Moosepacking

Palin's favorite food becomes nation's favorite mystery meat
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Palin's favorite food becomes nation's favorite mystery meat

Thanks to Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, everybody's talkin' moose these days. The Alaskan food staple — which can't be sold, and therefore must be hunted — made its way into water-cooler conversation and late-night talk shows alike after Palin asserted that moose burgers and moose stew remained her favorite foods. Indeed, photos of her field dressing a moose have popped up and been sent around as proof of either McCain's brilliance or lunacy in selecting her as a running mate.

This has inspired an examination of all things moose by denizens of the Lower 48. According to the NY Times, moose meat is leaner than beef, but tastes like hamburger but with more intense flavor and a coarser feel. The snout remains a prized portion, and it's described as tasting "quite gelatinous and tender."

To Alaskans, it's both a freezer staple and reserved for special occasions, and those who serve it must work for it: After you kill a moose, you gotta get it out of the backcountry.

A dressed moose can produce about a third of its weight in edible meat. To get hundreds of pounds of meat out of the wilderness, hunters need an all-terrain vehicle, a small plane or lots of strong friends with backpacks.

Now, most Alaskans no doubt opt for the ATV or plane route, but can you imagine ever convincing your ultralight friends to pack out hundreds of pounds of meat with them at the conclusion of a trip?

"OK, so the bad news is your pack is going to be a lot heavier on the way out than in. But the good news is, if we get caught in an impassable blizzard, we won't have to resort to eating each other for at least a couple weeks. Oh, and you can have the snout. You're welcome."

— Ted Alvarez

A Political Punch Line Is Dinner in Alaska (NY Times)