Inuit Cookery

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

(Inuit being more or less equivalent to the old name Eskimo, and applying to peoples in the northernmost inhabited parts of the earth, e.g. Greenland) is, in its traditional form, subject to the limitations imposed by a very cold climate and a sparse range of fauna and flora. In this respect it is not unlike antarctic cookery. However, there is a big difference; the indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic regions (e.g. in the southern parts of Greenland, Labrador, Alaska, the Northwest Territories of Canada, Labrador) are relatively numerous whereas the Antarctic, being basically an uninhabitable icecap, has none. The Alaskan writer Zona Spray has written an evocative portrait of Inupiat cuisine (in Walker, 2001), advancing cogent arguments for seeing it as an independent, self-contained style of cookery. (The Inupiat and Yupik peoples still prefer to describe themselves as Eskimo.)