Iqaluit residents learn to make fresh palaugaaq

Free drop-in activities held weekly at Sylvia Grinnell Park

Sweet bannock bakes on the stovetop at Sylvia Grinnell Park. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

By Emma Tranter

Susie Naulaq’s mother taught her how to make bannock, or palaugaaq as it’s known in Inuktitut.

The first results were not terribly appetizing.

“My first bannock was a rock,” she says with a laugh.

Naulaq is sharing the story with nearly 30 people packed into the small pavilion at Sylvia Grinnell Park in Iqaluit Tuesday afternoon to watch her make the fried dough.

  • People gather at Sylvia Grinnell Park to learn the basics of making bannock as part of the Government of Nunavut's "Learn to" series of weekly events this summer. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

The gathering is part of the Government of Nunavut’s weekly “Learn to” summer series in the park, where people can drop in for free to learn new skills.

All the ingredients Naulaq needs are spread out on the table in front of her: flour, baking powder, lard, salt, sugar and skim milk powder.

Naulaq and a member of the audience prepare two types of bannock. The first is a fried bannock, to which Naulaq adds a heaping handful of salt and only a pinch of baking powder.

“Too much baking powder gives you heartburn,” she says.

She mixes the ingredients slowly at first, using her hands. As the dough begins to take shape, she rolls it into small balls.

She pokes a hole in each bannock ball and puts a few in a pot of hot oil on a camping stove. After a minute or so, she flips each piece. After another minute, she take them out.

It’s clear Naulaq has come a long way since making her first bannock. The dough is soft and browned to a slight crisp all the way around.

The first batch is eaten up before it barely has a chance to cool. People slather peanut butter and jam on the freshly fried dough.

The second recipe is a sweet bannock with raisins, which Naulaq flattens into a shallow frying pan to bake on a wood stove.

This type of bannock will take longer, she says. Eager participants sit by the fire to watch the dough rise slowly as the fire crackles away.

While the sweet bannock is left to bake, participants are treated to cups of traditional tea.

Caroline Ipeelie-Qiatsuk, the event’s organizer, lays out three types of dried tea leaves: blueberry, bearberry and Labrador tea.

“The most preferred is blueberry. It helps with stomach aches,” she says.

The “Learn to” activities take place at Sylvia Grinnell Park every Tuesday from 1:15 to 3 p.m. and the first Saturday of each month until Aug. 19.

The next activity will teach participants to make pitsi, or dried fish.

The full schedule can be found here.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by uvanga on

    how do employees get time off to attend these during employment hours? is it approved annual or IQ day? it is the same when the legislature sits and some of the same are there for example too.

  2. Posted by envy-er on

    I envy those who attends those kind of trainees. Maybe we should take traditional day off with pay. Looks sooo delicious especially when you cook it outdoors ehhh?

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