Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Midwinter's Eve

Fine dining at the bottom of the world.

"And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the [McMurdo] dining room proudly presents - your [Midwinter] dinner!" Can you name that song? This past weekend while most of my friends back home were celebrating the longest day of the year with a backyard BBQ, we were celebrating that the days can't get any shorter or darker here. For some people, that meant a quiet night in their room. For others, it meant a hike. For most, it meant the best meal of the season put together by the galley staff.

Lots of people on station donated their time or drinks for the evening.

Katie managed to save some freshies for the feast.

Mark and Shandra volunteer in the kitchen.

Shane and Matt make some yummies.

John, the baker, is the reason so many of us come with a few extra pounds. Hmm, hmm, good!

Midwinter dinner is a huge undertaking for the base. People start planning over a month in advance. There are decorations, planning, entertainment, and who knows what else committees. I'd speculate that one third of the station contributed to pulling the dinner off by donating wine, serving, helping in the kitchen, decorating, making play lists, sewing window treatments, setting up, breaking down, building ice sculptures, and even burning DVDs. Unfortunately, even with all that help the galley staff spends most of the evening working. After the dinner portion of the evening, they get to come out and celebrate too.

Jim and Jeremy made some great ice sculptures.

Jim and Jeremy also made our very own wine refrigerator.

Hors d'oeuvres and wine before the main meal.

During the summer, the holiday meals were great food events. They didn't have the same feel as this celebration though. The decorations, the mood lighting, music, and sculptures were all top notch. It might have also been that all of station was eating at once instead of at three different rushed meals. I felt like I was at a find restaurant at home with 124 of my closest friends. OK, maybe it wasn't quite like that, but it was a special evening.

Kish and B-Nelson provide live entertainment

while Louie serves up some scallops

and Carol dishes out some wonderful bruschetta with fresh tomatoes

while the rest of us mingle and chat.

The evening started out in the pit of the galley. B-Nelson, Kish, and Jen all played music while servers weaved through the crowd refilling glasses and delivering tasty treats. In the background, pictures were shown on the projector to remind us of the people or places we might be missing. It was great to see so many people cleaned up, not in their work clothes, and sometimes, all fancied up.

Giving thanks to the galley staff who made all of this possible.

After that, we moved to the upper area for dinner. I don't even remember everything that I ate. It was a lot. There was gnocchi. It was good. I had a great salad. After speeches and toasts, I took a break to wash dishes. I came back and had some great desert and then finished out the evening back in the pit chatting and dancing. A lot of people filtered out after dinner, but plenty stayed to socialize. Some of the Kiwis that didn't show up for dinner finally came over as well. Good times. Lots of smiles. Tons of laughter.

Peter pitches in to clean up.

Fancied up with William T.

1 comment:

  1. look at you, spiffy dresser. meal looks great! and the ice sculpture...WOW amazing! you guys have some amazing talents down there. :-)