Thanksgiving is totally my favorite holiday, mostly cause it revolves around food. And even despite being at the bottom of the world and having limited access to fresh foods, we throw a pretty amazing dinner. One amazing part of being such a small community is that we all come together to make the South Pole feel a little more like home, which is especially important on the holidays when you’re 9000 miles away from your family.
We decorate the galley with Christmas lights and block out the midnight sun for a little mood lighting. The stewards drag the linens, nice napkins and table runners up from storage and we even risk lighting a few candles to up the intimacy (which is already tenfold higher than normal due to the yule log dvd playing on the scroll.) Members of the community volunteer to set the tables, serve wine and even do tableside pie service.
With 150 people to feed we had to do two separate seatings of 75 a piece, so it felt a little more like a big family gathering than 150 stranger crammed into a cafeteria would feel like. I got to sit with my two favorite stewards, Mike and Zoe and at one point in time laughed so hard that turkey gravy spewed out my nose.
Here is Big Country and Ian Charles creeping behind some utensils, monitoring the flow of people/turkey. While the rest of the station gets this day off, the fine folks in the galley have been working for days and put in a full 9 hours (or more) on the day of the festivities, but we’ll get an extra day off sometime next week when the schedule permits. Its fun to make everyone so happy on a holiday that tends to make folks homesick, so it’s totally worth it.
Now let’s talk food. 11 turkeys (4 fried, 5 smoked, 6 roasted.) 75 pounds of potatoes. 12 loaves worth of stuffing. 4 #10 cans of green beans. More marshmallow covered sweet potatoes than you could shake a stick at. Hundreds of croissants. And no less than 30 pies (apple, pecan and pumpkin.) I ate till I was sick, as made evident by Turkey-Henge pictured below.
So you can see that despite being at the coldest, driest, most remote human outpost on earth, we still know how to celebrate Thanksgiving. Bill Coughran, station manager, even started out the feast by saying “Congratulations for being at the South Pole on Thanksgiving,” which sounds sort of silly but it definitely is an adventure worth being thankful for.