julie, yeah, I'm happy with the Eskimo pies too LOL.

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  20. We have eskimos here in Mexico but nothing to do with those you describe. I don't know, somehow I don't think I would like seal oil.
    The courtesy to mice is nice, though.

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  21. Wild berries and sugar, sure, but seal oil? No, I don't think that's for me.

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  22. Whipped seal oil? I think I'll pass, but thanks! :)

    Interesting, though...

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  23. I'm not a fan of berries, so I wouldn't try it, but I like the story too.

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  24. Akutak sounds kinda iffy. I don't know if I'd like roots from where mice habitat. The berries sound good though.

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  25. I'd definitely rather eat an Eskimo Pie than Eskimo ice cream :)

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  26. I think I would pass on the mouse-twig flavor. But enjoyed how they have to pay the mouse back. That's a nice sentiment.

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  27. When I saw a post about ice cream, I was not expecting seal oil!

    I guess they have not come up with a mint flavor yet...

    LC

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  28. The detail about the roots threw me off, unfortunately!

    But I definitely agree those who enjoy the ice cream should pay the mice.

    Barbara
    E is for Evidence Found in A to Z
    The Daille-y News

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  29. Whoa! Whipped seal oil? I'd love to try it! Fun post!!

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  30. Sounds good to me! I'd try it. :)

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  31. What a delightful story about the mouse! I love the look of the berries, but I'm not sure about whipped seal oil...
    Your post reminds me of Klondike bars I used to eat at my grandparents' house. Those were so yummy!
    Great post! :-)

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  32. Ohhhh, a supernatural thriller??? I'm intrigued! And the story behind the Eskimo ice cream is quite nice. Visiting from A-Z!

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  33. Um, I think I'll stick with ice cream, but that's awesome about paying the mice back. :)

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  34. Anything with seal oil is probably out for me, unless I was desperately hungry.
    Interesting post!

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  35. Whipped seal oil and sugar.....I'm in.

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  36. You're right - the "ice cream" itself doesn't sound all that good but I love the mouse-gifts!

    Jessica @ Visions of Other Worlds
    Twitter: @jmarcarelli, #atozchallenge

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  37. Not sure about the seal oil but the mouse story is very endearing!

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  38. I think I'll stick with Eskimo Pies instead. Great story about the mice, though I wouldn't want to invade their mouse holes!

    Julie

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  39. @Al, yeah, seal oil doesn't make me want to run out and try it either.

    @LD, that does kind of ruin it, doesn't it?

    @Mark, agreed!

    @Christine, I'm not a big berry person, either. Thought I was the only one LOL.

    @Cathrina, LOL, yeah, I don't think I'd want to eat something mice have in their homes.

    @Carol, me too.

    @Mary, that's what I thought, cute!

    @LC, LOL, I doubt it.

    @Barbara, I think so too, and maybe the mice are the ones ending up with the better stuff LOL.

    @Lisa, really? LOL you are adventurous!

    @Jackie, you and Lisa should get some together then. :)

    @Lexa, oh I love Klondike Bars! So yummy.

    @Empty Nester, thanks!!

    @LG, I agree.

    @Tyrean, yeah, I think that's the only way I'd try it too.

    @Tim, LOL well knock yourself out. :D

    @Jessica, I love the mouse gifts too, so cute.

    @Nick, I think so too. :)

    @Julie, yeah, I'd probably end up getting bit LOL.

    @Vikki, thanks!

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  40. I wouldn't eat anything will seal oil, but I'm willing to try the variations.

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  41. I like the berries but I don't think I'll eat the Eskimo Ice cream

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  42. @Medeia, the seal oil put me off too.

    @Lorena, I agree!

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  43. This reminds me a bit of this awesome dessert my mum makes, which has ice cream, meringue and frozen berries. VERY GOOD.

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  44. @Trisha, ooh, that does sound good. I love meringue!

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  45. Ice cream is my favorite sweet thing ever, but replacing cow milk with animal oil greatly ups the "Yick!" factor, I gotta say.

    But I also love that they felt the need to compensate the mice!

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  46. @Beverly, LOL, yeah, the seal oil doesn't make me want to run and try it. :D

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Thank you for your comments!