Alaskan cuisine has three major influences. The natives, of course, who for centuries survived on a very simple hunter-gatherer diet, were influenced heavily by the Russians first. It was the Russians who “discovered” Alaska on an expedition in 1741 and, not long after, colonized the massive North American peninsula.
So, from living on berries, birds, fish and other seafoods (including whales!), wild game meats, like moose, bear and mutton, Native Alaskans were introduced to, and became enamored with, the wider variety of tastes, textures and cooking methods of their Russian occupiers.
Oddly enough, Russians who migrated to Alaska also became influenced by native Alaskan foods. While the natives were quickly adopting new foods introduced to them by the Russians, the migrants themselves started enjoying the traditional foods of Alaska. Hence, a blend started taking place, beginning to formulate modern Alaskan cuisine.
It was shortly after the American Civil War when Russia approached the United States with a proposal to sell the land. Secretary of State William H. Seward, on March 30, 1867, signed a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for – get this – just $7.2 million!
The US dollar was worth much more back then, certainly, but it was still a steal. Even so, Congress and the journalists at the time ridiculed the purchase as President Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden“, and a Seward’s folly”.
That deal has proven to be one of the best acquisitions made by any major world power throughout modern recorded history. Alaska is fabulously rich in natural resources, and has been a major contributor to American prosperity. With the discovery of gold in 1898 creating a mad, crazed “gold rush”, American prospectors flocked to Alaska in droves and, with them, came the third major influence. Modern day Alaskan cuisine is strongly influenced by mainland United States cuisine.
As did the Russian immigrants, American settlers also fell in love with the local eats. Getting a taste of the super sweet, succulent, wild caught Alaskan King Crabs was too wonderful to not talk about with the folks back in the States. Alaskan King Crab is now a favorite seafood meal all across the continental United States.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, on January 3, 1959, signed a proclamation admitting the territory of Alaska into the as the 49th state of the Union. Native Alaskans, Russian and American immigrants, blending their culinary preferences together, came together in producing what we now know as Alaskan cuisine.
Okay, enough of history. Let’s get to the main reason you came to this page – the recipes!
Below is a list of Alaskan dishes. Click on the recipe of your choice, and you will be taken to a print-friendly page with just that recipe on it. Off you go now, into the cold territory with wonderfully tummy-warming and mouth-watering eats known as …
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