Monday, December 26, 2005

Only in Alaska..

On a recent Saturday trip to Safeway I experienced a PA announcement like none I had ever heard before. As I was looking for the best apples I heard over the loud speaker,

“Okay, kids Santa will be here in 10 minutes. Let’s go outside and line up to watch his
helicopter land!”

Wow, I thought! What happened to the reindeer? I finished my shopping and proceeded outside. Drawing near to the front door I hear native drums, a dinging bell and ladies singing ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ somewhat flat, monotone and in a very slow cadence. A group of ladies dressed in native wear and large Santa hats were gathered around the Salvation Army bucket singing away and beating the drum. Now that is some local entertainment!

We also finished up the “Road Kill” processing. After hanging for two weeks in a cool “meat locker” aka Mark’s shop, the moose was ready. This last Saturday, we went to Don and Ann Bailey’s house for a full evening and night of moose butchering. Boy, was it work! Jeff and I kept looking at each other in disbelief. They said this was a SMALL cow moose… and we ended up with 250-300 pounds of packaged meat. Don and Jeff would take each quarter, clean off the dried outer layer and then carve off large muscle groups. Ann, Suzie (a friend of the families) and I would then further clean the meat and cut it into smaller pieces. Depending on the amount of the sinew and look of the meat we would decide if it was stew, steak, roast or hamburger worthy. Jeff and I were never more thankful for our Boker knives...thanks George. They cut like butter!

We then took the cut pieces into the house and double wrapped them in saran wrap and then gave them a final wrap of butcher paper. I was the butcher paper and label-er. Jeff and Don then ground all of the remaining meat into hamburger and cut up the ribs for the church New Year’s Eve BBQ. The meat was divided three ways and Jeff and I went home with what we normally would have from one white tail deer alone. We ended the evening with ice cream and raspberry topping at about 12:30 am. Amazing! It was so much fun.

The next day I fried some back strap…delicious!!! There is nothing like fried back strap, biscuits and gravy and mashed potatoes. Yummy. Wish you were all here to enjoy. Tonight, I am taking some of the moose hamburger and making stuffed pasta shells with a meat sauce.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Road Kill! Yummy in my tummy...

Now, many of you from Texas or Arkansas may shudder at the thought of eating road kill. The very words, ‘road kill’ conjure images of the Clampetts and Ma fixin’ possum stew for supper. However, in the great state of Alaska people actually sign up to be on a short Fish and Game road kill list. The lucky few are called to field dress and haul off moose that have been hit by an unfortunate driver. A call may come a couple of times a year for each person on the list. It amazes me to see how much damage one of these moose can do to a car or truck, while the animal remains pretty well clean and undamaged.

Recently, one of our new friends, Mark and Kathy, received a call regarding a large cow moose. A young mother and her kids were driving from Homer to Anchor Point one snowy night last week and up from the gully came a cow and her calf. Both were killed and the car totaled. Thankfully, the mother and children were fine. Mark went and was lucky to get the cow. However, Mark and Kathy are going to Idaho this weekend for three weeks to see their newest grandbaby. With the moose not yet finished aging, Jeff and another brother from the congregation are going to process and put up the moose next week. I can’t wait to be a part of this timeless Alaskan tradition: cleanin’ and cookin’ the road kill! I will let you all know how it turns out.