Sun, What Sun? Fuhgeddabout it!

This post should be of particular interest to those of you who always complain that I never have people in my photos, just expansive, empty landscapes (as if that was a bad thing). Today I’m featuring photos with people exclusively, with not a wisp of fog or piece of rock to be seen.

This post should also be of interest to those of you who have wondered what I would look like with a mustache, but perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let us begin with a brief review. Remember these happy, excited people? Here’s a shot of the galley crew back in early March, on the day of the Final Flight (remember you can click on a photo to “embiggen” it):

Winter 2012 McMurdo Galley Crew, March 2012

And here’s a shot of those same folks on Sunday, just a few weeks into the long, dark Antarctic winter:

The Family

Yeah, things are that bad.

Only not.

Today is the final sunset in these parts. We won’t see the sun again until August. Several weeks ago, our fearless leader decided we should mark the occasion with a special dinner, similar albeit less formal than the big Midwinter Dinner we have in June.

Italian food is popular with the community, so the event was billed as an “Italian Feast.” Apologies to my Italian and Italian-American friends but… things quickly degenerated into “hey, let’s make it Mafia Day in the galley!”

And so it came to be.

Being on the AM shift, I was somewhat out of the loop and thought the whole mob dress-up thing was for the PM shift, which would be handling dinner. But no, it was kind of a galley-wide event, I discovered that morning. Well, okay. A pair of sunglasses I found when I moved into my room, a scar made with eyeliner and a judicious application of dark brown eye shadow and, voila, meet your new egg line cook, Curtains The Cleaner.

It's Curtains, Sun! (For the detail-oriented among you, only one customer caught the joke menu item, but several were brave enough to order their eggs "on a slab"--a hash brown patty like the ones you get at McD's)

Most of our bleary-eyed morning customers didn’t understand why I suddenly had facial hair and my co-workers were walking around in suspenders and fedoras, but the ones awake enough to get the joke approved. Though my favorite reaction was the guy who came up to place his order, looked me up and down and shrugged and said “Whatever.”

Pickles the Bookie and Toots review operations for the morning.

For the dinner itself, I made some hand-rolled pepperoni parmesan breadsticks and a lot of “sunset panna cotta.” I didn’t want to use too much artificial coloring, so I stuck with whatever the fruit puree colors gave me. It’s passion fruit, blood orange and raspberry. A purist might quibble that I should have inverted the color scheme and had the yellow on the bottom, but you know what? It tasted damn good so shaddup, wise guy.

A lotta panna cotta

It was a long day but a lot of fun, and the community seemed appreciative. Our awesome Recreation Coordinator Cindy blew up our family portrait and penned in all our Mafia names to greet folks arriving at the dinner which, if nothing else, seemed to help clear up the confusion about why assorted galley folk were packing heat.

Here are a few more shots of The Family in action:

The Godmother running operations from the back room

The Enforcer is ready to meet and greet anyone who complains that there aren't enough chocolate chip cookies on Wednesdays

Usually the board at the entrance to the galley lists the menu. Thanks to Phil the Baby Face Butcher, Sunday night's display was a little bit different.

Phil the Baby Face Butcher thinks you oughta like his dry erase board art. A lot.

Hey, you want risotto? You talk to Benny da Bruiser.

Don't ask sous chef The Gooch how he got the name The Gooch. Because you could end up in the stew.

It was a carb fest on the line, including No Joke Jules' Porcini Gnocchi, Osso Bucco, Pumpkin Lasagna, Tiramisu, Mascarpone Cheesecake and Cannoli, plus a fresh green salad from our greenhouse

Pickles and The Krusher ponder the Timpano.

Timpano success! We all had our doubts, including Toots, but the first slice proved the Timpano was as strong as our family ties.

Pickles also enjoyed success with her Torta Rustica (for me, the yummiest item on the menu... layers of pumpkin, spinach and cheese, three of my favorite things!)

A little green is always appreciated by The Family... our centerpiece, courtesy of our greenhouse guru. And yes, we displayed it in front of a utility panel. This is McMurdo, after all.

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