Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sour dock and tundra

06/10/14, Chefornak, Alaska: After a productive day in clinic, I met the Dental Assistant and her two sisters, niece, nephew, and Golden Retriever puppy (Zola) near the local store so we could take a walk on the Alaksa tundra. Our goal was to look for and pick sour dock – a redish-greenish leaf that grows wild near ponds in the summer. When we got close to one of the many large ponds, I saw sour dock growing in small patches. As I picked the leaves, I tried a few and found that it is sour (thus the name) and really tasty. It would a great addition to a leafy summer salad. We picked two large bags of sour dock and quickly began walking back to town – it was extremely wind and about 42 degrees.

Sour dock is chopped into small pieces and boiled for a few minutes.It is then frozen and used in sour dock agudak, an Alaska Native dessert that consists of instant potato flakes (a binder), hot water, Crisco (or seal oil), and sugar. The Dental Assistant’s mother made a special batch of sour dock agudak and brought it to the clinic. I was only able to take a few bites before heading to the airport. It was a super interesting treat. Two nights ago, when I went over to the Assistant's home for dinner, I had a large serving of homemade blackberry agudak. It was awesome.

As we walked back, I quickly learned that it’s easy to lose your footing. The tundra is soft and soggy. There were berry blossoms all over and a rich moss that looked like wood shavings.

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