"How to Make a 5,000-Year-Old Energy Bar" Discussion

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Be careful to use enough lard in the mix, especially if you intend to use the pemmican as your primary food source. The 1913 Karluk polar expedition lost several crew members to nephritis after they were forced to abandon their ship when it was crushed in the ice near Wrangel Island. The crew managed to get several tons of Hudson’s Bay Co.-manufactured pemmican ashore with them, but it had been made with too much lean meat and not enough fat, and the excess nitrogen burned out their kidneys. The pemmican ws the only food they had available for several months.

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this sounds like a great thing to be able to make, but what if one does not eat lard? it is pig, after all…maybe it does not go rancid? what about beef suet? or olive oil? or schmaltz? (good old chicken fat) …or what could be used?

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Overall this was an interesting article and I would like to attempt the recipe. However I think it important to point out that the near extinction of north american bison had nothing to do with a lust for pemmican, as the article suggests. Rather it was an intentionally genocidal policy of the US government to destroy native peoples. Most of the bison killed was not in fact eaten, much less turned into pemmican but left to rot where it fell.

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Actually i think it was worse than that. white guys with very efficient guns shot hundreds of buffalo
and took the hides to sell and left the rest to rot. also as a way to do the natives out of their
anscestral “supermarket”–they would use every bit of course…btw…how do you make chokecherries palatable? the seed would have to come out to make pemmican? it is big and always makes you want to choke when you eat them!

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I am also wondering about the lard part, considering that I dont think they had domesticated pigs, perhaps they are referring to beef tallow ?

Beef was brought over in the Columbian exchange too. From the article:

Archaeological evidence suggests that as early as 2800 BC humans hunted the bison that roamed North America’s Great Plains and blended their meat, fat, and marrow into energy-dense patties with a serious shelf-life.

So, originally bison fat.

I read your article on making a 5,000-year-old energy bar. It’s completely bogus; everybody knows that this stuff has a shelf life of only 2,500 years.

The line about “overhunting wiping out buffalo” is naive. Lincoln created the Homestead Act to steal Native lands, then authorized Sherman to intentionally slaughter buffalo with gatling guns from the new cross continental train track to help wipe out the primary source of Native food. To quote Sherman, " *Let them kill, skin and sell, until the buffalo is exterminated as it is the only way to allow civilization to advance." Grant continued the program after Lincoln’s death.

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Good article, thank you. I would like to add, BC is not the scientific form for demarcating time, BCE (Before Current Era) is. Thanks for the interesting history and recipe!