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A Moose Stew Miracle Story--This One Will Touch Your Heart!


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#1 luckyladybug

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 02:38 PM

For the slow cooker recipe swap challenge, I chose to share one of my favorite comfort recipes--Caribou stew. It got me to thinking about a story that was shared with me by a lady who works at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

A child in a rural Alaskan village, a boy of about 8, became very ill. The local doctors were unable to help him, so they sent him to the hospital in Bethel where he was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. His family took him to the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage where he began treatment. Unfortunately, as happens all too often with kids with intensive medical needs, his family was unable to relocate to Anchorage for his care, so he was put into the foster care system.

(When this happens, social services tries very hard to place children with locals from their village. If that's not possible, they try to place them with other Alaska Natives. If that's doesn't work, they go into the foster care system at large. I know several young people who were born in one village, but raised with Athabaskans near Anchorage for this reason. They identify themselves with both their birth and adoptive culture.)

This boy was placed with a local Native Alaskan family in this manner, but sadly was not responding to treatment. Imagine--being taken from his rural village life to a modern medical facility thousands of miles away, no family, no connections. So young, so sick, so alone. My heart aches for each child that would ever find themselves in this circumstance. Not surprisingly, he was failing. He was a quiet child by his nature, and very sick. Also, there were no speakers of his language at the hospital. When he did mumble a word, no one understood him.

Back in the village, his family ached for him and desperately wanted to learn of his progress. His grandmother after many attempts, was finally able to speak to his caregiver in Seattle. His caregiver reported that he was mumbling for something, but no one understood what he was saying. They held the phone to the sick boys ear. He was not lucid enough to respond to his Grandmother's voice or to recognize that he was speaking to an Elder. He just continued his mumbling. (I so wish I could tell you what the boy was saying in his native tongue, but I am not a native speaker. )

His grandmother shouted, I know what he needs! I know! I know! He was asking for moose stew. In western society, many of rely upon our chicken soup for nourishment of body and soul. For Alaska natives, they need moose stew! The FDA had no approval process for aquiring or preparing moose in the hospital in Seattle. Back in the village, his family quickly set about preparing the stew for the boy. It was frozen in packages, and carried by a bush pilot flying to Anchorage. The pilot quickly and carefully sent the precious cargo to Seattle on the next available flight. The parcel was received by caregivers in Seattle, warmed and prepared for the boy, and brought to him as a special care package in the hospital. And he ate it! Just a bit at first, then more. Day after day, the boy's condition improved. He continued to eat his moose stew daily. (It was a good thing they had sent plenty of frozen meals!) His condition improved, and soon he was well enough to talk to Grandmother on the telephone again:

"Thank you for the moose stew, Grandmother. I was HUNGRY!"

Before long he survived his treatments and was able to return to Anchorage. He lived!

Based upon this and other accounts, the FDA has worked with the Alaska Native Medical Center to implement standards for acquision and preparation of many traditional foods. Moose stew is back on the menu!

Here is my caribou stew recipe card: Slow cooker caribou stew
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#2 teecee

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:22 PM

What a wonderful, heart warming story Jaymee! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the recipe!

#3 elibar

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:48 PM

Gave me a smile. Thanks!

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#4 AggieB

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 06:40 PM

Awww.. Thanks for sharing.

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#5 MariJ

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 06:49 PM

Very touching story, jaymee - I'd already commented on your recipe card before I saw this. So interesting and lovely. Thanks for sharing! :)

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#6 PBarnes

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:55 PM

What a wonderful story, Jaymee. Thanks so much for sharing it.

I had an interesting experience this fall. Our bagpipe band had their annual chili cook-off at the home of one of the members. One family brought chili made with moose meat. One of the drummers had recently moved his girlfriend to Omaha from Maine. She is Native American. She was nearly brought to tears to taste moose meat so far away from her home in Maine. :)

#7 Cheri T

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:44 PM

A very sweet and touching story!

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#8 Smoky

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:49 PM

This is such a sweet story! I felt so bad for the little boy, but I'm glad to know he turned out okay. I'm going to make the stew, but I'll have to substitute venison!

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#9 Belle

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 12:05 AM

Awesome story. Anybody know where I can find a moose.

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#10 luckyladybug

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:11 AM

What a wonderful story, Jaymee. Thanks so much for sharing it.

I had an interesting experience this fall. Our bagpipe band had their annual chili cook-off at the home of one of the members. One family brought chili made with moose meat. One of the drummers had recently moved his girlfriend to Omaha from Maine. She is Native American. She was nearly brought to tears to taste moose meat so far away from her home in Maine. :)


That is so wonderful to hear. Comfort food for body and soul!
I hope you enjoyed the chili!
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#11 Sara Arell

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:13 AM

What an amazing story, Jaymee! It made me smile this morning! Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful story with such a happy ending!
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#12 LaLo1103

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:18 AM

That was a very sweet story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

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#13 jenrou

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:18 PM

I enjoyed your story and value the card received in the swap. A lot of the old people, like my grandfathers, had remedies of food that really helped. When my dad was a boy he had some kind of high fever, really high, his hair fell out. Maybe yellow fever, since a lot of people had this, and they lived in a river area in TX.

Anyhow, my grandfather, very poor, didn't know what else to do, so he took him down on the river, and fed him fish, fish stew, and fried fish. My dad survived, whether the fish/protein worked or not. They stayed down on the river for a long time feeding him fish.

Thank you for the recipe card and the story. We grew up on venison, squirrels, fish, or whatever was available. My son still fills his freezer with venison every year, and the grandchildren like it.

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