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Chewing the Blubber!


caymus1984
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Hey All,

Just got back from a trip to Oslo and got a chance to cook up a fillet of Whale! A friend and I bought it at the local grocery store (frozen), sauted it in butter and ate it with a beurre noisette. Didn't really know what to think....meaty like a steak but with a definate fish type taste....... anyway we fed most of it to her cats. Maybe it needs to be prepared differently. Anyone have any suggestions for the next time I'm in Oslo?

sid

NEVER EAT MORE THAN YOU CAN LIFT

-miss piggy

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There are several recipes in Cooking Alaskan by Alaskans. It can be broiled, sauted or roasted.

I've got recipes in this book for Broiled Whale Steaks, Whale Meat a la Venison, Stuffed Whale Roast, Whale Bobotee, Fillet of Whale with Mushroom Sauce and Pot Roast of Whale.

Interested?

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FRY WILLY

Mix liquid ingredients in an above-ground pool. Place whale in pool and allow to marinate overnight. Remove whale from pool and roll in dry ingredients. Set whale aside for one hour. Thread whale on spit over hickory fire. Rotate slowly until charred. Remove whale from spit and wrap in sliced bacon. Boil marinade down to thick reduction and pour over whale. Wrap whale and foil in bacon. Bake in 350-degree oven for 3 hours or until steam emerges from blowhole. Serve with barbecue sauce and pico de gallo. Serves 2,000.

:laugh:

Edited by Pickles (log)
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Hhhmmmm...I remember eating whale several times while travelling in Lofoten (the northern fjord district in Norway). Out on the islands it's pretty common.

It wasn't bad. It was definitely mammalian (red) meat, but it tasted like it had been marinated in fish sauce for a long, long time. The hardest part was getting past the expectation that it would taste like beef - it definitely didn't. The texture was like Argentinian beef, free range and not dry-aged.

We had it cooked several ways, most often stewed and braised. It seemed to need slow, moist cooking - the sauteed strips I had were pretty chewy. Maybe one could dry-age it a little.

The best way was braised in beer with leeks and cabbage - the smell as it cooked was, well, not that great. The finished dish, though, was pretty good.

Rob

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Hhhmmmm...I remember eating whale several times while travelling in Lofoten (the northern fjord district in Norway).  Out on the islands it's pretty common.

Lucky you to go up there. Some of the most beautiful country in the world. I had the good fortune to be in that area a couple of summers ago. We rowed a hundred yards off shore, put our hands in the water, wriggled our fingers and cod swam up and asked to be boiled and then served with a sauce made of butter, shallot and parsely. I remember it like a wonderful dream.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Lucky you to go up there. Some of the most beautiful country in the world. I had the good fortune to be in that area a couple of summers ago. We rowed a hundred yards off shore, put our hands in the water, wriggled our fingers and cod swam up and asked to be boiled and then served with a sauce made of butter, shallot and parsely. I remember it like a wonderful dream.

And they're so polite about it, too...nothing like the Dover sole, which is rude, crude, and quite tasty...

<sigh> Yep, it really is God's Country up there...just not the God you might think.

I also remember form the trip braised raindeer in a mushroom sauce, roast hare, ptarmigan ( a kind of sea bird), fish about 87 different ways, all excellent, and coffee black, strong, and plentiful.

And I didn't eat in a restaurant, either. Well, we did go out for waffles one morning, but this was otherwise Norwegian farmhouse cooking, and boy oh boy was it good.

Out in the islands, they don't see many Ami's; one of my hosts was an Ami expat, and we stayed with her inlaws mostly. The nicest people I met while travelling Europe - even though most of them (out in the boonies) learn lots of English from movies, and hence have an unusual idiom when expressing themselves in that language. :blink:

I LOVED Norway, and I'd move there in a split second, if I could afford it - the highest taxes in Europe. OTOH, first-rate universal; cradle-to-grave health care, pretty good roads, excellent rail system, nice place for a country with the population of the New York Metro area. Only one drawback I encountered - the local beer was, well, mediocre at best.

Rob

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...nice place for a country with the population of the New York Metro area.  Only one drawback I encountered - the local beer was, well, mediocre at best.

Rob

I'm shocked. I long for the beers of Norway. Fresh, dry, complex. I'd only drink Norwegian beer if given the opportunity.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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I've often heard about the home-brewing traditions in rural Norway. For example, using juniper and other medicinals instead of (or in addition to) hops.

Did you get to try any homebrew? Was that the stuff you didn't like?

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Eating whale is not necessary and wrong. I don't consider it to be a "cute egullet topic". It is the destruction of a species that you see while your frozen whale is thrown in the trash. This is a good example of why the world has no need to kill whales. Store it in the freezer and make a stew. Fuck the Norweigans and the Japanese. KILLING WHALES IS TO MAKE PET FOOD AND MAKEUP> That isSOOO importaaant

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Fuck the Norweigans and the Japanese. KILLING WHALES IS TO MAKE PET FOOD AND MAKEUP> That isSOOO importaaant

I have to agree wholeheartedly. I feel guilty enough eating farmed mammals but I am too addicted to stop. There is little point in hunting endangered species for scientific purposes (Japan) or to feed a longstanding tradition in a modern Norweigian society.

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Why is it considered wrong?

Fuck the Norweigans and the Japanese.

Well that's pretty rude.

Add Americans top the list too KarenS as there are Alaskans that eat whale.

And it is to survive.

edit: clarity of thought is sometimes hindsight

Edited by beans (log)
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Forgive me if I am wrong, but aren't certain species of whale in plentiful supply? I didn't think the situation was such that all whales are endangered.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Here's what I'm going to do. Instead of locking or deleting this topic, I'm going to make ONE, count with me, ONE appeal for reason first.

This is a food website. Occasionally on this website we talk about things that aren't politically correct, but at the very least they are within the province of "food discussion".

Moral judgements, pro or con, aren't irrelevent or against our rules but discussion of them in a confrontational manner IS.

Inflammatory language towards entire ethnic groups or nationalities is also a breach of our rules, but in an effort to avoid pulling this topic apart like a roast chicken to extract all of the references now made to it, I'm going to leave this as a warning instead.

If someone says something you disagree with violently enough to risk violating the eGullet User Agreement, then take a step back. In other words, ignore them. If you can't make a reasoned argument, then don't make one at all. And if you quote someone or directly refer to something they said? Be aware that if THEY violate our rules and we are forced to delete their post, yours goes too--no matter what side of the argument you are on.

ONE warning. This is me wearing my unhappy moderator hat, so I'm being a lot less diplomatic than I usually am here.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I so don't want to risk the wrath of the moderator, but I read all of the above posts, and one word stuck out -- survival. Sometimes we eat the food of our ancestors to remember our culture and history, and I'm absolutely certain whale was what was available, and they very much respected the whale, as much as the American Natives respected the buffalo. (Don’t you remember from history class how the men went out in kayaks to hunt the whale? It was very dangerous, and, IF successful, there would be a feast and celebration HONORING the while and showing respect for its place in the people’s survival.)

No matter what the food source, at some point in time, it was eat what you could to survive. Therefore, today there are times when you eat what your ancestors did to remember who you are and how their sacrifices made your life possible.

It shouldn’t be an ethics question, unless you’re on the cannibalism thread – now, that’s just plain wrong! :shock:

Edited by Rhonda Graham (log)
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today there are times when you eat what your ancestors did to remember who you are and how their sacrifices made your life possible.

We don't need to eat any wild creature, especially higher mammals, endangered, because it is part of a tradition that ended with farmed mammals available to all of us (with the sole exception of the Inuit.) When I read the post about curious tourists eating whale in Norway, and not really liking it, and giving it to the cats, I have to think about how many years that whale survived eating plankton, how much of the carcas went to pet food, while the delicate portions were reserved for us, and whether the whale oil or whale bones were still needed for intricate human endeavours.

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I'm shocked. I long for the beers of Norway. Fresh, dry, complex. I'd only drink Norwegian beer if given the opportunity.

The only beers I found were Aase, which I beleive to be Norwegian, and Carlsberg, which was invariably old and tasted badly of the cans it was packed in.

I would suppose the situation to be very differnt in someplace like Oslo or Bergen.

On the OTHER hand, I had several types of homerew that were...interesting, to say the least. The homebrewed beer was not bad, but the local moonshine, well, that was root-tootin' good stuff. The flavorings were usually juniper (makes it a kind of gin, I guess) or dill...and it was bar none the strongest thing I have ever consumed. I was in college at the time, and working at a microbrewery; I thought I had a pretty high tolerance. Man, a couple shots of that stuff blew the top of my head clean off. Tasty, too, not real medicinal like many homemade distilled liquors can be.

Rob

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On the OTHER hand, I had several types of homerew that were...interesting, to say the least.  The homebrewed beer was not bad, but the local moonshine, well, that was root-tootin' good stuff.  The flavorings were usually juniper (makes it a kind of gin, I guess) or dill...and it was bar none the strongest thing I have ever consumed.  I was in college at the time, and working at a microbrewery; I thought I had a pretty high tolerance.  Man, a couple shots of that stuff blew the top of my head clean off.  Tasty, too, not real medicinal like many homemade distilled liquors can be.

Sounds like you enjoyed some Aquavit, Rob. Great stuff!

If you ever seek out the non-homemade version, you might want to try Linie, a Norweigan Aquavit aged in barrels aboard a vessel which must cross the equator (Linie) out and back. The name of the vessel is on the back of each label.

Denmark and Sweden make some good Aquavits, too.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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  • 2 weeks later...
We don't need to eat any wild creature, especially higher mammals, endangered, because it is part of a tradition that ended with farmed mammals available to all of us (with the sole exception of the Inuit.)

I agree in the case of whales, great apes (a growing source of "bushmeat") and any other "higher mammal." It just defies logic and ethics for one who can easily satisfy their nutritional needs otherwise to chow down on whale out of curiousity or as an arcane means to identify with their forebears. The Inuit have a case for continuing to consume whales, as they still subsist on their surrounding resources; who's to tell them they should shop Wal-Mart and eat frankenfarmed beef.

Where I live, white-tailed deer are overabundant and practically farm animals judging from their steady diet of farmers' corn and soybeans. I hunt them and enjoy greater peace of mind eating them than I do a slab of meat from Safeway: I know where and how they lived, they travelled and lived naturally, free of hormones and supplements, and their flesh actually has a unique flavor compared to the bland, grain-fed beef coming out of the giant slaughterhouses. Nobody is grinding up deer carcasses to feed deer. Plus, the DNR is annually disappointed at a low harvest; the more we clear woodland, the more deer thrive, to the point of overpopulation and disease if unchecked.

I've never read of whales being overpopulated anywhere. And I've also never read of deer potentially possessing language skills comparable to our own. So my argument lies somewhere between those lines.

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We don't need to eat any wild creature, especially higher mammals, endangered, because it is part of a tradition that ended with farmed mammals available to all of us (with the sole exception of the Inuit.)

I agree in the case of whales, great apes (a growing source of "bushmeat") and any other "higher mammal." It just defies logic and ethics for one who can easily satisfy their nutritional needs otherwise to chow down on whale out of curiousity or as an arcane means to identify with their forebears. The Inuit have a case for continuing to consume whales, as they still subsist on their surrounding resources; who's to tell them they should shop Wal-Mart and eat frankenfarmed beef.

FYI, going deep into the North Slope of Alaska, there are many Eskimo villages that don't even have indoor plumbing let alone a store to shop from.

Kids are often flown into other Alaskan cities, and live in dorms to earn their high school educations. Hospitals aren't everywhere either. Think very remote and still subsisting in today's day and age, fishing, hunting and foraging for foods much in a similar manner as their anscestory. Then there are those that move into the more populated areas, but have a developed an appreciation and taste for specific foods, say like whale steaks. Even then they cannot be denied something that they are legally able to harvest and eat.

Sort of a side note as to the remoteness of Alaska, even in the touristy Southeast: There used to be a K-Mart in Juneau (it closed, but there still is a Costco) that many all over the Southeast are used to taking a trip on Alaska Air with empty, huge duffle/shopping bags or take a empty large SUV on the longer ferry ride to stock up on many common households, food product and new clothing. Some families bond together to place a combined order via long distance telephone and pay for the bulk barging of their purchase to arrive.

Edited by beans (log)
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I have only travelled between Anchorage and Denali, though during the summer I spent working on a fishing vessel in Bristol Bay, I did see much of the Aleutians and stopped for a few days in Kodiak.

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Very cool.

I'm Native Alaskan and have spent much time in the Southeast, and wee bit in Anchorage.

Although I suspect eG tires my Alaskan-ness from time to time -- the "fooding" is very much a part of the life and culture that is my heart and soul.

re edits: started with today's first posting, so why not be consistent? :biggrin:

Edited by beans (log)
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I agree in the case of whales, great apes (a growing source of "bushmeat") and any other "higher mammal." It just defies logic and ethics for one who can easily satisfy their nutritional needs otherwise to chow down on whale out of curiousity or as an arcane means to identify with their forebears. The Inuit have a case for continuing to consume whales, as they still subsist on their surrounding resources; who's to tell them they should shop Wal-Mart and eat frankenfarmed beef.

chappie..i completely agree with you...in priciple..but we *really* dont know much about whales..the exact numbers..their migrating patterns..yea..we know more than we used to..but we still dont know enough to say that if we kill x% for our table...it will keep the whale population in balance...having said that, i am not saying that the people who do rely on whale hunting for their sustenance should be denied their rights...although i might take issue with what the faroese do..for the continuation of their cultural heritage..or as my dear faroese friend says..'the grind'...i wanted to stay away from this thread for many reasons..but alaska has been on my mind lately..i dont know about the japanese or the norweigians..but i'll be damned if anyone accuses native alaskans re whaling..due to the strange phenomena called 'life' and what it throws on our way, i had to turn down the invitation to spend my seven week summer vacation in alaska...alaska is my little secret...my very first night in alaska, i was granted a gift...the aurora borealis..not rare in those parts, i'll admit..but it was wonderful for me...it is the place where i go to inside my head when i need to feel safe or happy...its where i will retire when my hair turns white, my hands become gnarly and when my flesh goes southwards...because of pure dumb luck, i have had the fortune to keep bumping into people who have made the hostile arctic region their home and i am not exactly a dreamer and i am pretty sure that i am a hard core realist..but the great frozen northern wastelands keeps bringing out the dying romantic in me....as wonderful as it is, nome and esp barrow are desolate, dismal, bone numbing regions of paradise where life can be pretty bleak...and like beans said, there are indeed parts of alaska that lack basic facilities like indoor plumbing...a friend who spent the last few months in nome fishing king crab returns a tad tame..nome and the bering sea can do that to you...it humbles you..makes you yearn for the things we take for granted...it makes you long for human touch and company...i hope he snaps out of it and reverts back to his usual bastard mode that i find greatly endearing....my relative who makes frequent trips to barrow speaks often about the great injustice that has been committed against these people..first by taking the children away and placing them in boarding schools and subsequently abandoning them when they return as strangers to their own land...with no skillset in a hostile landscape that relies much on ..well.. the whale ... tragic stories of these children returning as adults and unable to connect with their traditions...the stunningly heartless theft of a people's identity and their self worth...worst of all, the wresting away of their means of sustenance..their occupation..their heritage..whale hunting..barrow is a fishing/whaling village that is above the arctic circle...yes, it is cruel to ask these people to wolf down sam's choice?.....neither here nor there, the returning younger generations are out of touch with their culture..alcoholism is rampant..and suicide rates are high..domestic violence gets ugly...an entire generation of people have lost the traditional art of sustenance through whaling....the situation is much better than it was before...it is true...but alaska is still the Final Frontier...it is not 'our' world...'our' rules dont apply..as they will readily tell us, the 'outsiders'. respect, everyone deserves it.

recently, when the makah of seattle(who literally gave away their land to the US govt for their right to conduct whaling...the last one was in 1999...seventy years since their last whale hunt..[btw..they have since changed their methods of hunting..replacing primitive harpooning methods with quicker and more humane ways to kill the whale]...which ceased because of a scarcity of the grays because of *commercial* whaling...hmmm...) were finally allowed to resume whaling and eat whalemeat...the sustenance of their anscestors before they landed in reservations..much fanfare ensued in the media about their endless list of recipes for the gray whale..apparently, the female tastes better than the male... :raz: pickled, pan fried..stewed, stuffed..or as steaks, fillets, ..and then there is the (in)famous whale popsicle...frozen whale meat dipped in rendered whale blubber..lovely, i am sure..

Edited by Lalitha (log)
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