Duck Soup

Have you heard someone say, “That was easy as duck soup!” Where did that saying come from? It is attributed to one of the tens of thousands of gold seekers who swarmed Alaska (a District of the United States, not yet a territory) during the 1896-1899 Klondike Gold Rush. Alaska was (and still is) a wild and often inhospitable place to live. The Gold Rushers had to adapt to local native food and shelter habits. One of those native habits was to shoot a duck at every opportunity and make a meal of soup out of it.

Web search “traditionalanimalfoods.org” to understand that the different Native American Tribes of Alaska have distinct recipes on how to prepare duck soup. It may be that the Gold Rushers failed to notice, or it could be that it is easier to say Duck Soup rather than to distinguish between “Duck Soup Coast Salish” or “Duck Soup a la Mistissini Cree.” The Inuit people “liked thick duck soup. The duck’s insides, head, and feet were used to thicken the broth.” Yum!

The Gold Rushers who came to Alaska came from all stations of life and they were not all Americans. By the late 1800’s many people lived in cities, and they had forgotten the ways of their tribal ancestors. Practicality, tradition, and techniques on how to acquire and prepare wild food are benchmarks which natives use to survive. The Gold Rushers literally penetrated deep into the interior of Alaska, usually following rivers to their sources, and if they failed to get food or shelter, bears, wolves, and other wild animals would not miss their chance to make Duck Soup out of them.

The natives remembered the often-told stories and had first-hand experience with seeing loved ones starve, succumb to cold, or be lost in the wild as they tried to provide for their family. They knew their traditions, who they had been and who they were as a people. Admire them for their tenacity. Don’t criticize them for making soup with duck innards. Web search Jeremiah 29:11.

God has a plan for you. Probably, you seeking gold in dangerous places and eating duck soup along the way are not benchmarks in his plan. So, how do you learn what is his plan, and will you make it your family tradition to follow that plan? It begins when you pray to God. Ask him. Conclude your prayer with “in Jesus’ name,” and you will surely have his grace in your life.

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By Scott Gates