Tag Archives: beef in mcmurdo

Pretty things and some beef

These are photos from over the past month or so – things look a bit different now, as with the warmer weather (up to 32 today!) and massive amounts of daylight (the sun BLAZES into my room at 2:00 a.m.) things are rapidly melting and shifting, but they give a good feel of the place…

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View from Ob(servation) Hill a short walk from town. There are lots of crosses on hills here from the early 1900s.
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Looking towards Scott Base and THE Pressure Ridges – seems not right to capitalize them, but they are THE only ones we talk about on the regular here.
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Ice Runway a couple miles from town. That’s where I used to recreate almost daily – now it’s closed for the season in anticipation of the ice melting and giving way to open ocean and… PENGUINS! The new runway is a 14 mile trek on the permanent ice shelf on an often very squishy ice road – yesterday they banned light vehicles and only tracked vehicles and these jobbers – called Deltas – could drive out there. Will snap a more impressive shot of these monsters soon.
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Deltas and dirty melting snow
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Town from above. In a few short weeks we have lost all of the snow on the streets and it is nice and brown and dusty now. It snowed yesterday for a bit, but the sun came out today and melted the dusting away from the dust.
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View back towards Mt. Erebus – highly active volcano with a near constant plume of smoke billowing out of it.
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Science/ weather (?) equipment on the way down from Ob Hill
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Back at sea level, a gorgeous night for a midnight ski (not the greatest skate ski conditions however – see tire tracks).
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So pretty
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My head, Ob Hill and McMurdo in the background
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The next night, around midnight once again, I rode my bike out to the ice runway where I popped into the runway galley to say hi to a friend cooking up the midnight meal for the night shifters (we call them MidRats). The light was amazing.
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Gloves left in the runway restrooms, which are now 14 miles away, along with the galley, firehouse, control towers and all the other portable buildings on skis that support this little runway operation connecting us to the real world and scientists to their camps.
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I co-guided a Pressure Ridge tour
guide, dude
As evidenced by ice axe
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Seals – they always look dead. They’ll flap their little flippers sometimes, but mostly they just look dead. We had to detour around three of these dudes just off the path this night. Later this week I did actually see a seal propelling itself across the ice for the first time – impressive how fast those little flippers made all that warm blubber move!

Speaking of fat and meat and beef, after writing that last blog post I got to thinking about our beef situation. The next day I started taking pictures of every beef dish at every meal I attended in the galley. I’m still snapping away, always strapped with my camera during meal times. People don’t get why I’m taking pictures of the food and get a little weirded out about it. If they ask why I’m taking pictures of the food, I let them know I’m really only taking pictures of the beef, in all its many forms. Here are just a few of what will soon be hundreds. I have no idea what to do with all of these photos…
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Prime rib
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“Italian Style Beef Ribs!”
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All beef franks

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food in McMurdo!

Someone pointed out that theme of my blog is “a foodie on a bike” and I haven’t even mentioned the food here!

There are 800 people on station and the cooks prepare 4 meals a day for the population. That’s some high volume. I’ve never spent time in an huge volume kitchen like this and it’s awesome. The mixing bowls are gigantic, the flat-tops tip up to easily transfer food into hotel pans, there are many walk-ins – one dedicated just to thawing food – and on delivery day, when the galley receives the food order from the warehouse across the road, it comes on about 40 pallets and takes multiple people all day to sort and put away.

When I first arrived the most shocking thing to me was the lack of fresh vegetables. No veg that didn’t come out of a can or from the freezer existed. That was a shock. There was bad weather and very few flights for a couple weeks and the government was shut down and friends were getting sent home and everything was a bummer. Then one day, we got “Freshies.” Fresh fruit and vegetables. Lettuce and arugula and bananas and apples and onions and beets and bok choy. My friend Brent got sent home during the shut down, and when he found out he was returning asked if I wanted anything from home. Apples and some serious hand lotion – it is SO dry here. I racked my brain for more comforts from home that I was missing, but all I could think of was a perfect apple, and the thrill of chomping into that first fresh and crispy apple after so long without was just as great as I was hoping it would be.

Luckily, we’ve had regular flights for the past couple weeks and Freshies have been pretty consistent. I get excited when there are salad greens or new vegetables or fresh fruit that I haven’t seen for a while – we had fresh asparagus for the first time yesterday and roasted cauliflower for lunch today. YES!

Real eggs are something else that were lacking when I arrived. Since our first freshie flight, however, we’ve had the option to get up to 2 fried eggs per person every morning for breakfast. There are two egg cooks each morning serving up eggs how you like ’em with a selection of ingredients to toss into the mix. Breakfast is from 5:30 – 7:30 a.m. and I miss it most of the time. I work until about midnight or 1 a.m. every night, so I’ve recently just given up. Sleep is nice. We also just got a super duper quickie pizza oven a week ago and now have 24 hour pizza – that’s a bad idea. I love pizza. Now I can just eat cold pizza and an apple for breakfast in my dorm room. Perfect!

Our bakers are amazing and we have a different fresh-baked bread every day. They also make really tasty sweet stuff and I have told myself that I will only eat sweets on Wednesdays when they make a plethora of fresh-baked and delicious cookies. Then today they make something called a Princess Bar and I just can’t resist. I have two.

I’ve been eating a ton of meat. A beef lover over-ordered a few years ago and we’re working our way through something like 50,000 pounds of it. It’s on the menu for every meal in some shape or form. I rarely eat beef at home and here I am chowing it down when not faced with having to cook raw meat, or pay money for it or decide whether or not to order it from a menu. When it’s staring me in the face every meal I can only think of the juicy savoriness and my animal rights and GMO consciousness goes out the door. Yum.

We have an “ice cream” machine which produces a soft-serve product called Frosty Boy that is definitely not ice cream. We always have vanilla and another creative flavor. Currently Turkish Coffee. Before that was Mexican Chocolate and when I first arrived it was Pear and Bleu Cheese – that one took a while to run through. I don’t like Frosty Boy. It’s a favorite of the station to be sure, but it tastes too fake to me.

Milk – powdered.

Most of the cooks down here are professional chefs. Many have owned their own restaurants and run impressive kitchens. They do an awesome job keeping it fresh and switching it up, and the food keeps getting better as the season progresses. Some days however, it’s just not good. Or maybe I am just totally not in the mood for what is on the line. When that’s the case, I’ll make a Panini for myself instead. Not a bad option – sandwiches are my thing.

I have absolutely no food-related pictures. So here’s a pic of my roommate, Susie, doing a wheelie on the apron at the ice runway!

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