A giviak is an Inuit delicacy, made by stuffing a whole sealskin with whole raw auks, and letting it ferment underground.

First you need a dead seal with an undamaged hide. With your flensing knife, reach in through the seal's mouth and carefully separate the carcass from the skin and blubber. Pull the seal carcass out of the skin, through the mouth, without breaking the sealskin.

Then stuff the dead auks - feathers, feet, and all - into the sealskin. Sew up the mouth, and bury the bloated skin. During the summer months, the seal blubber on the inside liquifies, melting slowly into the dead birds. Fermentation occurs. Months later, dig it up.

Bring the giviak to a party. Guaranteed fun!

To eat one of the little birds from the giviak, hold it by its feet, and eat the feathers first by shucking them off with your teeth. Then crunch up the rest of the oily, delicious morsel -- bones included. The heart and the coagulated blood inside it are the best part, with a texture and taste reminiscent of the finest cheese -- according to Peter Freuchen in his book "My Life in the Frozen North".

Warning: In Inuit culture, refusing to eat what is offered you is very insulting to your hosts!

Irma S. Rombauer, author of The Joy of Cooking definitely never experienced such a feast as this. However, in the revised edition of that venerable cookbook, in the introduction to the section titled Freezing (page 819 of the 1975 edition), there is a reference to giviak.

We are indebted to an Arctic explorer for the following Eskimo recipe for a frozen dinner: "Kill and gut a medium-sized walrus. Net several flocks of small migrating birds and remove one specific small feather from each wing. Store birds whole in interior of walrus. Sew up walrus and freeze. Two years later, find the cache - if you can - and notify the clan of a feast. Partially thaw walrus. Slice and serve." Simplicity itself.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.