Writer Alexandra Redgrave was a guest at our ’roundtable’ Midwinter Dinner at the East Pole restaurant in March of this year in New York City. She wrote this article for en route magazine. It was great to have fellow adventurers, writers, scientists, an architect, a student, an Antarctic conservation leader and more around the table. We shared a fantastic meal inspired by our book and Wendy’s recipes, prepared by East Pole chef Nicholas Wilbur. Thanks also to Phil Winser for letting us enjoy the map room that showcases his father’s original early exploration maps, for our special New York Antarctic-inspired meal.
Best Served Chilled Souper Sur Glace
“At New York’s East Pole restaurant, where vintage maps cover the walls and a canvas sail soars across the ceiling above a long, candlelit table, writer Carol Devine and chef Wendy Trusler are sharing anecdotes about the Antarctic. For three months, the two women spearheaded a cleanup mission some 3,000 kilometres from the South Pole, managing a team of more than 50 volunteers at a Russian research station on King George Island. “In such unforgiving conditions, food equals survival, pure and simple,” Devine tells our small group of scientists, explorers and others gathered for dinner to celebrate the launch of The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning. “But it also serves as a community builder.”
…This constellation of kitchens, explains Trusler as we dig into tapenade-dusted radishes and roasted baby beets, borrows from each other’s cuisines like a neighbour would a cup of sugar, creating a mishmash of international dishes. In the book, her caipirinha features whisky and lemon rather than the usual cachaça and lime, as per the instructions of her friend Maxim the Russian glaciologist, who specifies using only Jim Beam or Ballantine’s – in a generous three-ounce pour, to boot. The more “local” recipes, like the Sea Cabbage Salad, feature a bare-bones list of ingredients: “clean, fresh water” and “living kelp” (since protected) collected along the shore, mixed with onion, garlic and mayonnaise. In her notes for the Asparagus Pâté, Trusler addresses the challenge of sourcing fresh produce with characteristic spirited pragmatism: Tinned asparagus “is every bit as decadent. No apologies.”