Follow by Email

StatCounter

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Survival Food in the Cold North



This is the starving time of the year here in the Great North Woods. Picture life hundreds of years ago before food was easily transported around the globe. To survive a northern winter food grown in the summer would have to last until things started growing again. Sometimes harvests were poor and not enough was stored. There's not a lot of wild foods available in the early spring.

One readily available food is rock tripe. Rock_tripe Lichens that grow on rock don't sound very appetizing. To be honest, the best thing that can be said about the flavor is that they don't taste terrible. Kinda reminds me of eating dead leaves.

So what's the attraction? It's readily available and actually quite nutritions. There are records of arctic expeditions surviving on nothing else for months at a time. Beats starving to death.

Many years ago I did an experiment about this time of year in the western mountains of Maine. I tried to live off the land in the mountains. For three days my diet consisted of rock tripe, a little bit of edible moss, and spruce tea. The spruce tea was the high point flavor wise. It's also one of the few good sources of vitamin C in the winter time.

The rock tripe was collected from the rocks, cleaned, and double boiled. The first batch of water was poured off as rock tripe contains acids that help them eat rock. (sounds more appetizing all the time, doesn't it?)

Actually if it was finely chopped and added to a hearty soup you wouldn't mind the flavor at all. All by itself for days at a time it gets pretty boring. However, not nearly as boring as starving to death.

-Sixbears

10 comments:

  1. As romantically as we envision the "good ol' days," they weren't ALWAYS so good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We tend to forget about the nasty parts. Reality takes the shine off.

      Delete
    2. I used to work with a Cuban, Juan. At lunch he would go out behind the office and hunt with his 45 with a scope. One time he got a rattlesnake. He took it home and cleaned it, put it in some marinate.

      He brought it to work the next day, still in the marinate, and barbecued it on his portable grill. Tha was some of the best eatin' I've ever had.

      He always said you can eat anything fresh.

      Delete
    3. Yes, but did it taste like chicken?

      Delete
  2. Your story about rock lichens sort of reminds me of the one time that I ate a snake.

    "As romantically as we envision the "good ol' days," they weren't ALWAYS so good."

    There's an interesting story behind one of the nicknames for South Carolinians -- sand lappers:

    http://thepalmettobug.wordpress.com/tag/geophagia/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never tried snake myself.

      The geophagia article was pretty interesting. Reminds me that iodine shortages used to cause all kinds of problems back in the day.

      Delete
    2. "Never tried snake myself."

      You know it's coming ... don't you? ...

      ... wait ...

      ... wait ...

      ... it tastes like ... chicken!

      Delete
  3. Best way to find out about some things is like you did with a field test. Bet a burger tasted real good after the trial.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have no idea how yummy it was.

      Delete