October 6, 1949
Nunamiut, Among Alaska's Inland Eskimos
The Eskimos usually have two meals a day, one in the morning and one when the man comes home from hunting in the afternoon or evening.
The Eskimos usually have two meals a day, one in the morning and one when the man comes home from hunting in the afternoon or evening. When we sit down on the willow-bough floor and the dish of steaming caribou meat is set before us, the procedure is scarely that of a smart dinner party in our own world, but is civilized after a fashion. The common idea that primitive peoples fling themselves upon their food and gulp it down like wolves is wrong. Certainly the hands are used, and it is permissible to pick about in the in the dish to find a tidbit, but eating is controlled and follows definite rules. Eating has its own technique; there is an art in tearing the flesh away from the bones in the most effective manner. Sometimes the eaters dig their teeth into one end of a piece of meat while holding onto the other, and then cut off piece after piece close to the mouth. At other times the knife is used while the bone is held in the hand. Every scrap of meat, sinews, and fat is cut off and eaten. Finally, they attack the raw bones and cleave them with a few blows of a stone or axe, so skilfully that the marrow is disclosed undamaged. When the meal is over a heap of bare bones is left.