This highly unusual study, part-way between an anthropological monograph and a folklore collection, examines the traditional foodways of the native American “first peoples” who once occupied great stretches along the Pacific coastal region of the United States and Canada.
Covering both the better-known tribes of the area—Haida, Tshimshian, Nootka, and Tlingit—and many smaller groups, the compilers, a team of tribal ethnographers, have assembled fully detailed information on methods of food gathering, storage, cooking, and preserving, dealing not only with the physical aspects of the processes but also the mythology and related beliefs, as well as rituals, chants, image-creation and other practices allied to the world of food.
The food preparation material will be of particular interest, including explicit descriptions of filleting, smoking, boiling, grilling, and other techniques. Among the “recipes” are instructions for cooking and preserving many kinds of fish, as well as animals of the fields and forests, such as moose, beaver, rabbits, and porcupines, along with grouse and a variety of other birds. Fascinating reading, of special interest to adventurers in the outdoors, this is one of the very few full-scale treatments of gastronomy by anthropologists, who had long neglected the world of food in their studies of non-western cultures. Published in 1980 by the University of Washington Press in a handsome 9” x 9” format, the book is heavily illustrated with vintage and contemporary photographs and food-related art.
The current copy is in very good condition—a first edition hardcover with dust jacket. The book is clean and fresh looking; the jacket has about ¼” missing at the spine ends but is quite good looking and now protected in a mylar sleeve.