In Inuvialuit culture, sharing food is an important way we take care of each other. My Anaanak and Ataatak (grandparents) were known to be generous in sharing traditional food and clothing to ensure no one was hungry or cold. They understood how difficult life in the Arctic could be and worked together supporting each other and helping other families in the community, sharing whatever people needed. Our survival as a people depended on values like this. Even today, Inuvialuit make sure to send traditional food to our relatives in the south so that they always have a taste of home.
As a historically nomadic people, we gathered together in the long dark days of Arctic winter in our sod houses and skin tents. Families and communities were reunited and celebrated with singing, drumming, dance, traditional games of skill, as well as sharing traditional food. Inuvialuit lived sustainably and sourced everything we needed to survive from the land and waters, including edible plants, roots, berries, meat and fish. After contact, we adapted to convenient canned and shelf stable goods along with new vegetables transported from the south. We learned and incorporated new recipes into our diets which have now become part of contemporary tradition.
Our cultural values are still intact and we actively live and continue practices in contemporary Inuvialuit families and communities. During special events, weddings, celebrations, community feasts and funerals, we still gather to share food and be together as a community. A side dish that is always comforting and delicious and always is macaroni salad.
Quick and easy to make from shelf stable ingredients and fresh vegetables, this recipe satisfies cravings and is a great addition our traditional food mains. Call an Inuvialuk friend and you may hear “Come for supper! I’ll make mac salad to go with our caribou roast!”
Related: Inuvialuit-Style Donuts
Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with a pinch of salt.
Cook macaroni pasta to al dente. Rinse in cool water, strain and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine macaroni, chopped vegetables, cheese and luncheon meat.
Whisk all dressing ingredients together and pour over macaroni and vegetables. Mix well.
Sprinkle paprika over top and garnish with cilantro.
Cover and chill until ready to serve.