Nourishing recipes from the coldest continent

by ABCCmain on February 20, 2014

‘The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning’: Nourishing recipes from the coldest continent”  by Laura Brehaut (check out for Pollo Relleno and Spiced Tea recipes!) – appeared online in 10+ major Canadian newspapers including The Montreal Gazette, The Ottawa Citizen, The Edmonton Journal, The Vancouver Sun and many more.


Wendy Trusler had cooked for many hungry tree planters in the Canadian boreal forest; she knew how to feed people under the constraints of remote locales. Her work in the bush had shown that, in the right hands, food can be a nourishing morale booster that goes well beyond mere survival. As it turned out, Trusler, also a visual artist and food stylist, had just the skills Carol Devine was looking for in an Antarctic expedition cook.

Devine, a Toronto-based humanitarian, led the 1995/6 Russian-Canadian environmental cleanup expedition to Bellingshausen – a Russian research station on the 90 per cent glaciated King George Island of the South Shetland Islands (120 km off the Antarctic Coast). Several volunteer groups journeyed to Antarctica over an austral summer (December to March), brought by the Canadian conservation group VIEW Foundation (Volunteer International Environmental Work), and the Russian Antarctic Expedition (RAE).

With Antarctic adventure tourism company owner Sam Blyth, Devine created VIEW as a venue for volunteer visitors to participate in environmental cleanup. The project offered travellers the rare opportunity of not just stepping foot on the continent, but doing volunteer work there, and sleeping and eating at ‘Canada House.’ With emphasis on the eating, Trusler and Devine documented that summer in The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning(Vauve Press, 2013), which combines their journal entries, photographs, essays and more than 40 of Trusler’s recipes…

The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning by Wendy Trusler, left, and Carol Devine pictured at Merchants of Green Coffee in Toronto Photo: Christopher Lewis/For Postmedia News, left, and Vauve Press

Then there’s the recipe for the famous, or infamous, Honey Oatmeal Bread (Wendy Bread), which is also the base of Trusler’s Fruit Nut Ring, Cinnamon Buns, and All-In Pizza recipes. The bread, which is braided and should be pulled apart using one’s hands, caused quite a stir among Canada House’s hosts and neighbours. “At one stage Wendy’s bread became so famous that one of the Chilean wives was like, ‘Basta! [Enough!] Wendy, Wendy, Wendy!’ The bread kind of took over,” Devine says with a laugh. Trusler adds, “It was funny. That bread did have a life of its own – beyond the yeast.”

Trusler’s recipe yields reflect the reality of expedition life as well – they feed a crowd. For example, her recipe for White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup makes enough for 10 to 12 people. “I’ve had people say, ‘Why didn’t you pare the recipes down to serve four?’ and I had this conversation with my mom and she said, ‘Why would you make soup for four people?’” Trusler laughs. “That’s my point as well. Even though it’s my husband, my son and I, I always make soup for at least 14 with the idea that it’s going to carry me into the week or I can freeze some, which is what I did down there. I would make a bunch of soups and freeze them; we didn’t have plastic containers so I cut the lids off of plastic water bottles and inverted them so I could have different soups.”


photo Sandy Nicholson

A Big Dead Place

by ABCCmain on February 16, 2014

A Big Dead Place  nods to The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning

This site is dedicated to Antarctica and to thinking about Antarctica.

It’s edited by Nicholas Johnson, formerly known under the pseudonym F. Scott Robert.

Though most of the site is original, some of it is excerpted from the book Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica, published by Feral House