Jul 18, 2006

SKAGWAY, Alaska: "We need to find you vegetables," Edward announces.

Host anxiety, I figure. But no, few greens are for sale in Skagway. After all, most tourists lumber into town on cruises, those movable buffets. Locals learn to shop on Wednesdays, following the supply ship.

Desperate, I grip a mummified bell pepper, some anemic spinach. "Maybe you'll get scurvy like the Gold Rushers," he offers. "I don't think tofu has many vitamins.

"You know, when push comes to shove, you'll eat the goat."

Maybe it's true: a remote village, someday, could slaughter its only nanny. And I might possibly be guilted into eating that stringy flesh. And playing polo with its head, like my friend Nick in Turkmenistan ... But I digress.

The emergency is not here, not today, in Alaska, where the main culinary obstacles are dirty plates and dead bees on the sponges to clean them.

"Buckwheat was gross," Ed yelps, shifting blame to his landlord.

"Buckwheat's been walking across the continent for six months. Are the insect carcasses that old?"

"Well, no," he admits. "I was away on assignment last week."

Gingerly, I swab a pan and fry some tempe.

Goathead never looked so good...

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