Roast Penguin, Scurvy Day, and Other Stories of Antarctic Cuisine

Jason C. Anthony

At Table Series

344 pages
36 photographs, 2 maps


November 2012


$26.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2012


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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.

Author Bio

Jason C. Anthony’s essays have appeared in Orion, VQR, Alimentum, the Missouri Review, and in the Best American Travel Writing 2007.


"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

"One of the most enthralling studies of gastronomy ever published."—Christopher Hirst, London Independent

"[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

"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 jaunty history of Antarctic exploration and personal experience from a food perspective."—Stephen Downes, Australian

Table of Contents

Prologue: A Recipe for Something
Chapter 1. All Thinking and Talking of Food
Chapter 2. The Secret Society of Unconventional Cooks
Chapter 3. Slaughter and Scurvy
Chapter 4. Meat and Melted Snow
Chapter 5. How to Keep a Fat Explorer in Prime Condition
Chapter 6. Into the Deep Freeze
Chapter 7. Prisoner-of-War Syndrome
Chapter 8. The Syrup of American Comfort
Chapter 9. A Cookie and a Story
Chapter 10. Sleeping with Vegetables
Chapter 11. A Tale of Two Stations
Epilogue: Not Under These Conditions
Appendix 1: Selected Recipes from Gerald Cutland's Fit for a FID
Appendix 2: Hoosh Timeline
Selected Bibliography


2012 Special Commendation Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Award
2012 ForeWord's Book of the Year Gold Winner in Travel Essays
2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal Winner, Essay/Creative Nonfiction Category 

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