by Krista Hessey
Dining at the Atlantic suited the occasion; the room was decorated with photos of beached whales and icebergs; crimson leather seats lined the walls. Huddled together in two long, communal tables we enjoyed a traditional Antarctic three-course meal.
We started off with a pan filled with heads of roast garlic and a braided loaf of bread to spread the warm, soft garlic cloves on. Then came a white bean and roasted garlic soup served with honey oatmeal bread. Second, was a traditional Russian ‘vinaigrette’—a salad composed of boiled vegetables (mainly, beets, potatoes), eggs, and cucumber, topped with sour cream and dill—lettuce doesn’t fair well in the Antarctic’s extreme climate. The simple, hardy salad emphasized the food culture and technology the citizens of the White Continent have at their disposal.
In her journals Trusler recalls buying provisions for the trip while communicating mostly through miming and hand gestures—thus, instead of a few lamb chops, they received a whole lamb—all of which was to be prepared in a battered shed, one wall lined with empty vodka bottles. Throughout the expedition Trusler recorded her experiments and recipes. She was feeding an international group and the recipes reflect that with everything from perogies, minestrone and fondue, to dumplings, cabbage rolls and biscotti.
“Once the weather gets warm the guys never stop cooking fish,” explained Trusler. “They would bring it to the generator room that had an electric hot plate. They would lightly flour the fish add salt and cook it quickly.”
For the main course Nathan Isberg cooked Ontario pickerel in the same way, just simply dredged in flour, well seasoned and fried in butter. He served it over a red cabbage confit.