Thanksgiving at the Bottom of the Earth

19 Jan

Thanksgiving down here is a big deal!  And people can EAT!

We’d all planned on this huge and elaborate meal for the past three weeks and all crews (AM, PM, and Midrats) had been working overtime all week to prepare for the big day.  We also had some community volunteers throughout the week that helped with odds and ends and espcially helped with breaking down the whole turkeys.  It was a huge feat.  We had 800# of turkey to deal with.

McMurdo’s Turkey Day was celebrated on the Saturday following Thanksgiving so that the majority of the community could have a two day weekend.   There is a continental breakfast from 530-730 and brunch served from 9am-12pm and then the big meals. 

My day started later than usually, around 8:30am (normally I am at work by 4:30am) to begin to prepare for the three seatings we offered.  There was a 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm seatings to feed approximatly 1100 people.  It might seem a bit much, but dividing the population into thirds makes each meal very do-able!

The menu consisted of Roasted Turkey, Greenbean Casserole, Sweet Potato Souffle, Baked Potato Bar (with all the fixins), freshly carved Beef Tenderloin, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, a cheese platter of really yummy NZ cheeses, a huge assortment of truffles, creme brulee, pumpkin pie and cheesecake, and wonderful fresh baked rolls.  There was even special items for the vegetarians, a napolean with tofu, cous-cous, roasted red peppers and a few other things I can’t recall.

The day was extremely easy with the loads of volunteers we had doing miscellaneous activities around the kitchen (mostly the stuff we didn’t want to do!) and the fact that every cook was working.  There were a lot of people in the kitchen and not that much to do.  We often found time to lean and watch others until something inspired us to work.  It was a very chill day (no pun intended!).

We prepared all the food and sat down to a beautiful table at 1:30pm.  Instead of the 30 minutes we usually have for lunch, we had one whole hour to sit and enjoy our festive meal.  Thee was one long table for all 75 of us.  (That’s a really long table.)  It was really nice to share this special meal with the people and friends you work with. 

The day continued after our big meal with continuing to prepare for the three seatings.  Everything went extremely smooth throughout the remainder of the day.  We all worked really well together and were able to accomplish a great deal while still having an easy day. 

There were lots of compliments and comments of gratitude and thanks.  It was nice to be able to create and serve the community a really nice meal on this holiday.

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