Going to the Chapel (of the Snows)

I returned to my catering roots this past week when Shane, the Winter Supervisor, asked if I would help him cater a wedding reception. Yes, indeed, on the 16th of February, two souls working down here got hitched. Technically, weddings in Antarctica are not legally binding unions, and the couple will be having a “real” wedding back in the US over the (northern hemisphere) summer but this was a chance to celebrate with their Antarctican family, many members of which mightn’t be able to make it to the “real” wedding.

Brian, our Lead Baker, did a great job on the cake, even coming in on his day off to decorate it.

wedding cake

The food was mostly prepackaged frozen hors d’oeuvres: mini quiches, edamame shumai, bacon-wrapped scallops, and chicken skewers. But Shane also made some guacamole and tortilla chips from scratch as well as some beautiful beef kebabs. I put together some dipping sauces, including my hoisin barbecue sauce that Shane loves with the shumai (the last time I combined the two with soba noodles for an entrée, I eventually had to chase him away from my work station with a sharpening steel to keep him from eating all my prep).

quiches

scallops

chicken skewers

kebabs

I attach pictures of the food here but I confess: they’re taken from the following blog written by the photographer (who is also a dispatcher at the Antarctic Fire Department) – she includes more details about the wedding as well as pictures of the ceremony if you’re interested: http://victoriainvictorialand.com/2013/02/19/lets-have-bizarre-celebrations/ Obviously I was far too busy refilling water glasses and cutting the cake to take pictures.

In other news, I finally heard from our Travel Department yesterday! It turns out that they could indeed offer me a credit for my ticket back to San Francisco and, while they skewed the dates from what I had requested, it would cost less than $500 out of my pocket for the new ticket, which takes me around the world. Rather than engage in more back-and-forth to get the dates fixed, and risk the price going up in the meantime, I booked it.

So once I leave the Ice, I will be spending ten days in New Zealand, ten days in Australia, five days in Malaysia, five days in Viet Nam, and eleven days in England, returning to San Francisco in mid-April. Now I finally get to start making plans and booking things in all those places! I’ve never been to New Zealand and Australia – aside from the airports when I was flying down here – so I’m super excited, although I’m trying to be careful about what I book in New Zealand as my flight off the Ice can be delayed with no warning. Things like bad weather or mechanical problems can take days to clear so I need to book things that are fully refundable or changeable to accommodate any last minute delays. Still, it’s always fun to do some elaborate trip planning and it distracts me from all the goodbyes I’ve been saying recently, as well as the ones coming up soon.

Super Addictive Hoisin Barbecue Sauce

  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 16 cups hoisin sauce
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 6 cups sherry or rice wine
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of sesame oil

In a medium-large saucepan, heat the 3/4 cup of oil. Add the garlic and sauté. Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sherry/rice wine, ketchup, or rice vinegar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the sesame oil. Serve either hot or chilled.

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One response to “Going to the Chapel (of the Snows)

  1. I pretty much just read your whole blog! What an exciting journey you have had. I myself cook for a living, although I’m not the best I love doing it and learning new stuff. Annnnd I just applied for a job with that “Alaskan” company you have spoken about. I applied last year but with no avail. Hopefully I can sneak my way in there 2013/2014. Anyways, thanks for the awesome writing and pictures! Cheers!

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