THE CARNEGIE DAMPER COOKING CONTEST
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
| When we worked
out of Carnegie (28/4/60 - 17/7/60) we lived in a tin hut at the
end of the strip and we lived on what rations we had managed to
bring with us. So we had no fresh bread and to overcome this we
decided to cook dampers. We had a bag of flour, some "Aunt
Mary's" baking powder, water and a wood-fired fuel stove of
ancient ancestry. I took on the job as I fancied myself as a baker,
but the results were rather dismal and unreliable. My dampers were
either like rocks or when they looked promising, were soggy in the
middle. Still, we managed to cut enough off the edible parts to
keep us going.
It is now necessary to explain that our survey flight lines, running East-West, were very long and when, after taking off from Carnegie and doing an odd number of runs before the cumulus popped and made further survey impossible, we would find ourselves at the extreme eastern end of the block and to get back to Camegie entailed a long and unproductive flight usually into a headwind. So we decided to overcome this by landing at Giles which was relatively close to the eastern end of the run, refuel there, stay overnight and recommence survey the next day, landing back at Carnegie.
And so when we followed this procedure, our engineer Des Hardy, would find himself quite alone in the shack for two days and wondering what to do to fill in the time 'til our return.
One day on landing back at Carnegie, Des proudly announced that he had produced a good damper and sure enough it was far better than any of my efforts. He was a bit coy when I tried to get his secret, but I detected a sly grin which made me suspicious and my first thought was that Mrs Lenke, up at the homestead, had cooked it, but Des denied this.
His secret was soon revealed however as I had occasion to go to the back of the shack to the dustbin which seemed to be unusually full and closer inspection revealed that it contained about 20 discarded dampers, black ones, brown ones, white ones and grey ones! It was easy to see how Des had spent the last two days!
The sequel to this is that a couple of days later we had to go to Kalgoorlie to pick up some film and whilst there we stocked up on loaves of bread. On returning to Carnegie and when we were about to cut the first loaf, a slight altercation arose between Mike and Darce, each claiming the crust! This was soon solved by cutting the loaf in two down its length so each had a crust about 2 feet long. You may wonder how a bloke could eat such a portion, but you would soon understand if you had been living on Hardy and Garroway dampers.