Tyee Books

A Salmon Lover's Delight

New collection of recipes and tales of the BC coast make a delicious resource.

By Andrew Nikiforuk 22 Dec 2012 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew Nikiforuk is a regular Tyee contributor. This Christmas Eve he'll try the sweet ginger broiled salmon recipe.

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I love salmon.

My enduring affair began when my mother, a descendant of Norwegian immigrants, first served the fish poached with buttered potatoes and cucumber salad one Christmas Eve long ago.

It was a simple peasant communion. Yet the memory of that traditional feast has energized me ever since. Only fish can do that.

So, when I opened a delicious new book called The Salmon Recipes these childhood memories swam back to me with the strength of dog salmon in the Skeena.

Compiled by Gitgat elders, Haida cooks, Prince Rupert stevedores, and mothers that live on the endangered Pacific north coast of British Columbia, this book offers wild stories for the table and rich recipes for the family.

The book, of course, exists as a defiant response to a preposterous pipeline proposal that would accelerate ocean acidification and climate change.

When Enbridge lobbyists, Chinese oil companies and Alberta ideologues threaten your homes and neighbourhoods with careless industrialization, why, the Prince Rupert Environmental Society decided they had to do something.

Wild and free

Resistance, as any First Nation will tell you, begins at the dinner table. As such the book reads like a loving testament to the scared fish that still energizes the Great Bear rainforest. (Wild fish have a way of both sustaining and completing cultures.)

Along with Henry Clifton's story about rogue waves in Hecate Straight lies a recipe for pan-seared honey glazed browned butter lime sauce. A poem by Susan Musgrave shoulders an "Aroma Therapy Dish" with salmon and chamomile tea.

Swimming beside tales of white bears sits a recipe for Icelandic pickled salmon. There too are marvellous recipes for salmon burgers, coast chowder, salmon marinade and Scottish cold smoked salmon.

The Salmon Recipes, deftly edited by Luanne Roth, is both a sweet and gentle reminder that salmon, not oil, made the Pacific northwest's distinct cultures.

As long as its residents care about salmon, the fish will feed resistance to very big and bad ideas.

(For more information or to buy this book go here. The publishers say all profits will go to keep B.C.'s coast oil-tanker free.)

Dear readers and commenters, you may notice that comments are not enabled for this story. In what has become a Tyee tradition, we're closing the commenting system for the holidays to allow our hardworking team a brief respite and chance to recharge. Thanks for all the insightful, informative comments in 2012. We look forward with happy anticipation to more of the same in 2013.  [Tyee]

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