Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Submarine Cuisine


Jason Perlow
 Share

Recommended Posts

When my wife did two IDC tours on Spruance-class destroyers, the XO typically came down before service and sampled the food before it went on the line.  If the XO thought it was not acceptable, it had to be pulled off.  Does this happen on subs as well?

If the XO pulled that in MY galley, I would probably clock him with a pan. That is my job, not his. LOL. But, I am a little biased, and think my guys put out the best food in the Navy. If the XO's standards are higher than mine, we have bigger issues than what the food tastes like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the XO pulled that in MY galley, I would probably clock him with a pan.  That is my job, not his.  LOL.  But, I am a little biased, and think my guys put out the best food in the Navy.  If the XO's standards are higher than mine, we have bigger issues than what the food tastes like.

That is interesting. I was thinking that if it wasn't the XO, perhaps it would be the Chief of the Boat. As part of the Administration Department on the destroyers, my wife reported administratively to the XO and on medical matters to the CO. On both her destroyers with at least a couple of XOs, they did do this food check. I wonder if this is something you only see in the surface Navy.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the XO pulled that in MY galley, I would probably clock him with a pan.  That is my job, not his.  LOL.  But, I am a little biased, and think my guys put out the best food in the Navy.  If the XO's standards are higher than mine, we have bigger issues than what the food tastes like.

That is interesting. I was thinking that if it wasn't the XO, perhaps it would be the Chief of the Boat. As part of the Administration Department on the destroyers, my wife reported administratively to the XO and on medical matters to the CO. On both her destroyers with at least a couple of XOs, they did do this food check. I wonder if this is something you only see in the surface Navy.

I was being more of a smart aleck than anything. I am the quality control and Doc is the sanitation control. If we were having problems keeping clean, then the XO or COB might come in more often.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bubblehead Chef: thanks for your generous participation. This topic resonates for me.

My English grandfather stole his older brother's long pants lied about his age and joined the British Navy in 1914, at the age of 14. Four years of active service on a sub before he was 18. Supplies grew so low (I remember him talking about salt and pepper soup --water, salt and pepper) that he exchanged his daily tot of rum for food.

You cook for young, hungry people. Is sheer quantity ever a problem? Is it possible to run low on supplies?

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do the officers have their own mess on the Virginia or is that just stuff you see in the movies?

Yes, the officers have their own mess called the wardroom but they eat the same food the enlisted guys do. However, the crew eats cafeteria style and officers eat a more russian style service. We plate the salad for them (either a tossed or composed salad, depending on what we have). When they are finished with soup and salad, we place the food in serving dishes and serve the Captain, the Executive Officer (XO), and then the XO passes the dish around the table.

Oh, this is all so Hunt for Red October - and fascinating!!!

Do you ever change your menu along ethnic cuisine lines depending on which ports you're putting into? For example, gather certain spices or ingredients in one place that you can't get in another? Or is it all pretty much the same things each time?

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many people are on your kitchen crew? What are their ranks, and how do their positions compare to the brigade in a normal kitchen? How much control do they have over what they do--do they help you plan menus, come up with recipes, place orders?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, this is all so Hunt for Red October - and fascinating!!!

It -Literally- is The Hunt for Red October. The next boat Bubbleheadchef is going to is the Los Angeles-class USS Dallas, SSN 700, which was the "good guy" sub prominently featured in the movie. The Dallas, which recently underwent a technology upgrade along with its 15-year nuclear refuelling, is one of the oldest boats serving in the sub fleet.

http://www.csg2.navy.mil/Dallas/dallas.htm

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, this is all so Hunt for Red October - and fascinating!!!

It -Literally- is The Hunt for Red October. The next boat Bubbleheadchef is going to is the Los Angeles-class USS Dallas, SSN 700, which was the "good guy" sub prominently featured in the movie. The Dallas, which recently underwent a technology upgrade along with its 15-year nuclear refuelling, is one of the oldest boats serving in the sub fleet.

http://www.csg2.navy.mil/Dallas/dallas.htm

Oh, wow! That's right - Dallas was the boat that jumped out of the water near the end...I do love that movie. Sigh.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, this is all so Hunt for Red October - and fascinating!!!

It -Literally- is The Hunt for Red October. The next boat Bubbleheadchef is going to is the Los Angeles-class USS Dallas, SSN 700, which was the "good guy" sub prominently featured in the movie. The Dallas, which recently underwent a technology upgrade along with its 15-year nuclear refuelling, is one of the oldest boats serving in the sub fleet.

http://www.csg2.navy.mil/Dallas/dallas.htm

Oh, wow! That's right - Dallas was the boat that jumped out of the water near the end...I do love that movie. Sigh.

Oh Yeah! And if Sean Connery is still around, I am gonna enlist. :biggrin:

Another question BubbleheadChef . . .

I saw a TV program some years ago, I think back when FoodTV was still interesting, about a Navy Chef competition. That is about all I know about it. But I do remember that they used the normal supply. The dishes looked fabulous. Is there such a thing or did I dream this? If so, have you ever participated?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For instance, if I am going to serve 300 lb or prime rib in thirty days, I divide 300 by 30 days and come up with 3.0 lbs/day.  If I am ordering for 45 days and don't have any prime rib on board, I multiply 45 days by 3.0 and come up with 135 lbs needed for 45 days.  I do that will all of my food and just keep an inventory on hand and when I get to 30 days of food left, I drop my order to keep my stock levels up where I want them.

Not to nitpick, cause as a former Marine I have nothing but respect for the Navy and it's mission; but I hope you do your math a little more careful before leaving port or there will be some unhappy submariners.

Thanks for all the insight you've shared with us.

A island in a lake, on a island in a lake, is where my house would be if I won the lottery.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I work with a retired submariner (career Navy) who was intrigued to hear that such a thread had popped up. I asked him about the claim that submarine food was the best in the Navy.

He verified that it's a fact and also confirmed that, according to his recollection, the Navy allocates more money per man per day for food on subs that it does on ships. It was also his impression that there are differences between various classes of subs (e.g. some may get more lobster tails in a given run that others).

Is this true and as the chef do you work with and tweak the budget or are you simply given a specific allocation of goods to select from?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What time do you run on? Eastern? Do you run on the same time no matter where you are, even when you're docked? (I'm wondering if people end up eating "breakfast" while in an international port at 3pm, or something.)

Also, what sort of meal do you prepare for MidRats? Is that when you make stuff like the corn dogs, or is MidRats more of an actual balanced meal?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is positively fascinating! Thanks, Bubblehead!

My question is: I know you said you crave anything fresh when supplies start to run out. What's the first thing you run for when you hit dry land?

"It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you."

-Nigel Slater

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bubblehead Chef: thanks for your generous participation. This topic resonates for me.

My English grandfather stole his older brother's long pants lied about his age and joined the British Navy in 1914, at the age of 14. Four years of active service on a sub before he was 18.  Supplies grew so low (I remember him talking about salt and pepper soup --water, salt and pepper) that he exchanged his daily tot of  rum for food.

You cook for young, hungry people.  Is sheer quantity ever a problem?  Is it possible to run low on supplies?

Well Miss Maggie

There are certainly times during the long underways that things become in short supply, but I try to never let it get that bad. It has never happened to me (knock on wood), but I have heard of some horror stories on other boats. Most times through no fault of the leading cook, but due to storage limitations and mission length. And YES, they are HUNGRY people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, this is all so Hunt for Red October - and fascinating!!!

Do you ever change your menu along ethnic cuisine lines depending on which ports you're putting into?  For example, gather certain spices or ingredients in one place that you can't get in another?  Or is it all pretty much the same things each time?

I try to change it as much as I can, but that is just my fascination with the multitude of cuisines we encounter in our/my travels. I always do what I can to bring a native flavor to dishes. Example, in Haifa, Israel I picked up saffron and other things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure you've seen the movie Das Boot -- the scene where the captain is showing the journalist all the food and alcohol they store on board (and its huge importance for morale) just kills me. My husband was in the German navy for his required service, and says there was a good deal of drinking on board. I can't imagine this is the case on American ships? Or is it?

Edited by Behemoth (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How many people are on your kitchen crew? What are their ranks, and how do their positions compare to the brigade in a normal kitchen? How much control do they have over what they do--do they help you plan menus, come up with recipes, place orders?

I have 5 guys that actually work the kitchen day and night. I also have a rotating pool of junior sailors (4 of them) that work the crew's mess (Front of the House) and dish pit (the Scullery). I have 2 cooks during the day, one in the kitchen doing the line cook, prep cook, service, and cleaning. Then I have the other guy during the day doing Garde Manger-ish type work. He does all the cold food prep and service for the Officers. He usually makes the dinner rolls for the meal and depending on the meal and how well he and his brother cook are getting along that day, maybe the soup as well. I am the Executive Chef (if we are relating this to classical brigade) making the "management" calls, quality control, and supervising three of my four rotating pool personnel in the front of the house with cleaning, setting up, restocking beverage bar, etc.

At night I have 3 cooks and 1 rotation pool person. I have a night baker who prepares all the desserts for the next day, plus if we are having, say hamburgers, the buns. He also prepares and serves MidRats and breakfast. The other cook is again working for the wardroom, but his main function in life during the night is laundry. We have to wash all the officers clothes and table linens (tablecloths, napkins, etc). The third cook at night is my "sous chef". He is the night supervisor and my right hand man. He is my recordskeeper that lets me know how much money I have to spend (more on this down thread) and takes over when I finally get to go to bed. He is the one that drives the guys when they need to be driven and is SUPPOSED to clear up the routine matters before they get to me. He is the one that does the weekly ordering with my oversight, but for the big loads he gets his numbers from me.

The navy has a graduated rank system starting at E-1 and working up to E-9. I have 4 E-4's (my line cooks) and 1 E-5 (my sous). I am a Chief Petty Officer (E-7). Most boats have some combination of the E1's to E5's, but usually will have an E6 as the sous and almost always a Chief runnig the whole show.

Hope that answered more questions than it created.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another question BubbleheadChef . . .

I saw a TV program some years ago, I think back when FoodTV was still interesting, about a Navy Chef competition. That is about all I know about it. But I do remember that they used the normal supply. The dishes looked fabulous. Is there such a thing or did I dream this? If so, have you ever participated?

Yes, that is a real occurence. The military is huge on competition (for advancements, sports, budget money, you name it). We do have an All Navy Culinary Team mainly made up of reservists who are culinary professionals on the outside and do thier active duty time cooking for the navy team. The army, however, has a full time Culinary Olympics team that competes mainly in Europe but also stateside on occasion. There aren't many times I give high praise to the Army (competition and all that), but those guys are AMAZING. As a full time Sailor (meaning non-Reservist) the likelyhood of my joining the All Navy team is pretty slim. Well, that and the fact that I am not THAT good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First I want to thank you for your military service, and then I want to thank you for taking and diligently answering our questions. I am so much in awe of this thread that I can't even think of a question right now. It is fascinating, and it is very touching to me. I looked at your profile and you are barely a year older than my son. Congratulations on your achievements! They are very impressive.

My son has been in the Navy for two or three years now. (I have lost track of his time.) He is an NFO and will be carrier based, navigating the Super Hornet. He expects to be deployed in the spring. His grandfather was a submariner in WWII. When you said the food on carriers sucks, I thought oh my..... But it's good to hear that overall the Navy has good food. He invited and escorted me to his first Dining Out, and it was a great dining experience! Great food and wine, and lots of Port and toasts afterwards... :biggrin: From that I can attest to good food and drink from the Navy.

I wish you the best and thanks again.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For instance, if I am going to serve 300 lb or prime rib in thirty days, I divide 300 by 30 days and come up with 3.0 lbs/day.  If I am ordering for 45 days and don't have any prime rib on board, I multiply 45 days by 3.0 and come up with 135 lbs needed for 45 days.  I do that will all of my food and just keep an inventory on hand and when I get to 30 days of food left, I drop my order to keep my stock levels up where I want them.

Not to nitpick, cause as a former Marine I have nothing but respect for the Navy and it's mission; but I hope you do your math a little more careful before leaving port or there will be some unhappy submariners.

Thanks for all the insight you've shared with us.

As we say in the Submarine Force, the only good Marine is a SUBmarine! Semper Fi,shipmate.

Ooops, I guess that is why you check your work before posting on the WWW. LOL. Yes, I actually have a MS Access database that keeps me honest. I was just trying to use that as an example to show the process for figuring out how I order. Now where the h**l is the "chagrined" smiley face?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I work with  a retired submariner (career Navy) who was intrigued to hear that such a  thread had popped up. I asked him about the claim that submarine food was the best in the Navy.

He verified that it's a fact and also confirmed that, according to his recollection, the Navy allocates more money per man per day for food on subs that it does on ships.  It was also his impression that there are differences between various classes of subs (e.g. some may get more lobster tails in a given run that others).

Is this true and as the chef do you work with and tweak the budget or are you simply given a specific allocation of goods to select from?

See everybody? I'm not full of it, third party verification!!!!

We do get an extra 40 cents per man per day but that isn't for any other reason than we have to special order some things like dehydrated bell peppers and other shelf stable foods since we lack the size of the larger platforms. As far as the product goes, we all (all services, not just the Navy) get to use the same food that most restaurants get to use. Sysco, American Foods, Etc depending where in the country you are. Here in the Northeast, we use Sysco. In the Southeast Region, they use a company called the IJ company. Most of the difference in the food between ship to ship is numbers fed. Think of the difference between 150 (the compliment of a submarine) and 3500 (the compliment of an ampibious ship).

As far as budget goes, there are really two main schools of thought. The first being, "feed them well all the time and use your BDFA (Basic Daily Food Allowance, $7.56/man) everyday". The other being, "use cheaper meals most days and build up a credit, then have a blow out meal two or three times a month". I kind of straddle these two schools and have some cheaper meals and ever 2 or 3 days have a more costly meal and keep them fed ALL the time. So, yes we tweak the budget.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What time do you run on? Eastern? Do you run on the same time no matter where you are, even when you're docked? (I'm wondering if people end up eating "breakfast" while in an international port at 3pm, or something.)

Also, what sort of meal do you prepare for MidRats? Is that when you make stuff like the corn dogs, or is MidRats more of an actual balanced meal?

We run local time for the most part. We will change time zones as we go through them. However, we all switch to Zulu time (Grenwich Mean Time) on mission or on the missile submarine patrols. So everybody gets acclimated to local time before pulling into port, we will shift clocks ahead or back as required.

Midrats is usually just kind of "thrown together". Yes, that is the meal we will run the comfort foods. A lot of leftovers and something simple because the ovens are usually full of desserts and bread for the next day, so it becomes something fried or something that can be cooked in a steam jacketed kettle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is positively fascinating! Thanks, Bubblehead!

My question is: I know you said you crave anything fresh when supplies start to run out. What's the first thing you run for when you hit dry land?

FRESH BEER!!!! Seriously though, something green. Don't care what it is, but usually I have a big caesar salad and a BLT or something along those lines. Something that won't hide the frest veggies. All washed down with a beer or six.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...