The Whale and the Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska

The Whale and the Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska

by Julia O'Malley, Kim Severson

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From fish and fiddleheads to salmonberries and Spam, Alaskan cuisine spans the two extremes of locally abundant wild foods and shelf-stable ingredients produced thousands of miles away. As immigration shapes Anchorage into one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, Alaska’s changing food culture continues to reflect the tension between self-reliance and longing for distant places or faraway homes. Alaska Native communities express their cultural resilience in gathering, processing, and sharing wild food; these seasonal food practices resonate with all Alaskans who come together to fish and stock their refrigerators in preparation for the long winter. In warm home kitchens and remote cafés, Alaskan food brings people together, creating community and excitement in canning salmon, slicing muktuk, and savoring fresh berry pies.

This collection features interviews, photographs, and recipes by James Beard Award–winning journalist and third-generation Alaskan Julia O’Malley. Touching on issues of subsistence, climate change, cultural mixing and remixing, innovation, interdependence, and community, The Whale and the Cupcake reveals how Alaskans connect with the land and each other through food.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780295746753
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Publication date: 12/12/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 1,038,336
File size: 17 MB
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Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Julia O’Malley is an Anchorage-based food journalist, writing teacher, and editor-at-large at the Anchorage Daily News, for which she writes recipes and a regular Alaska food newsletter. She was the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 2015 to 2017 and now teaches writing workshops around the state. She has written about food, climate, and culture for the Guardian, Eater, National Geographic, High Country News, and the New York Times, among other publications. She won a 2018 James Beard Award in the foodways category.

Table of Contents

Foreword Kim Severson vii

Introduction: What Why How We Eat 3

1 In Alaska's Far-Flung Villages, Happiness Is a Cake Mix 9

2 Whale Hunting at Point Hope, a Village Caught between Tradition and Climate Change 17

3 Finding Produce in Alaska's Winters Takes Wiles and Luck 35

4 Alaska Sprouts: The Future of Food Sprouts in Deep Winter 51

5 In a City of Strip Malls, a Vietnamese Noodle Revolution 67

6 Free Alaskan Salmon: Just Bring a Net and Expect a Crowd 75

7 How Spam Musubi Edged Its Way into Anchorage's Food Scene 85

8 Thirty Days of Muktuk 93

9 Eating Well at the End of the Road 103

10 Thousands of Miles from Washington, DC, the Gwich'in Track the Fate of Caribou Country 125

Afterword: Doughnuts at the Edge of the World 139

Recipe List 149

Acknowledgments 151

What People are Saying About This

Maya Wilson

There is a reason that Julia O’Malley has been recognized by The James Beard Foundation and featured in the New York Times. She brings a level of self-awareness to the Alaska experience that is rare. What we eat as Alaskans and why we eat it is central to that experience. Julia O’Malley has the skill and tenacity to get to the core of it every time and she brings the reader along with her. Her voice is unmistakable and deeply authentic. I trust that her influence on Alaska’s food movement will long outlive her.

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