Where’s All of the Food Stored in McMurdo?
I’ve often wondered about that question. I’ve seen the kitchen area before (and you’ll get to learn more about that very soon). I knew there must be huge storage areas around here someplace and yesterday I was able to attend the McMurdo “freezer open house.” What a funny thing, an open house to show us the freezer space. But, I have to admit, it was fascinating to see how everything is stored.
My tour guide, Tristan, was excellent because he not only showed me around the open house freezer area, he took me to two other nearby locations to see how other food items are stored.
First off, the freezer building is COLD, colder than I thought it would be. The “weather” forecast for the freezer was written on a board as we walked in: -8 degrees F and light winds. Ha! I could barely keep my gloves off for more than a few seconds to snap photos.
Here’s another board that was displayed as we walked in…
The pallets and crates of food items are stacked from floor to ceiling. Tristan mentioned that when he first arrived this season you couldn’t even move around inside of the warehouse. It seemed quite different now that the season is halfway over. Just look at that sign carefully…people in McMurdo eat two millvans (containers) of food each week during the summer season (now).
There are actually four millvans of food buried in the ice shelf over by the transition and not far from Scott Base. They ran out of room for storage at the station last February when the resupply ship came into McMurdo’s ice pier. The solution was to completely bury the four extra containers and leave them under the ice and snow until needed. I hope they don’t forget about them!
Look at the following photos and see the wide variety of items stored in this huge freezer. Also, notice the number of pounds stored in each crate or how many cartons/containers of something is in the crate. Remember, there are multiple crates with the same items…I’m just showing you one of many. And, I’ll list some of the other items in between photos.
I took note of the following items:
onion rings, donuts, bagels, sushi (I wonder when we are going to get to have that?), turkey and chicken, mozzarella cheese, cheddar/jack cheese, a variety of frozen vegetables, sausage patties, frozen fruit, hot dogs, wing dings, and just about every kind of meat you can imagine. There was even a WHOLE PIG! (I thought that photo might gross you out) There were cheeses, baked goods, alfredo sauce to pesto sauce, and SO much more! Here are some other items I found in the freezer.
Tristan took me to another warehouse close by. This one is not heated, but it’s not cooled either. Different items can be stored here. Here’s a peak at part of the storage area.
One of the first things I spotted were boxes of shelled pistachios. I love those! There were crates and pallets of cereals, grains, flour, sugar, crackers, different types of pasta and all sort of things that can take a lower temperature, but do not need to be frozen. This warehouse was cool, but comfortable.
Here are large bags of flour for baking.
This pallet had large bags of sugar stacked high!
Tristin is demonstrating how he has to climb up on the pallets to check on items in the warehouse.
One item that everyone seems to count on in McMurdo is the Frosty Boy machine in the dining hall. Here is our supply of mix for the Frosty Boy machine!
In the back corner of the warehouse was the spice section! There were heaps of spices to choose from. I can’t imagine how many spices are used in the McMurdo kitchen.
Our last stop was a heated warehouse, but we had to cross the street and head uphill…this is what it looked like outside for most of yesterday.
This final stop on the food warehouse tour is the place where items are stored at more of a room temperature. This includes things like certain sauces, peanut butter, juices, canned goods, tuna and many other items too numerous to mention.
When you put this all together, it ends up right here in our dining room in the galley. I loved the sign that was written the day after the supposed end of the world based on the Mayan calendar. “Worst Apocalypse Ever!”
And I wanted to show you Frosty Boy in action. I haven’t eaten this since I’ve been here, but many people have it every single day/night. It’s a popular dessert and people hate it when the machine breaks down.
I’ll end with two photos for my Husmann students. I’m flying that Husmann banner everywhere I can! This was from out at the WISSARD site yesterday. And the last photo is for my students…it’s Josie’s geobear! It’s Christmas Eve here and I’ll tell you more about our McMurdo festivities in tomorrow’s blog. Happy Holidays!