When talking to sailors from the desert storm era, the food that we ate was a popular topic for discussion. Breakfast was a favorite among some sailors. Navy cooks could fix up a mess of scrambled eggs or other eggs made to order. They would even make omelettes before I’m at bars were thing. I wondered if the size of the ship had any relationship to the quality of the cuisine that was prepared.
For me, the cultural differences between serving on a large ship and a small ship were significant. I always thought my experience on the destroyer was analogous to growing up in the small town where I grew up.while serving on the battleship felt more like my time when I lived in a large city.
I would be lucky if I could name 200 of the 1800 sailors on the battleship, but I knew practically everyone on the destroyer. The values and behaviors and attitudes or quite a bit different as well. On the destroyer, we looked out for one another. There is very little theft for example. I was warned when I reported to board the destroyer that thievery was highly discouraged and if a thief is ever caught there is a heavy price to be paid. The implication was he would get the snot beat out of him. There was no such similar code of honor on the battleship. In fact we had our own small police force. I had a number of items taken from me. Possibly from people I worked with.
You didn’t leave anything out of value without locking it up. Or it would be gone.
But back to the food. One sailor I talk to observe something that I thought was pretty profound. The size of the ship didn’t really matter, it had more to do with the creativity and the pride of the people who are preparing the food. With limited funds, a creative and resourceful menu planner could still consistently prepare high-quality meals.
And this is one thing that to me was attractive about the Navy as opposed to other services. You always could count on having a clean bed. You could always count on having three hot meals a day.
I wonder if it truly was more of a challenge to prepare meals for a large crew then it was for a small crew. I would think in some respects, the cooks on a small ship might have a little more flexibility in what they could do then could the cooks who had to serve 10 times as many people. I’ll have to ask someone about that.
But in general, I think everyone in the Navy it’s reasonably well. And sometimes the food was fantastic.
A grade of example of when navy food was at its best was as one sailor put it,
“You wanted to make friends with the night Baker. You could get fresh baked cinnamon rolls cookies bread’s etc. That was the best the Navy had to offer. “”
Space is at a premium aboard ship. It’s easier to store the ingredients for Brad’s and bake them fresh and it would be to bring on cases of bread that was already baked in a factory. So anything that was bred like was baked fresh aboard ship.Space is at a premium aboard ship. It’s easier to store the ingredients for breads and bake them fresh and it would be to bring on cases of bread that was already baked in a factory. So anything that was bread like it was baked fresh aboard ship. Larger ships often provided more flexibility in what was being served. For example there were two chow lions in the Missouri. The Truman line served traditional fair and the express line served fast food. Hamburgers. French fries. Stuff like that.
You could get a fourth meal if you happen to be serving the mid watch or coming off of the second dogwatch? Around midnight a light meal would typically be served. My least favorite of these was called Ken ravioli. Usually mid routes were nothing to write home about. But occasionally occasionally something special some delicious leftovers would be served.
One sailor remark that his favorite dish was liver because when it was served he could have all that he could eat. I have no doubt that is true.
Occasionally different ethnic foods would be served. Tacos and pizza at work, and treats. One sailor said that his ship tried to make yucky soba, Japanese noodles. He said it was basically dry spaghetti with dry meatballs.
Other favorites included SOS, parentheses shit on a single parentheses, steak and lobster,
One voice I heard from that I didn’t expect to was from a Navy person who did not serve a board ship. He said we were spoiled and they were lucky to get their MRE meals. To my way of thinking that is one of the perks of being assigned to a ship. You can go into combat with still some creature comfort’s.
Part of the Navy life involved standing in lines. It was impossible to avoid standing in lines. As a civilian nowadays I avoid standing in lines whenever possible. If there’s a weight at a restaurant and another restaurant nearby doesn’t have a way I’ll take the less popular restaurant just to avoid having to wait. Some of the worst liens I stood in include, urinalysis line, the shot line, not the shot line used during underway replenishment, immunizations!