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Achiyitqan Cultural Notes: Food
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Sources, preparation, dishes, and prey species
This public article was written by severy, and last updated on 21 Oct 2015, 11:02.

[comments] Menu 1. Main sources of food 2. Typical methods of storage and preparation 3. Cuisine 4. Appendix: Select prey species The Achiyitqa people originate from and primarily live in the far frozen north of Mygith; they are a race of explorers and have contacted and traded with cultures across the globe, and so enjoy occasional dishes livened up with temperate or even tropical fare . However, in their homeland and while travelling, most of their food is meat and seafood, with the occasional supplement of plants.

Note that this article was written about Achiyitqan food in their original setting (my medieval-fantasy conworld of Mygith), but much of it still applies to CWSP Achiyitqána. The main difference is a higher availability and variety of plant food throughout the year due to sophisticated greenhouses and, of course, more up-to-date hunting and fishing practices.

[top]Main sources of food

Most Achiyitqan food is hunted, fished, or scavenged, and generally comes from animal sources, although some plant material is also eaten, especially during the warm season.

The majority of food is from the sea; many Achiyitqans spend a good part of their day on the open sea or on northern lakes and rivers, fishing and hunting. Fish are gathered with shallow trawling nets, fishing spears or hook-and-line (cast or dragged). Sea mammals (whales and seals) are also hunted, generally with harpoons, although smaller species may be collected in nets. Large whales and particularly large fish (or the occasional large shark) are hunted in teams, generally driven towards shallow waters from several small kayaks and then harpooned where they will be easier to drag back ashore.

The sea also offers a variety of plant life, especially during the warm season; beds of northern kelp and other seaweeds are harvested, as are clams and other molluscs and the occasional crustacean. Traps for crab and lobster are left out, and small octopus and squid are speared or harpooned.

Hunting is also conducted onshore. Snares are set for small animals like rabbits and squirrels, and larger prey are corralled or chased and then speared. Carnivorous animals such as wolves, foxes, polar bears and wolverines are also sometimes hunted, mainly for their fur. Some Achiyitqan communities herd caribou (reindeer), muskox, or other domesticated or semi-domesticated mammals. These animals provide milk (which is often made into cheese and yoghurt) and meat, as well as non-edible necessities like fur and bone.

Northern birds like ptarmigans, puffins and auks are hunted with sling, arrow, or trapped in nets. Their eggs are also collected. Some communities have domesticated fowl.

Mainly during the warm season, local fruits are harvested: a variety of hardy berries, tubers, sedges, a few herbs, and grains. Communities farther to the south also practice agriculture, although farther north it is difficult to grow plants due to the permafrost soil. Some northern communities have constructed greenhouses that allow year-round growth of plant foods.

Most Achiyitqan communities have become somewhat reliant on trade as a source of certain delicacies, including many fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, herbs and spices, and a wider variety of meats.

[top]Typical methods of storage and preparation

A decent amount of food is eaten raw or warmed (but not thoroughly cooked) including fruits, some fish, and fresh meat, depending on the quality and cleanliness of the food. However, most food is preserved, prepared or cooked in some way; thanks to the frigid nature of the Achiyitqa homeland, natural refrigeration is a storage method.

Upon capture, animals are gutted and usually skinned, plucked or de-scaled. (These skins and feathers - and even the fish scales - usually find another use later on.) Larger animals are then generally de-boned and butchered or filleted, while rodents or small fish are immediately stored in salt or brine to preserve or ferment. De-boned meat is either used immediately, or preserved (salted, brined, sun-dried or smoked) and then frozen.

Unlike many cultures, the Achiyitqans use literally every part of the animal - including the contents of its digestive tract. Manure and other inedible parts are kept to fuel fires, or sometimes as fertilizer for those groups who have agriculture. The contents of the forestomachs (gizzards, rumens etc) in applicable animals is used similarly or sometimes eaten for its nutritional content.

Produce that doesn't keep well is eaten quickly, or dried, or preserved in blubber. More resilient plant foods, such as grains, tubers, and hard fruits like apples, are stored away in a dry place. Some plants are stored in a particular manner to make them ferment. Grasses are harvested whole and the grain heads are separated from the stems, which can then be used for livestock fodder, bedding, or insulation, while the grains are kept separate for making bannock or porridge.

[top]Cuisine

A short list of traditional dishes and foods:

  • Yuhtahána - Smoked salmons.
    • Caiyuhtahána - Hot-smoked salmon. A favourite dish of the Achiyitqan. The salmon is "hot-smoked," meaning that it is also cooked through the smoking process, and obtains a crispness.
    • Dunuuhtahána - Cold-smoked salmon. A great export of the Achiyitqan people. The fish is cured but not cooked, retaining a milder flavour and a much softer texture.
    • Susqohána - "Salmon bacon." Pre-smoked salmon (usually Caiyuhtahána) fried with a breading of susqo (coarse flour, usually from corn or wild rice) and made quite crisp.

  • Úl - bread. Bread is made mainly in the fall from grains harvested wild from the tundra as well as farmed grain.
    • Úl, Aatúl - bannock, a fried flatbread. Generally the bread referred to by úl.
    • Susqotúl - rice bread, often containing potato flour and other ingredients.
    • Binaatúl - acorn pancakes. Un-bittered acorn meal is mixed with wheat or other flour, sweet sap, lard and egg or blood, and then fried.
    • Simmúl - Seaweed "bread." There are many varieties with different flavours, ingredients, textures, and cooking styles, from thin salty wafers to a softer, flaky, somewhat gelatinous "bread pudding." Made from sometimes-desalinified kelp and/or dulse, yeast, and often carageenan from red algae, and sometimes thickened with egg or blood.
    • Bíttul - lichen bread. Made by boiling Iceland moss or reindeer lichen with wheat flour and salt; yeast is introduced and then the bread is baked. Ingredient ratios and resulting texture vary depending on the availability of wheat. Often served with syrup, honey or fruit.

  • Áwegehna - Pemmican. Fat or blubber is reduced, concentrated, and mixed with powdered or chunked pre-cooked meat, and sometimes powdered berries or grains, and then allowed to set. A similar food, Ninehna, is made with milk fat in place of lard, and formed into a sort of cheese.
  • Kluusogttagliy - fermented meat.
    • Kluusogttatuh - fermented fish. Usually small forage fish such as herring or sardines are used. The fish are fermented whole in brine in the waterproof stomach of a large mammal for several months. (This is not quite as pungent as Surströmming - usually.)
    • Kluusogttalápmuwn - fermented meat of sea-mammals. Steaks of seals or whales (or sometimes land mammals (kluusogttamuwn)) are lightly salted and then stored underground to ferment and freeze over the winter.

  • Gliysiks - "riced meat." Rice flour (susqo) is soaked in grease and fried. Mashed tubers and seaweed flakes and, if available, eggs are added, otherwise blood is used as a thickener. Diced fresh meat is coated quite thickly in the batter and fried again, and then allowed to stew in its own juices.
    • Nuɥasiks or susqonuɥa - "riced bear." A traditional meal to make after the slaughter of the first bear of the season, considered a rare delicacy. The brain of the bear is sometimes scrambled into the batter.
    • Piksosiks or susqopiks - "riced caribou (reindeer)." Usually includes gelatin and dairy (milk, butter or cheese) and makes more of a casserole.
    • Lisiɥasiks - "riced small birds." A stickier batter with finer flour and more eggs/blood is required. The birds (usually several at a time) are prepared and eaten whole - fried at first and then baked to a crisp. Very similar is tápsiks, riced rodent, made with whole mice or voles. Often these animals are also fermented beforehand.

  • Iɥtossqa - "cut vegetation." Fresh salads or coleslaw
    • Aétuɂebeɥi - a preparation of dulse, dandelion leaves, and occasionally other vegetables. Usually raw, but sometimes fried. Summertime or travel fare, generally served as a garnish or side for a meat dish.
    • Iɥɥimmigi - salad made from partially dehydrated kelp and the stems of various bitter plants.

  • Kluusogttatossqa - fermented salads, sauerkraut
    • Simmskenkla - various seaweeds, partially dehydrated, and then stored with yeast to encourage fermentation. After the desired flavour or consistency is achieved, it is stored in brine.
    • Íhmacaaɂt - a fermented salad made from the flower heads of various plants such as colt's foot, dandelion and marsh marigold. Sometimes it is left long enough to become alcoholic.

  • Táw, ncetlew w meegoɥa - soup, porridge and drinks
    • Bingúhltaw - creamy acorn soup, a summer delicacy. Acorn meal, fresh cream, dried mushrooms, chopped carrot, bird bones, and parsley.
    • Bíttɂuyataw - lichen milk broth. Chopped lichen, mashed tubers and softened grains are boiled in caribou milk for up to two hours, creating a thick gruel. The broth can then be made into a savoury soup with meat and greens (bíttaw ɥolqu) or fish and seaweed (bíttaw lápna) ; or it can be converted into a sweet porridge with fruits, sap, or sweet tubers (bíttɂuyancetlew) .
    • Honóqsinɥa - birch-sap drink, sometimes pure birch sap but often watered down and sometimes with other additives. It is often fermented into an alcoholic beverage.
    • Mpágaɥ - rice wine, usually with a high alcohol content.
    • Násigettstaw - a thin soup or savoury tea made with fermented rock tripe (a lichen) and other mushrooms, often with tubers added. The soup itself is served fresh.
    • Qihtihmíɥa - bladderwrack mead. A significant a mount of bladderwrack (a seaweed) is needed to produce viable quantities of alcohol, but the result is a lightly sweet, faintly liquorice-flavoured reddish-purple drink.
    • Simmléw - seaweed soup. Fresh kelp, arctic moss and red algae are boiled in fresh water for hours, with animal bones, until the plants are very soft and the broth is thick. If left long enough, or with enough carrageenan or blood, it forms a gelatin.
    • Suŋlew w áwegen - root and blubber soup. A variety of roots and tubers are collected, boiled, mashed, and then boiled again; dandelion roots, carrots, potatoes, etc. Red algae and hot-smoked blubber are added for flavour and thickening.
    • Ulaqlót - "ox blood." A savoury drink or broth made from boiling muskox bones, often combined with milk. The drink is sometimes mixed with fresh blood from an ox or other animal, but this is not actually a required component.



More dishes can be found here.

[top]Appendix: Select prey species

A list of many, although certainly not all, species of animal, plant & fungus that are gathered, fished, hunted, cultured or kept. Species with a * do not exist on earth, either because they are fantastical, or because they have gone extinct.

  • Fish // tuh
    • Arctic char // hás
    • American eel // ɂssatuh
    • Arctic lamprey // yadsen
    • Arctic cisco // tugiatuh
    • Atlantic salmon // háld
    • Cod // tíha (Greenland or Atlantic species)
    • Greenland halibut // kuugel
    • Haddock // tupo
    • Mackerel // yinnaw
    • Pacific salmon // hána
      • Chinook salmon // hánahqo
      • Chum salmon // kahstahána
      • Pink salmon // gódihana

    • Whitefish // sumituh
      • Broad whitefish // gossumituh
      • Lake whitefish // nenedú
      • Muksun // kusumituh

    • Sabretooth salmon* // ciqihána
    • Trout // boyessk

  • Sea mammals // lápmuwn
    • Pinnipeds (seals)
      • Eared seals // boli
        • Northern fur seal // máwkboli
        • Steller sea lion // géyhboli

      • True seals // muuwi
        • Bearded seal // naibkamuuwi
        • Grey seal // málimu
        • Harbour seal // sínuum
        • Harp seal // baatta
        • Hooded seal // kiygum
        • Northern Elephant seal // gowim
        • Ribbon seal // mitimí
        • Ringed seal // muuwini


    • Cetaceans (whales) // gáan
      • Toothed whales // melsa
        • Atlantic white-sided dolphin // ɂeŋŋdacé
        • Beluga // baté
        • Blunt-snouted dolphin* // dasmolúwiyo
        • Common harbour porpoise // kipdacé
        • Long-finned pilot whale // neqtadacé
        • Narwhal // andu
        • Northern bottlenosed whale // mahlpelsa
        • Orca // nuci
        • Sperm whale // bautémih
        • White-beaked dolphin // qidacéni

      • Baleen whales // tigáat
        • Grey whale // súagaatiɥa
        • Bowhead whale // hósatootigaat
        • Common Minke whale // dastigáat


  • Land mammals // muwniskuyi stúlqu
    • Ungulates and allies // dónisku
      • American bison // sumi
      • Arctic aurochs // ɥeageun
      • Camelops* // ɂátha
      • Caribou (reindeer) // pikso
      • Mammoth* // tóogoɂa
      • Mastodon* // skehiisumo
      • Moose (elk) // tihkon
      • Muskox // ulaq
      • Stag-moose* // qacipón
      • Titanohyrax* // tóonwulso
      • Wapiti (elk) // wápos
      • White-tailed deer // tuuɂintomahia
      • Northern macrauchenia* // peliska
      • Saiga // seɂíina

    • Rodents and allies // táp
      • Arctic hare // ŋápt
      • Canadian beaver // muiq
      • Canadian porcupine // pokuun
      • Eastern cottontail (rabbit) // ɂitn
      • Giant beaver* // mohqo
      • Megalonyx* (ground sloth) // immáaldo
      • Muskrat // muiqtái
      • Snowshoe hare // ŋáipci

    • Carnivora
      • Black bear // cipínɂ
      • Cave bear // disáuweɥa
      • Dire/giant raccoon* // danówenon
      • Fisher // hmóu
      • North American river otter // leyo
      • Polar bear // kiiɥka


  • Birds // lis
    • Gamebirds, fowl // ɂatlis
      • Duck // qiip
      • Goose // náqiŋ
        • Canada goose // qohdnáqiŋ
        • Snow goose // mónaqiŋ

      • Grouse // denna
      • Ptarmigan // minna
      • Swan // bahti

    • Gulls and waterbirds // kaal
      • Albatross // kíila
      • American bittern // mpeehkaal
      • Arctic penguin* // tsaableyet
      • Arctic tern // tamín
      • Gannet // gonnha
      • Great auk* // leyet


  • Plants // qúd
    • Seaweed // simm
      • Arenaria peplodes (Seabeech sandwort) // hákiqois
      • Bladderwrack // qithimí
      • Calliergon giganteum (Arctic moss) // páadha
      • Furcellaria lumbricalis (Red algae) // gábsimm
      • Laminaria (Kelp) // máiyo
      • Palmaria palmata (Dulse) // aétu

    • Grass, sedge and allies
      • Alpine bistort // hígi
      • Cochlearia officinalis (Scurvy grass) // ŋagisshmé
      • Rice // mpág
      • Rye // licim
      • Tundra maize* // suŋŋ
      • Wheat // stóod
      • Wild rice // siks

    • Fruits and berries
      • Bearberry // wáldeh
      • Cloudberry // geasudsulɂah
      • Crowberry // qóemme
      • Lingonberry // soseguhnaa
      • Northern redcurrant // tailíɥa
      • Raspberry // kiindsulɂah
      • Winter cranberry* // kiinguhnaa

    • Tubers
      • Claytonia tuberosa ('Eskimo potato') // bocoógu
      • Parsnip and parsley // mídɂosuq w mídɂo
      • Wild carrot // ɂóekta
      • Wild turnip // makkeido

    • Other plants
      • Angelica archangelica (Holy Ghost) // aɥkitís
      • Betula nana (Dwarf birch) // honóqsin
      • Caltha palustris (Marsh marigold) // yándta
      • Dandelion // ɂebeɥ
      • Hedysarum alpinium (Sweetvetch) // gáhtupaag
      • Hedysarum hedysaroides (Sainfoin) // qíwlpaag
      • Oak (var.) // binttu
      • Pedicularis hirsuta (Hairy lousewort) // wócuwa
      • Petasites frigidus (Butterbur, coltsfoot) // móhidi
      • Rhodiola rosea (King's crown, roseroot) // cáyaig
      • Salix arctica (Arctic creeping willow) // cínuwd
      • Salix boganidensis // cícupaag
      • Saxifraga punctata (Dotted saxifrage) // piigaag
      • Senecio congestus (Swamp ragwort) // bílhol


  • Fungi - dsigaɂ
    • Cetraria islandica (Iceland moss) // bítt
    • Reindeer lichen // qúdaɥt
    • Rock tripe // násigett
    • Giant lichen* // tsoɂátsɂeh
    • Mushrooms (var.) // dsigaɂ
    • Yeasts (var.) // úqu


Comments (1)
[link] [quote] 30-Jan-16 00:05
ÄNatural Languages
For those who study natural languages - so probably everyone
 Jute [STAFF]
I really enjoy reading articles about the cuisines and traditional foods of other cultures, so this is a great read!
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