See more of the Virtual Museum of Canada
Northern People, Northern Knowledge - 
The Story Of The Canadian Arctic Expedition 1913 - 1918
The People of the CAE: Leaders, Scientists, Captains And Crews, Local Assistants


Northern Party

Lopez as cook

"Have been doing a little writing today, and tired of being pestered by Pete for the menu... Every day we have some kind of dried or canned fruit and always doughnuts and preserves and butter on the side, so we are not actually starving, although we might easily die because of our food, for it is not extravagantly prepared. I can hardly blame Pete for it, for we have not enough coal to keep the stove going all day, so he has to do the best he can with two primus stoves" (Wilkins diary, December 1, 1915).

Stefansson mentions Lopez in his manuscripts and books several times:
"LOPES has given Storkersen complete satisfaction and appears to have been a very useful man. Now as well as at the NORTH STAR he takes great pains not to waste anything. In this respect he is a rare bird, on this Expedition at least" (Stefansson MSS 98, The Summer Work in Melville Island, Dartmouth Archives).

Lopez and the Fear of Fat
"The peculiarity about Peter Lopez was that he could not eat fat. He had a story to explain this. The explanation ran that when he was a small boy in the Cape Verde Islands, fat was expensive and he was forbidden to eat more than the share that came to him as one of several children. But one day when nobody was looking he made away with the allowance intended for the whole family. His mother to punish him melted up some lard and compelled him to drink it. This overdose caused nausea and from that time on he had an unconquerable repugnance against fat in all forms. This he had kept through all the vicissitudes of his career as a whaler in the Arctic and as a trapper married to an Eskimo wife and living among Eskimos.... He recovered his health, flesh and spirits in a few days and by the time I arrived in the fall he prided himself on being able to eat more fat than any Eskimo in the party. As for that he could, but it was merely because he was a big man and working hard" (Stefansson 1921).