January 26, 2005

24. Fermented Fish.

In rural Alaska, some lucky newcomers get the privilege of enjoying a special Eskimo culinary delight. Fermented fish is something most people in the lower 48 would never think to try; and that is a shame, because countless people have been enjoying it as a regular part of their diet for millenniums. Fermented fish is prepared by first digging a hole about two feet in the ground. The preparer places a freshly caught fish in the hole, covers it with earth, and lets it stay buried for a couple weeks to a month or longer. After the fish reaches a desired level of fermentation, the preparer unearths it and immediately freezes it until someone is ready to eat it. Fermented fish tastes best raw and frozen. The picture shows part of the fish I recently ate. It makes a very satisfying meal and keeps you feeling full for a long time. Fermented fish is only dangerous if enclosed in plastic during the fermentation process.


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