Wendy’s home smells great when Sandy and I walk in the door after our drive from Toronto. There she is in the kitchen busy prepping for the summer shoot. Wendy had already made three beautiful and different fruit nut rings that were ready on her dining room table. I knew I’d have to wait until after the shoot to taste any of them. I think her son and the neighbourhood mobilizes too for some goodies when it’s an Antarctic Book of Cooking & Cleaning shoot week.
Wendy said she wanted to wrap one up of the fruit nut rings for us to take back to our designer and team, The Office of Gilbert Li. Gilbert admitted he knows the perfect microwave time now to warm up her bread and baked goods.
Today was also a lamb ribs shoot and a few other recipes we shot indoors and out.
How different Wendy, Cam and Fin’s big backyard looked without the snow. Green and lush. There next to Wendy’s studio was a wild rabbit hopping about as Sandy prepped for shooting the gorgeous purple cabbage dish.
I’m amazed sometimes that in the Antarctica Wendy made meals like this with ribs, green beans, stuffed onions with apricots, fresh bread and braised cabbage. The wine was of course Argentinean. The dessert: well I can’t give it all away. Wendy shows what you can do pretty much anywhere, depending on determination and ingredients. Sharing and trying new recipes from others was only one of her diplomatic coups. Here’s a sneak peek with some photo outtakes.
Another highlight of this shoot was photographing items from Wendy’s treasure trove: expedition badges and stamps, her original day plans, handwritten recipes she collected from other bases including South-American Humitas and from volunteers such as BBQ Port Tenderloin from volunteer Fred from Anchorage Alaska.
In another project I am working on we are looking at the power of touch therapy–that is physically holding objects from one’s past or from a context one is familiar. Museums in the UK, Canada, Japan, China and now Africa promote the value of touch and object handling. All this is possible when you have meaningful things to hold such as the many diverse items and international gifts Wendy carried. Those gifts she left behind she did so mindfully. I love the items our Russians friends created and gave us, especially the envelope for our expedition.
Wendy has a lovely old suitcase filled with items she collected brought back from King George Island. From it we took a large piece of craft paper, the original flour bag from Argentina and used it in the fruit nut ring shoot.
I’m going to miss this part of the book-making as we wrap up. Food conjures memories. It’s wonderful being with Wendy as she shares with us about how she learned about or prepared a Goulash dish and with whom she ate it that night at the bottom of the world. We discuss and reminisce about the meaning and challenges of the work back then and its significance now. Fundamentals like people who seemed to really get the most out of the experience of hand-picking garbage in the Antarctic saw the importance in small things and didn’t expect green salad each meal.
There will be more shared meals I can foresee, for one reason or another, and likely with an Antarctic dish or two. I made Wendy’s honey oatmeal bread in Australia in July and it was a huge hit. You don’t get that recipe, yet.
For more recipes, expedition stories, Antarctic cultural history and tips on cooking and cleaning, please stay tuned for our upcoming Antarctic Book of Cooking & Cleaning. Many thanks to those already supporting us.