Cultural 'big deal': Seal oil makes menu at Alaska care home
February 17, 2021
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Seal oil has been a staple in the diet of Alaska's Inupiat for generations.
The oil — ever-present in households dotting Alaska coastlines — is used mainly as a dipping sauce for fish, caribou and musk ox. It's also used to flavor stews and even eaten alone.
But when Inupiat elders entered nursing homes, they were cut off from the comfort food. State regulations didn't allow seal oil because it's among traditionally prepared Alaska Native foods that have been associated with the state's high rate of botulism, which can cause illness or death.