How to cook like an Antarctic chef plus the more mature expeditioners at Casey station defy the doubting youngsters.

Cooking master class

At Casey this year we have been very fortunate with the three wonderful chefs who have been serving up our meals. Not only have we been treated to some very special occasions, the chefs have also been conducting ‘master classes’ so expeditioners may learn how to cook some of the incredible dishes experienced on station. There has been no shortage of students at these after hours sessions.

Recently, making a traditional Romanian strudel was on the agenda. Romanian pastry is different from strudels elsewhere and the pastry dough is very elastic. The dough is worked vigorously, rested, and then rolled out and stretched by hand very thinly with the help of a clean linen tea towel or kitchen paper. Legend has it that the Austrian emperor’s perfectionist cook decreed that it should be possible to read a love letter through it, and purists agree. Once the thin dough is laid out on a tea towel, the filling is spread on.

Creating the masterpiece was only half the fun, eating it the other half.

Age is no barrier to adventure

Casey station has a population of nearly a 100 expeditioners over summer consisting of both sexes and all ages. In fact, you can mimic any community in Australia and there would be similarities in the demographics.

Recently, a group of more mature expeditioners went on an excursion to the old abandoned Wilkes station. There was quite a bit of ribbing and jovial comments from around station about a group of eight expeditioners, whose average age was 58.5 years, being able to traverse and get themselves out of trouble. The younger expeditioners were only too keen to volunteer their services to rescue the ‘oldies'.

As is the case all over the world, ‘mature’ does not mean less capable, just a bit more sensible and careful. Well, it turned out these seasoned expeditioners easily handled anything that came their way including bogging a Hägglunds and forging over melt streams and the like. They came away with many photographs to show for their adventure to Wilkes and were the envy of all the younger expeditioners.

Wilkes station which was originally built in 1957 and abandoned in 1969. It is now almost permanently frozen in ice and only occasionally revealed. This year there has been a reasonably large thaw and a large part of the old station is visible, and revealing many of its old secrets.

Although most of the old Wilkes station is under snow and ice there is one old hut perched on a hill that is still being maintained and used by present day expeditioners as a recreational hut when they visit the old station. This hut is known as the ‘Wilkes Hilton’ and staying there overnight is like going back in time.