March 11, 1912: The Northern party plans for a hard winter on short rations

–from Raymond Priestley’s account “Antarctic Adventure” (pg. 240)–

“I have already made mention of the biscuit ration, and now it just remains for me to enumerate the few other articles articles of diet which we possessed, and which were so scanty that they became to us the symbol of luxury itself.  Half of the biscuit, sugar, chocolate, and cocoa were put aside in order to give us a month’s sledging foot at half-ration for our journey down the coast [in the Spring], and this left only a very meagre allowance for the winter.  When this small amount was portioned out, I found that it was possible to serve out 12 lumps of sugar to each man every Sunday, 1-1/2 oz. of chocolate every Saturday and every alternate Wednesday, and 25 raisins on the last day of each month.  The division left just a little margin to allow of the celebration of birthdays and other special occasions. . . ”

“On five days of each week the coot threw into the potful of boiling water three tablespoons of cocoa, and this just sufficed to disguise the flavour of blubber, which was the strongest characteristic of all water heated in our cookers.  On Sundays three teaspoonsful of tea performed the same office, and on Mondays, the same tea leaves were re-boiled in the water, or we had the hot water by itself.”


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