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
"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).