The 2011 Solstice Feast

Right before the summer solstice holiday weekend WAIS was hit, yet again, but another big blizzard that actually took down a tent or two.

Saturday morning, the day of the feast, the clouds began to part. WAISees stretched their muscles and minds for it was going to be a long, hard day of sunshine and shoveling topped with late night festivities.

Whether by machine or hand it is our duty to level the dunes around camp. It seems like half the job here is science; the other half is shoveling.

Reconstruction of the outdoor pee pyramid.

For lunch Chef Russ got behind the grill to burn up some burgers.

Considering that I had all my holiday feast prep finished I went ahead and began prepping for Sunday's brunch and Monday's breakfast. The rest of the camp may get the weekend off, but cooks never do. We work tirelessly and endlessly to pretty much make holidays what they are... a time to sit down together as a family and have a feast.

Cooks are the gluten in your bread, the cream in your coffee, the plate the fuels modern day civilization and it's research projects.

Skipping ahead a couple days... this is what I had planned for Monday's bfast.

Expanding waisbands? Don't blame me... I just cook the stuff... don't mean you have to eat it. But, it sure does taste good ;-)

Kho dee (Thai) = good island.

Most of the WAIS staff worked until 3 PM on Christmas Eve. After work, they put the newly groomed ski hill to use. South Pole has a giant ski hill in spring from all the summer camp dozing... Scott Base has their own private skill hill... we should do the Extreme Antarctic X Games sometime eh? Kite boarding, skiing, mountain climbing, snowmobile races, trick ski high jumps... it's all here waiting to be organized.

The g-unit galley.

A gingerbread representation of ^ I didn't make the houses, but I made the dough.

Once showerd and chilled a few goodfellas came to the kitchen to help out. "Cody, if I have to cut another carrot... " - Papa X-RAY.

"Oh, I love making sugar cookies!" - Dean.

"SUGAR!!!" - The dish girl.

Speaking of sugar, here's a candy platter Cait and I put together. Mint fudge, nutty peanut butter fudge balls, cashew brittle and Caitlin added her chocolatey peanut butter balls and apricots dipped in chocolate.

Time to get the show rolling. Oven on, flames high, knives flyin... let's do this!

Rendering the duck before finishing it in the oven and glazing it.

A mashed potato, beet and mushroom medley.

Russ'el's beef wellington.

Peach's langosta.

The apps. Baked brie, crostinis, pate platter, caramelized onion and goat cheese tarts, fruit cups, calamari with garlic aioli and a big bowl of grapes.

Salads and bread.

The meat line. Beef wellington, maple glazed duck and lobster. Aside to the mashed tators we also had roasted root veggies, braised cabbage, cranberry stuffing, a raspberry duck sauce, cranberry sauce and turkey gravy.

Pre-dinner toast.

"Yum." - Psycho

One of the newly arrived core handlers brought in 120,000 year old ice cores from a nearby glacier that were later constructed into drinking glasses.

Can't tell if it's the pink lemonade or mammoth sweat I'm tasting. Did I just drink ancient history?

This guy.

We played the white elephant gift ceremony. Everyone picks a number, start with 1 and move up, when your # comes up you can choose to steal an already opened present or open a wrapped one. Best to be a later number. I got a bottle of red wine by randomly picking a wrapped package. I don't like red wine, but I will cook with it. Should have stole the little stuffed penguin for my sister that someone had already opened.

Next day, Sunday, I put brunch out then went to tent city to do some serious digging. Looks like the weather is going to be sunny and 85 F (more like 35 F, but feels like 85 F) over the next week. Before another storm hits, I need to re-examine and re-engineer the architecture of my tent wall system. See, the deal is this, I built a giant wall but it is about 6-feet away from my tent. This leaves a 6-foot wide by 8-feet high/deep cavity that fills with snow and since it can't blow anywhere once trapped inside the wall it fills vertically putting more tension on the less supported parts of my tent. The experiment I'm working on now is to create a snow terrace, made up of 3 or more trenches and hopefully that will allow for the snow to fill in before it reaches the core. Somewhat like the inverse of a rice terrace that distributes rain down. I want to distribute snow up and out before it reaches my tent and the big tent wall around it. If only I built an igloo from day 1...

Shoveling the staircase to the watchtower.

One of the 3 outside terraced trenches completed.

At the watchtower awaiting another CON 1. Bring it on.