When Pemmican Made History

  • Translated by Ron Southerton and Tim Crosfield.
  • The complete story about pemmican; were, how, when and for what!
  • Pemmican as a life insurance in native life, exploring the world and polar research.

Book Review from The Aglooka Advisor No 4/2016 p10.         Newsletter from The John Rae Society, Stromness, Orkney

This wonderful account of the Pemmican industry and history is a must read for all those interested in Polar Exploration and the cultures of the Arctic, Taiga and Tundra.

Written so interestingly with terrific anecdotes on the subject, I found this book GRIPPING! The recipes and methods of creating this food treasure are splendid. The note that juniper berries are flavouring and a preservative as well, interested me greatly. The ways of drying and grinding the buffalo meat, or caribou, made me think of Orkney’s great past. The stone tools and querns would have been perfect for preparing pemmican. With our vast resource of cattle, descended from the European Auroch, this comestible would answer most of the meat storage problems put forward by archaeologists.

The history of the Fur Trade, the beaver hats and travel are fascinating: Tales of beaver hats going worldwide on heads if kings, presidents, potentates and those chasing the heights of fashion are spellbinding. I do pity the beaver, though and it’s near extinction. The politically encouraged extermination of the buffalo is tragically moving: Encouraged by The Senate to starve and contain the Indian populations is desperately poignant.

There is so much in this book to learn and digest, that it needs two or three reads. There are multiple sides to it illustrating the cultures and histories of so many places, including of course Hudson Bay Company and many Orcadian characters.

‘When Pemmican Made History’ is a factual book, with many calculations, statistics, recipes and accounts, beautifully, humorously and strikingly put together.

Andrew Appleby

A fascinating book for anyone with a passion for the golden age of exploration and intrepid adventurers. Kjell brings a new appreciation to their glorious feats – and links them by telling the truly remarkable role played out by his title subject. The respective chapters on Franklin and Rae are entitled ”The Man Who Ate His Boots” and ”Journey into the Unknown and the High Cost of Truth”. While both carried pemmican Franklin’s was made in Hungary of ”substandard raw materials.. in tins sealed with lead”. On Rae’s 1846/47 expedition his crew set off in two York boats carrying three months rations of pemmican, six muskets and fishing nets for a fifteen-month journey. Their courses were set – the rest as they say is history…

Colin R Bullen

When Pemmican Made History

”… Pemmican is the only prepared meat food that men at hard work in the field at low temperatures can eat twice or three times a day, three hundred and sixty-five days in the year, keepin the best of health, and have the last mouthful taste as good as or better as the first.”

Robert E. Peary, American North Pole Explorer.

You will meet many of the men who succeeded with pemmican as a staple food for surviving. And those who prepared for exploring the world. Alexander Mackenzie, John Rae, Cutberth Grant, Louis Riel, Buffalo Bill, Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton, the Duke of Abruzzi, Finn Malmgren, a German pirate and many moore. In peace and in war. Good guys and bad guys. In a new suprising historical context.

Purchase the book? Send your name and address to the e-mail: pemmikan@telia.com and you will have a price and shipping cost in your own currency.