By J. Anthony
Antarctica, the last place on Earth, is not famous for its cuisine. Yet it is famous for stories of heroic expeditions in which hunger was the one spice everyone carried. At the dawn of Antarctic cuisine, cooks improvised under inconceivable hardships, castaways ate seal blubber and penguin breasts while fantasizing about illustrious feasts, and men seeking the South Pole stretched their rations to the breaking point. Today, Antarctica’s kitchens still wait for provisions at the far end of the planet’s longest supply chain. Scientific research stations serve up cafeteria fare that often offers more sustenance than style. Jason C. Anthony, a veteran of eight seasons in the U.S. Antarctic Program, offers a rare workaday look at the importance of food in Antarctic history and culture.
Anthony’s tour of Antarctic cuisine takes us from hoosh (a porridge of meat, fat, and melted snow, often thickened with crushed biscuit) and the scurvy-ridden expeditions of Shackleton and Scott through the twentieth century to his own preplanned three hundred meals (plus snacks) for a two-person camp in the Transantarctic Mountains. The stories in Hoosh are linked by the ingenuity, good humor, and indifference to gruel that make Anthony’s tale as entertaining as it is enlightening.
Praise For Hoosh:
"What ultimately ensures this unlikely book's appeal to a larger audience than armchair Antarctophiles and demented foodies is that Anthony is a fine, visceral writer and a witty observer. He paints his cast of questers with a Monty-Pythonesque brush, but balances the telling with a refusal to sneer or giggle. He demonstrates genuine respect, compassion and a kind of hopeless love for his quixotic subjects and their grandiose, miserable hungers."—Rebecca P. Sinkler, New York Times Book Review
"What distinguishes Anthony's perceptive retelling of Antartic tales—besides the obvious focus on food—is his ability to seamlessly weave details drawn from his own experience into heroic-age tales."—Peter Andrey Smith, Orion
"[Hoosh is] a singular, engrossing take on a region that until now has been mostly documented from a scientific angle or romanticized by adventurers."—Kirkus
"Beyond his own experience, Anthony's knowledge and research is deep, detailing the role of food in historic expeditions both well known . . . and not, including Japanese and Scottish efforts that have rarely been noticed. He also reviews the mid-20th-century adventures of Byrd, Ellsworth, Ronne, and others. Viewing each expedition through the lens of food offers great insight into the people who were really the most important members of those groups: not the leaders whose names we know well, but the cooks, about whom the public knows next to nothing."—Jeff Inglis, Portland Pheonix
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