Posted by Julie
A can of pemmican from Captain Scott’s Cape Evans hut © AHT
In “The Worst Journey In the World.” Apsley Cherry-Garrard describes a vaguely masochistic experiment undertaken during an already torturous winter expedition: “By taking individually different quantities of biscuit, pemmican and butter we were able to roughly test the proportions of proteids, fats and carbohydrates wanted by the human body under such extreme circumstances.” He reports that Bowers, eating excess pemmican “was all right (this was usual with him) but he did not eat all his extra pemmican. Bill could not eat all his extra butter, but was satisfied. I got hungry, certainly got more frost-bitten than the others, and wanted more fat. I also got heartburn.” The conclusion? Pemmican: better than biscuits!
Lance checks the drying beef and berries © AHT/Julie
Luckily for us, our excellent cook, Lance, decided to make us some pemmican, using a secret recipe which I promised to never divulge. Okay, I’ll tell you. Slice thin some lean, grass-fed shoulder roast, and salt and pepper liberally. Dry the meat along with some wild blueberries for 15 hours in a warm oven. Pulverize. Render some fat. Strain the fat. Mix it all together, and let it firm up. Cut into squares or roll into balls. The recipe concludes, “Pemmican will keep almost forever.” (Ha – we conservators will be the judge of that.) Being vegetarian, I of course can’t comment on the taste. Okay, it was delicious.Date: 11/4/11
Wind Speed: 30 knots
Temp with wind chill: -37
Sledging rations on Scott’s 1910-1912 expedition included canned pemmican, a mixture of fat, dried meat, and dried fruit ground together.