Ugigdada – Share

Ugigdada, or share, is a  very important Unangan value.  It relates to anything that can be shared, as opposed to just sharing a resource.  Examples are work, joy, responsibility, happiness.  Most importantly though, the Unangan shared the food that they acquired from hunting and gathering.  It is still one of the first values that is taught to youngsters who are learning to provide for their families.  You are responsible for providing for your family, but you are also responsible for ensuring that your community has enough.  If someone cannot hunt due to illness, you share what you get with them.  You are responsible for making sure that the Elders in your community have enough traditional food to keep them not only healthy, but happy.  You can expect to be treated the same way under the same circumstances.

Getting ready to fillet a red salmon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband Caleb and I fish.  It started out that we would help mom and dad as they got older, but has evolved from the first moment.  We fish, but we wouldn’t be fishing the front beach if our brother-in-law didn’t share his boat, engine, and net with us.  We wouldn’t be very successful fisherman if we didn’t have the help from sons, nephews, grandsons, daughters, and friends who share their strength and time in helping us pull in the net.  With all the new regulations in fishing, having to monitor the net makes it hard for us to take care of the fish immediately like we have been taught.  So my mother shares not only her most excellent filleting abilities by being responsible for filleting the fish, but she also shares her knowledge by teaching all of us how to fillet.  This comes in handy when we just tire her out and then we step in.  My dad shares his knowledge in producing the final product whether it be dried fish, smoked fish, canned, or frozen.  There is no one who knows more about the brine, the wood, and the timing.

Mom stripping red salmon to hang them in the smoke house.

Eating the foods that we grew up eating is so important to us.  Not only are the foods healthy and good for us, but they provide a feeling of well being.  Because of this, Mom and Dad make sure they send food to family who does not live here.  But she also thinks of her “old pals”, so we have food going to the Pribilofs, Anchorage, Juneau, Seattle, and where ever someone may be spending time.

Ugigdada.  Share.

Already, the year is so old??

Stunning firewords compliments of the City of Unalaska!

Good grief, time flies.  I really need to get past living from holiday to holiday, event to event, and meeting to meeting.  It blurs all those good days in between!

We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, celebrating not only the new year, but, of course, the birthdays of my mother, Gert Svarny, who welcomed her 81st year with perfect grace, and my husband, Caleb, who grumpily acknowledges his birthday each year.  Of course, if a big deal was not made of it, I am sure he would be totally disappointed!!

So every year, I debate the great cake question….what kind of cakes this year?  I settled on a cheesecake with a nut crust, enrobed in chocoate and served over a strawberry coulis, plus an incredibly dense chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.  To tie them together, each had orange in them and were sprinkled with orange zest.

Cheesecake
Crazy, dense chocolate cake.

The chocolate cake was so heavy, (literally, I could not carry it with one hand) I was really afraid to cut into it and serve it.  But, thank god, it was absolutely delicious.  I believe I have found the perfect cake for the Chocolate Extravaganza!

Pirates invaded the party at about 11:45.

As we get older, we joke about being able to stay awake until midnight!  We have devised a schedule to help us out….a late dinner at 8 PM, socializing and drinking(!), then, started for the kids several years ago, we play our “traditional” New Year’s Bingo games with great prizes of things mom wants to get rid of!!  At 11:45 things start to ball up….getting the champagne ready, watching the ball drop, toasting the new year in, running outside to watch the fireworks, coming back inside for a hearty rendition of Happy Birthday, eating cake and opening presents!  By the time this is all done, it is usually about 1:30AM.

And so, with a great start for 2011, here’s hoping your year will be filled with happiness and prosperity.  If not that, at least have some fun!

Christmas Eve 2010

Okay, it has been a while!  I wonder if anyone believes how incredibly busy a small town can be?  Enough said.

Christmas Eve 2010 was worth the effort put in.  Mom and I planned, then parceled out some cooking duties:  Cookies – Greg Hawthorne, Gingerbread cookies, Alena Syverson, Scallop ceviche, Wendy Svarny-Hawthorne, who promptly parceled that one out to  her son, Nicky Hawthorne.   Brie with cranberries in puff pastry, Wendy, as well as hot crab dip.  Laresa was designated the official setter-upper, which includes setting up the table, the buffet, and the dreaded wrapping of the silverware.

Of course Mom cleaned house for almost 2 weeks before hand.  Holiday cleaning…why didn’t I inherit that gene?  On the 22nd and 23rd we started cooking in earnest.

Nicky Hawthorne's scallop ceviche....delish!
Alena's gingerbread cookies and Zoya's million layer Russian cake.
Cookies made by Greg and Mom; truffles by me.
Silver salmon lox, octopus, and pickled salmon.
Yum...Perushkies, brie, layered shrimp & potato salads, ham, curried rice, etc.
Gert Svarny, without whom the party would be nothing!
SP digging in!
Catching Sam just at the right moment!
Greg Hawthorne and son, Jacob, enjoying themselves.
Yekatrina, Michelle, and Zoya, hanging out in the kitchen!
The tree!

Enjoying family, friends, and food.  What could be better?