Special invited guest at Scott Base

18 Oct

A few weeks back, I was casually working at McMurdo’s Coffeehouse to meet more of the community and stay connected with my peeps.  During the night, three folks came in from Scott Base, the New Zealand base that is about 1 1/2 miles down the road and our only neighbors.  I met three great people; Doug, Cricket, and Diana.   Cricket, from the US, and Diana, from Canada, are part of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust group that are down here to help restore and repair some of the historical huts.  Doug is from the South Island of New Zealand working with Cricket and Diana to assist them in their work.  The group was heading out the next morning for Happy Camper (recall from last year the fun and excitement of camping on feet of ice and snow).  The weather was pretty cold and I gave them some tips from my experience and told them to come back and report their findings.

About two weeks later, they returned to the Coffeehouse and I just happened to be working.  We chatted about their adventures while camping on the ice and how much fun they had staying warm and eating dehydrated foods (hint: this is sarcasm).  They were grateful for the advice and decided to invite me to join them at Scott Base for dinner the following week.  How could I turn that down?

I hiked over the hill (even though I thought I was going to blow away since it was so windy) and met Doug, Cricket, and Diana for a fabulous dinner and evening of entertainment and education. 

The following was the menu:  Seared Venison with Mushroom Demi Glace, Au Gratin Potatoes with Fresh Spinach and Cream, Pickled Cabbage,  and Broccoli and Green Beans.  Dessert was a rolled Pavlova (a delicious treat of meringue filled with fruit and custard) and a fresh Cappuccino.

The food was amazing as was the company and conversation.  I learned more about what Doug does to help support the  special projects at Scott Base, and more details about what Cricket and Diana are doing while they are deployed down here. 

Following dinner, we all helped to clean up.  Then I was able to meet Bobbi, the winter chef from New Zealand.  She was just as cute a button and a phenominal chef.  She gave me a tour of her kitchen and all of her supply areas.  It was amazing to see how another base runs their food service program.  Since Scott Base can hold less than 100 people, the size of everything was so dramatically smaller, and so very well organized and clean.  Maybe I could work there next to try my hands at cooking for a smaller population for change (as this year we are expecting to hit over 1300 people.  YIKES!)

It was closing time and I headed back with two other McMurdians via four-wheel drive.  It was much warmer and faster.   A great night with great food and great people.  I am so pleased that I have some new friends.  Who knows what this connection could lead?

*For more information about the work Cricket and Diana are doing, check out their website: www.nzaht.com.  Click on Antarctic Blog to see what artifacts they are working with.  It’s pretty cool stuff!

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