28 November, 1998

Saturday evening, November 28, 1998

Man am I stuffed! I ate so much that my stomach is aching! Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with a huge feast: two kinds of turkey, a huge roast beef cooked to perfection, a dozen kinds of vegetables and casseroles, cranberry sauce, walnut fruit relish, rich chocolate cake, strawberry rhubarb pie, mashed potato with gravy, fresh salad with peppers and radishes.....It wasn't the same as being home for thanksgiving with the family but it sure was good for Antarctica. The fish group all ate together as we often do and it was fun just talking about movies and food and huge family gatherings.

Thanksgiving here is quite a to-do. So many people are back from the field stations that McMurdo is overflowing. Thanksgiving dinner is offered every hour from 3 to 7 and everyone had to sign up for a parcticular period to keep the lines down and the food from running out. The whole weekend people are celebrating. The ASA (Antarctic Support Associates) workers have two full days off as opposed to their normal one day off each weekend. A large number of volunteers sign up to help out in the kitchen to prepare for the feast.

How much food do you think it took to feed a Thanksgiving feast to 1300 people? Well I asked the kitchen people and here is what they said:

(Here is a perfect opportunity for you lower school kids to use your arithmetic skills.)

1050 lbs of turkey (at 20 lbs each, how many turkeys?)

450 lbs of mashed potato

45 gallons of turkey gravy (At 8 lbs per gallon, how much did this gravy weigh?)

80 lbs of peas and carrots

350 lbs of kumara (like juicy sweet potato)

500 lbs of roast beef

1220 portions of stuffing ( If 420 portions were

cornbread stuffing; what % is that?)

700 portions of broccoli

240 pounds of spinach for spinach salad

Each pie was sliced into 8 pieces; how many total slices of pie?

60 pumpkin pies

40 pecan pies

36 strawberry-rhubarb pies

36 apple pies

5 1/2 cases of hardboiled eggs with 30 dozen per case

(How many total eggs were eaten if only 15 were left over? Assume none were thrown away.)

130 dozen dinner rolls (and other breads). Total = ?

320 chocolate raspberry desserts

360 strawberry napoleans

280 peach tartlets

In addition there were lots of other foods that I didn't get the totals of, but this gives you an idea.)

Even though the ASA workers had time off, most scientists were working almost as hard as they do on normal days. Over the last couple days I caught up on my journal and e-mails, photographed some cells, worked in the dark room, photographed some of the specimens in the aquarium, counted cells, and photographed the skuas eating the mawsoni carcasses that were temporarily left outside the old aquarium after the last harvest of Antarctic Cod organs. (The mawsoni meat was served at one of the parties last night). In the aquarium is a new fish for the collection called the eel pout. It looks a lot like a large gray salamander without legs and it lives deep in the ocean, usually over 100 meters deep. Jim, from the other fish group, is studying their temperature tolerance to compare with the other fish that both fish groups are studying which are in a different fish family.

On Friday morning my family called me in the office in the middle of their Thanksgiving feast--my parents, 4 brothers and sister, and all their families. It was wonderful to be so easily connected with loved ones even in a remote place like Antarctica. It was great to hear their chatter and the clatter of dishes and silverware over the speaker phone.

But then it was back to work again. There is lots I still should do before I leave here on Tuesday. Monday will be my last day to do it. That gives me two more days. AAAARGH! I guess I'd better get going. I will do what I can and that's that. This might be my last journal entry before I return to New Zealand. We'll see. Until then....

I hope you have a good day and do something good for someone.

Fred Atwood



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