The Native People of the temperate and northern regions of America developed a high-energy fast food that is easily transportable and long-storing. We know it as pemmican, or pimikan in the Algonquin languages. The term is derived from pimii, the Cree-Chippewa word for fat. This is quite appropriate labeling, because fat, a concentrated energy source, is the most important ingredient. The second part of this article contains a pemmican recipe.
We are all generally familiar with pemmican already, as it is basically sausage. It is a mixture of dried shredded or pounded meat, usually ungulate (Bison, Elk, Deer), and lard (solid rendered fat), usually ungulate also, which is combined and compressed into cakes.
Fat is the primary ingredient in a pemmican recipe because fat has nearly 2 1⁄2 times the energy of complex carbohydrates (which are starch, as found in grains and tubers), sugars or meat. This is important in travel and cold weather because a lot of energy is needed without overloading the system with bulky foods. Another benefit of fat is that it digests slowly, providing steady energy over a long period of time.
Don't forget the Pemmican
Somebody over at Nature Skills describes what Pemmican actually is and tells you how good it is for you. Not a lot of people know this, but Scott's expedition suffered miserably from indigestion - a direct result of a dreadful diet of ship's biscuit, butter and Pemmican. So the advice given at Nature Skills should be treated with a great deal of caution:
Posted by Wrinkled Weasel on Tuesday, November 30, 2010