This is bannock, a First Nations food similar to a scone. It’s bits of dough deep-fried until slightly crispy to the touch. Serve bannock up with stew or on its own, slathered with jam. Damn, it’s tasty.
I always wanted to do a blog entry about Northern foods. Since I arrived, I’ve had moose goulash, bison pate, caribou smokies and grouse soup. People hunt their own game up here and freeze the meat for the winter. Berry-picking is popular in Yukon and common berries include lowbush cranberries and blueberries. A woman in my paddling group wanted to go soapberry-picking for an afternoon during salmon season. Apparently soapberries are valued in native culture because they are medicinal. She wanted to jar them, bring them to Alaska where they are scarce and trade them for fresh salmon. We didn’t do it but this Toronto gal so badly wanted to trade her own berries for salmon.
Locally grown produce is also common up here, surprisingly. Farmers markets like Fireweed Market in Whitehorse are bursting with huge baskets of fresh produce each week. I never thought I’d find locally grown rhubarb, tomatoes, Swiss chard and bok choy north of 60.
If you want to learn more about foods in the North, check out the cookbooks by Miche Genest, a local author and one very cool lady. She just launched her latest cookbook, The Boreal Feast, this summer, and it’s been gotten great press across Canada.
Here’s a recipe for bannock from Miche’s first book, The Boreal Gourmet:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 – 1.5 cups water
0.5 cup canola oil for frying
Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre and add one cup water, stirring dry ingredients in with a fork in a circular motion. If mixture looks dry and clumpy, add the remaining water a bit at a time. Heat a cast iron frying pan on medium heat, add oil and heat until the surface shimmers. Drop the bannock mixture a tablespoon at a time onto the hot oil, and fry until golden brown on the underside, 5 to 6 minutes, flip over and fry the other side. Serve with cranberry preserves and butter.
BTW This is what the tomatoes in Dawson are like, grown only 4 hours away from the Arctic Circle.