We had a great surprise in the galley the other day.
Freshies, as you know by now if you’ve been reading this blog, are a hot commodity at Pole. In a place with temperatures that never (at least this year) rise above 0 F and a massive shortage of water, there is very little opportunity (or space for that matter) to grow fruits and vegetables. There is a small “Growth Chamber” where they have rows of lettuce and some small herb plants, but beyond that, there’s not much growing here (not to say it’s not a great operation. Last winter they had fresh lettuce everyday). So when we get fresh fruits and vegetables in (and other items that need to be refrigerated but can not be frozen such as fresh cream instead of powdered milk, good cheese instead of the crap American and Provolone that they do freeze and most importantly of all, eggs) the station’s population is happy. Bowls of fruit are placed on the food line and everyone grabs one or two pieces. Salads are tasty for a few days and breakfast is what I want it to be again (believe me, there’s a big difference between real eggs and pasteurized egg product in a bag).
Two days ago though, the galley staff was given a special treat though. For some reason that I was never able to get, the load masters on one of the planes brought in 10 bottles of real whole milk for us. Now, I know that at home that’s a lot of milk, but in a place where the kitchen feeds 250+ people four times a day, that’s nothing. That’s not even enough for a recipe let alone to share with the whole station. So when Carol told me that the Load Masters brought us milk, I knew that by us, she meant the galley staff.
So did the rest of the galley staff from the looks of things. At around 3 pm, once word got through the kitchen, everyone who was working gathered for a milk and chocolate brownie break and literally could not talk for a few minutes. I don’t usually drink real milk instead opting for soy milk because the real stuff makes my stomach feel a bit odd if I have too much, but I’m not stupid. Being almost three months into this experience, I am well aware of the value of being offered any real, unprocessed, non-canned, non-frozen foodstuff and wouldn’t even turn down fresh cauliflower at this point (as long as it’s cooked).
Suffice it to say, it was the best dam brownie and glass of milk I ever had. As you can see, when you’ve been at the South Pole for this long, it doesn’t take much to get us feeling good.
The Galley crew didn’t drink all the milk. We know the privlage we get of having first choice of freshies that come in and we try really hard not to abuse it (I do have to take the chance to grab a satsuma or mandarin if they come in) so with the extra milk, we put out a call to all the folks who are wintering to come by the galley and drop the appropriate code word. Those crazy folks need it more than we do. At this point, I’ll be off the ice in about 3 and half weeks and can have any dam thing I want. Those poor fuckers though are going to be stuck here till October at least (in most cases, they can’t leave till November some time) and will have nothing that isn’t already here by that point. If I could, I’d mail them freshies because, let me tell you, just this long without ready access to fresh fruit is hard enough.
(now you know one of the reasons I wouldn’t winter here)