“Good enough to eat”

Perce Blackborow (age 18) with Mrs. Chippy, ship’s cat, on board the Endurance; photo by Frank Hurley, 1914

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Palace Hotel


Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires, c. 1914

More: [link, link, link]

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Envelope (2)


Collecting the last pieces of mail, 1914.

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Envelope (1)


“British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-16, Rare incoming envelope from the U.S.A. addressed to “J.F.K. Dobbs/S.S. “Endurance”/Imperial Antarctic Expedition/Buenos Ayres”, the only stop before South Georgia but arriving too late with ms. note “no está aqui” (not here) on reverse, returned to London ”c/o F. White Esq./Secretary I.T.A.E.”, sent 1914 (July 30) from New York and with enclosed letter including some interesting comments on the forthcoming war “perhaps, when you return you will find England a German colony”. The envelope opened for display and with faults, the adhesive detached but one of only four known addressed to this stopover. Lieutenant F.Dobbs of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers had been chosen by Shackleton to take charge of the dogs on the “Endurance” but the impending outbreak of World War I had caused Dobbs to rejoin his regiment and so to withdraw at the eleventh hour from the expedition.”
— Sale 47, Lot 258, Grosvenor Auctions. Price Realised UNSOLD.

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Escallops of Penguin Breasts


Penguin Breasts as required
Reconstituted onion
Some fairly thick batter
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the breasts into thin slices and soak in milk for about 2 hours. Dry, season and flour them well on both sides. Have ready some deep frying fat. When just smoking hot dip the pieces in the batter with the onion mixed into it and fry each piece to a nice golden brown. For a sauce turn the contents of a tin of mushroom soup into a saucepan and heat but do not boil. When hot pour over the meat and serve with fried potatoes and peas.

From Gerald T. Cutland’s Fit for a fid, or, How to Keep a Fat Explorer in Prime ConditionBritish Antarctic Survey)


More on Antarctic food:

Hoosh: Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day, and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine (At Table), by Jason C. Anthony [link]

Train Oil and Snotters: Eating Antarctic Wild Foods, by Jeff Rubin, in Gastronomica, Winter 2003 [PDF]

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Charles Green, cook


“[Charlie] Green was the expedition cook. He worked in the galley, first aboard ship [then] on the ice, working the longest days of any on the expedition on a regular basis, from early morning till evening, preparing meals for 28 hungry men.

“Green was regarded as disorganized and scatterbrained by the rest of the men, though his conscientiousness in his job more than made up for these. He was sometimes called “Doughballs” due to his high squeaky voice and had earlier lost a testicle in an accident.

“Of Shackleton, Charlie wrote:

He was a great man in every way, with tremendous strength of character. He looked after everybody—and I never saw him lose his temper. He had a way of compelling loyalty. We would have gone anywhere without question—just on his order. His personality left its mark on all our lives.

John F. Mann

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Excerpt from Paracelsus Attains (Paracelsus II)
by Robert Browning, 1835

Tell me what thou wouldst be, and what I am.

I would love infinitely, and be loved.
First: I would carve in stone, or cast in brass,
The forms of earth. No ancient hunter lifted
Up to the gods by his renown, no nymph
Supposed the sweet soul of a woodland tree
Or sapphirine spirit of a twilight star,
Should be too hard for me; no shepherd-king
Regal for his white locks; no youth who stands
Silent and very calm amid the throng,
His right hand ever hid beneath his robe
Until the tyrant pass; no lawgiver,
No swan-soft woman rubbed with lucid oils
Given by a god for love of her—too hard!
Every passion sprung from man, conceived by man,
Would I express and clothe it in its right form,
Or blend with others struggling in one form,
Or show repressed by an ungainly form.
Oh, if you marvelled at some mighty spirit
With a fit frame to execute its will—
Even unconsciously to work its will—
You should be moved no less beside some strong
Rare spirit, fettered to a stubborn body,
Endeavouring to subdue it and inform it
With its own splendour! All this I would do:
And I would say, this done, “His sprites created,
“God grants to each a sphere to be its world,
“Appointed with the various objects needed
“To satisfy its own peculiar want;
“So, I create a world for these my shapes
“Fit to sustain their beauty and their strength!”
And, at the word, I would contrive and paint
Woods, valleys, rocks and plains, dells, sands and wastes,
Lakes which, when morn breaks on their quivering bed,
Blaze like a wyvern flying round the sun,
And ocean isles so small, the dog-fish tracking
A dead whale, who should find them, would swim thrice
Around them, and fare onward—all to hold
The offspring of my brain. Nor these alone:
Bronze labyrinth, palace, pyramid and crypt,
Baths, galleries, courts, temples and terraces,
Marts, theatres and wharfs—all filled with men,
Men everywhere! And this performed in turn,
When those who looked on, pined to hear the hopes
And fears and hates and loves which moved the crowd,
I would throw down the pencil as the chisel,
And I would speak; no thought which ever stirred
A human breast should be untold; all passions,
All soft emotions, from the turbulent stir
Within a heart fed with desires like mine,
To the last comfort shutting the tired lids
Of him who sleeps the sultry noon away
Beneath the tent-tree by the wayside well:
And this in language as the need should be,
Now poured at once forth in a burning flow,
Now piled up in a grand array of words.
This done, to perfect and consummate all,
Even as a luminous haze links star to star,
I would supply all chasms with music, breathing
Mysterious motions of the soul, no way
To be defined save in strange melodies.
Last, having thus revealed all I could love,
Having received all love bestowed on it,
I would die: preserving so throughout my course
God full on me, as I was full on men:
He would approve my prayer, “I have gone through
“The loveliness of life; create for me
“If not for men, or take me to thyself,
“Eternal, infinite love!”

If thou hast ne’er
Conceived this mighty aim, this full desire,
Thou hast not passed my trial, and thou art
No king of mine.

Ah me!

Entire poem: wikisource

Short essay about Paracelsus from the Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes:

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