Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, March 29, 1916: “Not one tiny scrap is ever wasted now; skin, gristle, or even bones. . . .”

–from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees—

“Amazing weather. Raining hard, temperature 33 deg. The seal and penguins secured yesterday are an absolute godsend and allay any little anxiety as to the food problem, but do not yet justify any increase in our ration.

“The tents leak everywhere, not being designed to contend with rain, so we have punched holes in the corners of our tinned plates etc. and hung them up by strings to catch the drips in the worst places. As the plates are only the bottoms of square sugar tins, their mutilation will not spoil them. We never wash them: any grease remaining in them is always acceptable for the next meal, though we scrape them so carefully at each meal they are to all intents and purposes clean. Not one tiny scrap is ever wasted now; skin, gristle, or even bones, if at all chewable, are consumed.

“One curious thing about being hungry is that one can eat any mixture, such as sugar and fish, pepper and milk, and milk with meat and sweet biscuit and so on. We always have our drinking water out of the same mug as our stew without any more cleaning than a scrape with a food. Dirt has no horrors whatever for us.”


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