Found in this comprehensive work aimed at serious travellers, explorers and survivalists - a letter about pemmican. The book is a two volume work, seemingly not transcribed at Google books, although it went through many editions: Hints to travellers: Organisation and equipment, scientific observations, health, sickness and injury. Edward Ayearst Reeves. (Royal Geographical Society, London, 1938.)
The typed letter headed What is pemmican? was a response to 'Questions & Answers' at the magazine Geographical of September 1998. It was sent in by one Alan Gurney from the Isle of Islay.
Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820), the first European to cross the full width of North America, described pemmican as the food used by North American Indians on their travels. It was made from dried and pounded caribou meat mixed with an equal proportion of melted caribou fat. The resulting mixture was then packed into bags, eaten, uncooked, on the march. This high calorie convenience food was adopted by the North American fur traders on their long cross country travels. Pemmican -- made from beef rather than caribou -- heated in a Nansen cooked former the famous "hoosh" of Arctic and Antarctic explorers. The Bovril company made a man-pemmican (about half protein and half fat) and a dog pemmican (two thirds protein and a third fat). JD Beauvais of Copenhagen made two mixtures. The "Knud Rasmussen" containing meat, rice, vegetable and fat, packed into tins. The Amundsen containing dried meat powder, vegetables and fat, all pressed into cakes and wrapped in foil. As to taste, Mackenzie said that "time reconciles it to the palate," and Gino Watkins said that "it kept the body twitching but not the soul".