2 women set out on territory-wide journey for Nunavut's char and seal recipes

A trip to Rankin Inlet led to the opportunity to travel the territory collecting recipes for two women, who will serve as publishing consultants for a new cookbook for Nunavummiut and by Nunavummiut.

The hope is the project will help support the fishing and sealing industries in Nunavut

Dana VanVeller, left, and Lindsay Anderson are seeking char, turbot and seal recipes from Nunavummiut for a Nunavut cookbook. (Edible Road Trip)

Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller plan to visit every region in Nunavut — all in search of some hearty seal, char and turbot recipes.

The two already visited Iqaluit, Clyde River and Pangnirtung, where they also attended a community feast.

"People love to talk about food so once we start talking about food, we find the conversation rolls quite easily," said Anderson.

The women, hired as publishing consultants, are collecting stories and recipes from Nunavummiut to create a cookbook, a Government of Nunavut project.

After, the government will help distribute the cookbooks for free across the territory.

It's a project to help support the fishing and sealing industries in Nunavut by increasing local demand for the products, says Jade Owen, spokesperson for Fisheries and Sealing.

"The possibilities for a cookbook on country food, or food in general from the North [are] endless," said Owen, adding that the cookbook will credit all contributing Nunavummiut, who will have ownership of their published recipes.

"It's not necessarily gonna look like a Jamie Oliver cookbook or something like that. It'll be something tailored a bit more to the region," said VanVeller.

VanVeller (left) and Anderson in Iqaluit. (Submitted by Qupa Mike)

The cookbook will not only highlight recipes, but also the stories of the land and the people who submitted it.

"The food here is unique, so the book should be unique," added Anderson.

Opportunity arises after cross-country project

It was during a cross-country project Anderson and VanVeller completed in 2013 when they first found out about the Government of Nunavut project.

"The two of us did a road trip across Canada. And our goal was to seek out and share interesting stories of Canadian food culture," said Anderson.

They travelled to all 10 provinces and the three territories and produced a book with 114 recipes.

"We went to Rankin Inlet on that trip, and it was somebody that we met there that recommend us to work on this project," said Anderson.

A Fisheries and Sealing staff member living in Rankin Inlet recommended Anderson and VanVeller after seeing their work.

So far, they've received quite a few variations of seal stew recipes.

"Somebody said, 'My mother liked to put a cup of seal blood in,' or somebody else said, 'We like to add seaweed to ours,'" said Anderson.

They encourage anyone that's interested to contact them with stories, recipes, and ways to cook the country food.

"It doesn't have to be fancy or revolutionary," said Anderson. "We're just happy to hear stories."

Both women hope to visit more communities across Nunavut for recipes in the coming months "to represent as much Nunavut as possible," said VanVeller.

To contact them, email


  • This story has been updated to clarify VanVeller and Anderson's roles in the project. A previous version of this story stated the pair were responsible for the original idea and are partners with the Government of Nunavut, however, the two are hired as publishing consultants on the project, which was designed by the territory's Fishing and Sealing division.
    Nov 27, 2017 4:31 PM CT

With files from Michelle Pucci