Monday, February 2, 2015

Pemmican for "Beyond the Mountains of Madness"

One of the things that makes Chaosium's "Beyond the Mountains of Madness" a treat is an emphasis on just how difficult Antarctic survival is.  Part of that is making sure there are enough provisions to keep everyone fed.  The expedition's demand for pemmican becomes a major plot point.  If you're considering following the adventure's suggestion to actually bang out a batch of pemmican you could do worse than following the recipe in this video from Jas. Townsend and Son. It's part of a four part series that gives a good overview of the creation and history of pemmican.

A word of warning.  If you start browsing their videos you could find yourself losing a few hours. 


Tyler said...

Great timing, as we enjoy a snow day up here in Vermont.

CoastConFan said...

Weight and bulk are considerations in an expedition and if the goods have to be borne on the back or on a dog sled, these factors become highly important. Anybody who has done extended hiking and camping can tell you this. Even with modern techniques of food preservation, weight is a big deal.

Pemmican is an old standby and so is dried fish on expeditions. Dehydrated soup, a new invention, was available for the Bounty expedition and carried by Lt Bligh. The Napoleonic era saw first attempts at metallic canning and a number of expeditions carried the new-fangled cans. The only problem was that they were heavy.

Classically light portable foods such as dried fish and beef as well as dried fruits & berries such as raisins, prunes, figs and dates were used for thousands of years. Nuts are another good portable source. Meat could be air dried or smoked as well as dessicated with salt and spices.

A 1920s artic expedition really returned you back to old reliable standbys such as pemmican and dried fish. The big deal with artic exploration was the environmental element as you were essentially in a desert, but one made of frozen water. Shelter was a big a factor as anything else in such an inhospitable situation. Just getting to the area to begin the expedition was a chore in itself.

Raven said...

For labeling your product, Cephalopod Productions created "Pemmican" labels (and also "Pammican" labels to match what the Starkweather-Moore Expedition picked up in Australia). Packaging instructions are here.

Propnomicon said...

@ Tyler

We've been buried here in NY as well.

@ CoastConFan

I absolutely love dried fish when I'm hiking. Asian grocery stores have an amazing selection of dried fish, squid, and seaweed that can really jazz up a trail meal. I was a bit leery of them to begin with, but now I can't imagine hiking without them.

That said, nothing compares to the sublime pleasures of a Wilson's Bacon Bar. They've been unavailable for over twenty years and I still miss 'em.

@ Raven

As always, thanks for remembering what I forget. Heh.