During the week, Juneau's Garfield Katasse works for the state of Alaska. During weekends in the summer, he's often thinking about dough.
Katasse is known for his frybread. When there's a gathering during the summer, he's often under a tent, cooking big pancakes of frybread and serving up Indian tacos - a mix of bread, pinto beans, lettuce, tomato and cheese.
During Celebration 2004, he was camped out under a blue tent by KTOO. He will be over by the National Guard Armory, and in Douglas, during the Fourth of July weekend. He also plans on selling frybread during Gold Rush Days, the Kake Dog Salmon Derby and most Saturdays at Marine Park.
"People can smell it from far away," Katasse said Friday, as eight customers queued. "They know there has to be frybread around some place."
Thursday, Katasse sold out before 5 p.m. Friday, he expected to sell out before 4 p.m.
Katasse has been cooking frybead for years. The dish is a family affair. One sister, Grace Larson, covers Sitka. Another, Mary Miller, sells frybread in Petersburg.
"One of my nephews said he wants to learn how to do this," Katasse said. "I told him I'd teach him.
"People like their frybread nice and warm; that's why I make it fresh," he said. "The only thing I'm worried about is that they get a good piece of frybread. I just want to make sure they're happy with what they're getting."
Katasse has lived all over Southeast and New Mexico. He learned to make frybread during his stays on Apache, Pueblo and Navajo reservations in the Lower 48.
"They make them a lot different from the way they make them in Alaska," Katasse said. "The ones they have up here tend to be a little smaller. I try to make mine as big as I can get them.
"A lot of people put different stuff in theirs," he said. "Some people use yeast here in Alaksa, but I don't. I never have. I really don't want to let everybody know what stuff I put it in there. Everybody will be making frybread the way I make it."
Katasse said that he used 150 pounds of flour to prepare for Friday. He was on the verge of selling out, just after 3:20 p.m. The store-bought pinto beans are actually one of the hardest parts of the Indian tacos. He spends four hours cleaning them.
"You have to soak them for a long time to get them ready," he said.
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