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Ainu Traditional Livelihood - Daily Meals!

An example of a daily meal (Photo courtesy: Shinhidaka Ainu Museum)

Most daily meals usually consisted of soup and gruel. The types of soup included soup with edible wild plants, meat, fish and seaweeds. The soup, which usually contained a lot of ingredients, was cooked with salt and oil for seasoning. To make gruel, grains such as barnyard millet, proso millet, foxtail millet, rice and corn were cooked in a large amount of water. Dried alpine leek, the starch of Cardiocrinumcordatum, dried salmon roe, potatoes, beans and pumpkins were sometimes added to the gruel.

Special meals for festivities and rituals

Steamed grains, Rataskep, dumplings and home-brewed liquor were commonly prepared for festivities and such rituals as bear spirit sending, prayers to gods and house warming.

Feasts offered at rituals (Photo courtesy: Shinhidaka Ainu Museum)

Food Processing for Preservation

Dumplings made using Cardiocrinumcordatum

The food that Ainu obtained through hunting, fishing, gathering and farming was not only consumed immediately but were also stored as reserve food for the long winter period and in preparation of possible future food shortages. Edible wild plants were

processed for preservation especially from spring through summer, and besides the wild plants, cultivated crops, as well as fish, were also processed for preservation in fall.

Daces that were dried after they were grilled

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