Giving Thanks

As it so often happens at McMurdo, work schedules don’t allow for observance of Thanksgiving ON Thanksgiving. Last year, our dinner was the Saturday after American Thanksgiving. This year, we celebrated on the Saturday before. We had tons of volunteers come in to help with preparations – not just for the big meal on Saturday but for the meals leading up to that day, which freed us up to focus on the big meal.

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For the Caribbean Cakes that were on the menu the day before Thanksgiving, Joe sorted out the fryer to fry at a lower temp by creating a “Jessa” setting. It feels a little odd to be thusly immortalized in the McMurdo galley:IMG_4930

For the actual Thanksgiving day meal, Brandon and I had been paired up to prepare the hams – all 575 lbs of them. Basically we just had to pull them out of their packaging, glaze them, and then portion them off to be heated through for each seating – the 1500, the 1700, and the 1900 – based on the size of each seating (the 1700 is always the biggest).IMG_4931

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Lisa and Ben worked on a giant steam kettle full of butternut squash soup.IMG_4932

And then my favorite part: at 1330, all of GSC sits down to our family meal. Scott Gilbert offered to carve turkeys and ham for us so we kitted him out with one of our swanky new black jackets for the occasion.IMG_4934

And we all gave thanks for being together, having jobs, and getting to experience this incredible place.IMG_4939

Mandy and I sharing some Bellingham love!

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Of course, after our meal comes my least favorite part – cranking through the three seatings with a full belly. This year, I was smart and only had half a glass of wine so I wasn’t feeling quite so sluggish for the evening. All in all, the galley prepared 600lbs of whole roasted turkey, 600lbs of sliced roasted turkey breast, 575lbs of glazed ham, 936lbs of mashed potatoes, 9 cases of FRESH green beans, and 33 hotel pans of stuffing, in addition to gallons and gallons of butternut squash soup, dozens of tempeh strudels and lentil loaves, more sweet potatoes that you can count, gravy galore, pies, tarts, mousses, and freshly baked bread rolls. And best of all, some of the New York Air National Guard came in to sweep and mop for us so that we could focus on putting away all the leftovers after the last seating and actually get out of there at 2000!! It’s a far cry from last year, let me tell you!

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In fact, we all felt so great afterwards that we got dressed up and went out for the night. Anyone else remember last year when I collapsed asleep on my floor? Yeah, not so this year! We toasted our culinary success, danced until our socks melted, and goofed around until the wee hours of the morning.

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Sure, brunch was a little rough this morning but the memories (some more hazy than others) make it totally worth it. So thankful to be here, now, and hoping all my friends and family celebrating next Thursday have as wonderful a night as we did.

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