Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Season 1 Episode 9


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jul 23, 2007 on Travel Channel

Episode Recap

Andrew is in the rugged and cold territory of Alaska, which he reveals still has twenty percent of its native Eskimo population. Many Eskimos know how to live off the land and where to get food, keeping dishes and recipes that have remained relatively unchanged over several years. What they catch during hunting season will sustain them for a year. In Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula, Andrew meets DJ Blatchford who has preserved her native Inupiat culture through dishes such as muktuk made from the beluga whale. The skin and blubber is dipped into dunuk made from whale oil to create a local dish. Andrew also tries whale roast that he says is very much like regular roast.
Andrew reveals that much of the state is protected by the Federal Parks Department. The city of Girdwood was a mining community, but it is now a tourist colony for skiers and snowmobile enthusiasts. Local guide Andy Morrison takes Andrew to the former Crow Creek Mining area to try his chance looking for gold, and Andrew seems to find a few grains of fool's gold that floats as well as a few specks of real gold. Andy collects a few spruce tree tips to make Andrew a local brew of tea. Near an igloo out of ice, he also reveals how to make agutuk or Eskimo ice cream out of fat, dried fruit, whipped cream and fruit. Andrew objects first at the concoction before trying it and returns to civilization yearning for hamburgers and Cable TV.
Andrew is on to Bethel which is the lifeline to supplies for many of the communities. The town is mostly Yupik Eskimo. Andrew meets his hostess, Ana David, who takes him to meet Ivan Waska, an ice fisherman, who gives Andrew a whitefish from his catch. Andrew and Ana are then off to meet her friend, Lucy Crow, to share with him a variety of dishes ranging from the fresh, dried or smoked. Among the cuisine Andrew samples are stinkheads, fish that has been buried a week then served. They're quite an acquired taste for him. Andrew also has boiled blackfish, seal soup and more agutuk. Before leaving, he gives Lucy the whitefish as a gift telling her he'll be back to sample it with her, but she won't wait that long for him.
Andrew then visits Indian Valley Meats whose interior is full of animal heads staring at him from the walls. Doug Drum is the owner and proprietor of the location, having developed it from a mere processing plant. The place processes meat from caribou, reindeer and moose and even turns out hot dogs. He reveals a dish called jellied moose nose, a dish that has gone back for hundreds of years. It's made from processed moose meat that has been gelled with spices in its own juices. Andrew also samples walrus meat and salmon wings usually tossed away by most meat processors.
Andrew also visits Dario Martinez, who trains and rents dogs for sled racing. Dario lives out of a tiny one-room shack, spending most of his time caring for the dogs to see they get more than the best of care. Andrew tries the sport and learns the dogs can reach up to twenty miles per hour.
Andrew is on to meet three locals named Merch, Twirl and Merlin. Twirlis actually Chris Roberts, and he and his buddies lead snowmobile tours twenty miles out of Girdwood and twenty-five miles out onto the wilderness of the Alaskan Carpathian Mountains. Chris gives a few gestures as warnings to potential wild animals along the way. Along the way, they catch wild ptarmigan, the state bird, which is legal to hunt. They cook it as muffler meat on the manifold of their snowmobiles. Andrew arrives soon at Skoogan Glacier, water frozen into the shape of a cave, and marvels at its beauty. He samples the wild ptarmigan both from the manifold and fried on a portable stove. His hosts also provide Russian tea made from powdered orange drink, powdered tea mix, powdered lemon mix, sugar and cinnamon. The drink completes Andrew's Alaskan experience.