Sunday, 30 October 2011


I have long been familiar with the name of Pemmican as the legendary food of Arctic travellers, but I was always curious as to what it was and how it tasted.

So a while back, in the spirit of learning by replication, I decided to make some using the recipe described in Sir John Richardson's 1851 boat-voyage journal.

Not having a malt kiln, I used a domestic fan oven and ground the dessicated meat in a hand cranked coffee grinder. Beef dripping was the fat added.

The cooking smells and the morsels which I consumed, in the interests of science, during the preparation were delicious but, of the finished product, I find myself completely in agreement with Charles Francis Hall's comment in his 'Life with the Esquimaux' when he says:

"This article is eaten not because it tastes good, for it does not, but to live.
It is almost like eating tallow candles."

It certainly more palatable when made into Hoosh, the staple of Antarctic explorers.


  1. Wish I could have tried a bite! I am game to eat just about anything -- once.

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  2. I'd be happy to send you some, although I don't know what Customs will make of it. Any other takers?

  3. When I was 15 I convinced my mum to cook up some pemmican for a backpacking trip I made. Although certainly not delicious, I remember it was quite filling, and not too bad if eaten with garnish (berries or raisins).


  4. Fur trade pemmican was not meant to be eaten cold. It is not only tastier but more digestible if cooked with water (and hopefully something else like hard tack or flour). I find modern bison pemmican good eating, when cooked.