I introduced you to one of the buildings in McMurdo Station a couple days ago, Building #1, the Crary Lab. While there are absolutely important and vital events occurring at Crary every single day, there is one building I give higher importance to in this town, Building 155. Building 155 is the hub of this community- there are living quarters, finance, housing, and recreation offices, a computer room with internet access, a craft room, the store, and most importantly, the galley. The amazing chefs, bakers, prep cooks, dining assistants, and supervisors that keep the people of McMurdo happy by keeping our bellies replete with delicious food are so tremendously appreciated by myself and the rest of the Town. The galley serves four meals a day- breakfast, lunch, dinner, and "mid-rats," or midnight rations, for those who work the night shift. You could say the people of McMurdo revolve our lives around our meals.
The forethought that goes into putting out a meal for 1000 people, let alone 4 meals a day, for the 6th months of summer, and for 250 people daily during each meal in the 6th months of winter is astounding. Think of it. There are no grocery stores, no mega-marts of any kind, no farms growing fruits and vegetables. All the food we eat at McMurdo is imported from New Zealand or the United States. Also, the galley cannot realize that they are out of a certain item and expect a delivery the next day- sometimes weather stops planes from making it to Antarctica for days so the people in charge of ordering the food plan months in advance and always make sure there is more than enough for us all.
Our bakers seem to have a never-ending book of recipes. They bake many different kinds of fresh loaves of bread every day, as well as cakes, pies, cobblers, cookies, macaroons, and other delicious desserts.
"Freshies," fresh fruit and vegetables are huge treats for everyone at McMurdo. We do not get freshies delivered on every flight that makes it into McMurdo, so when there are huge bowls of salad greens people pile their plates high.
The regular "laws" of food do not seem to apply down here. I see many people trying new and interesting combinations of food that are, most of the time, very successful in their deliciousness. Today, I was one of those people. For lunch I had a sandwich, but not just any old sandwich, this one was on fresh multi-grain bread. The spreads were a lime-cilantro mayo and an apricot spread. Fresh sliced ham, Swiss cheese, and freshies- lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, completed the masterpiece. Before living in McMurdo, I never would consider apricots, lime, cilantro, Swiss cheese and ham to appease my taste buds at all, but my taste buds have proven me wrong! My friend Travis, was just as adventurous in his dinner selection tonight- an omelet full of veggies, a pasta salad with chicken and peas, and a freshies salad with mushrooms and homemade cilantro vinaigrette- sort of a breakfast/lunch/dinner combo all on one plate. He was certainly happy with his choices.
Desserts are incredible here, but sometimes I just want something nice and simple, that is when I turn to Frosty Boy. Frosty Boy is our soft-serve ice cream machine and has quite a huge following in the community. I think that if Frosty Boy were ever to break (which I know will never happen) the people of the Town would pool their money together to fly down the top Frosty Boy mechanic to get our machine up and running again. I love that ice cream is such a necessary part of the diet of McMurdians when we are living in one of the coldest places in the world.
When finished with a meal all plates, trays, silverware, napkins, and the like are gathered off the table and taken to the dishwashing area. Food scraps are sorted from napkins. Forks, knives, and spoons are all plunked into labeled bins of soap and water. Plates and bowls end up in other bins of soap and water, while cups are put into crates. Then the most vital group of galley employees, the Dining Assistants, or DAs, give everything a good spraying and run them through the dishwasher. Thank you DAs for cleaning up after the whole community! You all rock!