Northward: Peary’s 1908-09 Expedition

Cranberry and Musk Ox Pie

Thanksgiving Day and one long to be remembered. I lay in bed and think of the many good dinners I have had and where I have spent some very pleasant Thanksgiving days but this one is unique in many ways: first as to location – the most northern point of land in North America; 2nd the time – at midnight of the great arctic night; 3rd living in a snow house at the base of a 700 foot cliff on the edge of the polar sea with four Eskimos – two men and two women.
    I celebrate the day by first having a good wash – some of us wash about once a week and some not at all. Jack and I sing a few old familiar songs –not– familiar to us. We must have something extra for dinner –what– shall it be.
    I have one jar of cranberries which might possibly be made into a pie, so here goes. If anyone cares for a good recipe here it is. Grease plates well with butter. Crush up biscuit in your hands into as fine a dust as possible until your hand aches with pain. Mix with medicated musk ox salve from medicine chest – use all of it for crackers are very dry. To be positive of good results, that is to have good flaky crust, put in three large tablespoons of butter in addition to all the salve. Cover plates with thick layer and spread on cranberries. Put on oil stove and bake quickly before the fat has a chance to bubble up through the top. If grease runs out on top of your oil stove creating a dense smoke in your igloo perhaps it would be well to remove the pie and place in open air at a temperature of 40-. This is simply another way of hardening the crust if heat fails to do it. Serve cold and eat at once providing each guest with a hammer or a knife according to condition of teeth. The musk ox salve makes an especially appropriate shortening for such a day giving to the crust a peculiar odor as well as taste like that of turkey stuffing, possibly the stuffing made of ground chestnuts of which I have never tasted. If the shortening had been lengthening we would all have been better pleased with results.
    P.S. Don’t ask the Doctor the recipe for the salve.
    After dinner cigars were passed around, a group flashlight picture was taken and then to our musk ox sleeping bags and the day was over.

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