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Submarine Cuisine


Jason Perlow
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Chief

Your blog reminds me of one culinary incident from my smokeboat days. My chief commisaryman had been leading chief in the EDF at NAB Little Creek before coming to submarines. He was still qualifying on board, but did have some ideas on how to improve our menu items. He had a recipe for curry, but was convinced that the crew would reject anything with yellow sauce. So he prepared "Semi-authentic Indian Curry" which had some curry powder in it, but also lots of paprika, so it was red and it went over well in both the after battery and the wardroom.

Posting as KAYSWV's other half

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Chief

Your blog reminds me of one culinary incident from my smokeboat days.  My chief commisaryman had been leading chief in the EDF at NAB Little Creek before coming to submarines.  He was still qualifying on board, but did have some ideas on how to improve our menu items.  He had a recipe for curry, but was convinced that the crew would reject anything with yellow sauce.  So he prepared "Semi-authentic Indian Curry" which had some curry powder in it, but also lots of paprika, so it was red and it went over well in both the after battery and the wardroom.

Posting as KAYSWV's other half

Just like a Chief....always coming in and trying to change stuff!!! As a junior guy, I had a few of those types of experiences, but now that I am the Chief, it won't happen to me (can you hear the sarcasm?).

BTW, translations:

EDF= Enlisted Dining Facility

NAB Little Creek= Naval Air Base Little Creek

smokeboat= Diesel Submarine

Commisaryman= Cook/Culinary Specialist/Mess Management Specialist

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Hey Chief, is there any chance I could get you to take on the cooks in my hospital for a couple of weeks? They are dunderheads!

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I haven't enjoyed a topic so much since my fellow grammar school classmates and I discussed how astronauts ate (and er, dealt with waste) on the playground when I was six.

And no, I'm not being a wise-ass! This was utterly fascinating. Thank you, Chef! If your restaurant ever served the public, I'd be a customer!

Ellen

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TIVO ALERT!

If you have the National Geographic Channel, tonight's installment of "Megastructures" is all about the USS Virginia.

Its airing in about five minutes (8PM EST) and also 11PM EST, and also on December 15 at 3AM.

MegaStructures

USS Virginia [TV-G]

Climb aboard the USS Virginia, the new completed addition to the U.S. Navys nuclear-powered arsenal and most advanced submarine in the world. This undersea MegaStructure is the first warship designed entirely on a computer, equipped with state-of-the-art steering, weaponry and sonar technology. Meet the builders of this 377-foot long behemoth, and find out what it takes to sustain a crew of 134 under the sea for months at a time.

Also airs:

        Wednesday, December 7, 11P

        Thursday, December 15, 3:00A

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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

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I haven't enjoyed a topic so much since my fellow grammar school classmates and I discussed how astronauts ate (and er, dealt with waste) on the playground when I was six.

And no, I'm not being a wise-ass!  This was utterly fascinating.  Thank you, Chef!  If your restaurant ever served the public, I'd be a customer!

Ellen

Thanks a lot, and in 2016 I'll let you know if I am open for business. I am still on the fence, but Mrs. BubbleheadChef is really pushing for a place of our own. We are thinking the "theme" is going to be a nautical type place with food from ports all over. Have learned quite a bit of different foods from different places. Probably going to set up in a Sailor town on the East coast, Norfolk, VA or Groton, CT. Hope to see you there!

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Thanks a lot, and in 2016 I'll let you know if I am open for business.  I am still on the fence, but Mrs. BubbleheadChef is really pushing for a place of our own.  We are thinking the "theme" is going to be a nautical type place with food from ports all over.[...]

Great idea. Keep us posted if and when the time comes.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Sorry if I missed this elsewhere, but I'm wondering what prep you manage to do on dry land that helps you out at sea. For instance, I read somewhere of a sub chef preparing a couple of hundred gallons of stock while on shore, and reducing it all down to a glace to add to soups and sauces. Do you do anything similar?

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Sorry if I missed this elsewhere, but I'm wondering what prep you manage to do on dry land that helps you out at sea. For instance, I read somewhere of a sub chef preparing a couple of hundred gallons of stock while on shore, and reducing it all down to a glace to add to soups and sauces. Do you do anything similar?

Generally, I don't have to prepare anything like stock, because I bring some beef bones with me plus what is leftover from the carcasses of chicken for stock, but there is one thing that I like to do for the long runs. I'll vacuum seal some lettuce, bell peppers, celery, and carrots. Just about everything else, I can get dehydrated, canned, or frozen. We have just started getting slice peppers in a can, so I won't have to do that anymore. While it is certainly not as good a product as fresh, without a supermarket anywhere close to us, canned, dehy, and frozen works in a pinch.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ahoy, BHC!

My son is in DEP to be a CS on a Sub. He'll leave for basic in Aug. 06. He's been told that when he comes out of basic as an E-3 (he's an Eagle Scout), that he'll be sent to several culinary schools including a short course at the CIA.

My question -- he's 6'2" (give or take a 1/2 inch). What will the kitchen hold in store for him? Lots of knocked noggins? Everyone seems amazed he chose a boat. They keep telling him to practice stooping -- is that just a wives tale?

Also, where would the 'newbie' typically be put? Dishes? Prep?

Thanks for all you do! I've enjoyed reading your thread. I've learned lots! (And see that there's still lots to learn!)

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Just discovered this thread today --- good one!

Hubby was a submariner on fast attacks (Finback and Atlanta).

There's been talk about being stowed for sea and having sheet cakes baking on angles for the boat's movement. One of my husband's COs actually drilled angles and dangles while the deep fat fryer was on. Yikes!

As for special training, isn't the Norfolk (or is it Va Beach?) campus of Johnson & Wales used quite a bit by Navy MSs?

I dined in the wardroom quite a few times when my husband had duty in port. The whole Russian-style service was quite interesting. There's a little buzzer under the table next to the CO's seat to ring in the server. And I really like the butler shelf (not sure of the exact term) where there was a little door between the galley and the wardroom for the mess crew to pass dishes back and forth instead of trying to walk through the doorway with all of them.

One CO (the one who tried to set kitchen fires) was particularly hard on a really young MS for not serving his hot tea the way he wanted. I thought this was particularly bad form for him to do this in front of a guest (me). And really, the people who prepare your food are really the last ones you want to tick off, right?

Bridget Avila

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BHC,

Woohoo! A Navy thread on eG! This has been enjoyable reading.

I'm ex-Navy myself. (ex-Nuke, due to a med board) My last duty station was at the Navy Yard in D.C., where I got to meet a lot of the PQCS and the Visiting Flag Quarters CS staff. Do you see yourself going for one of these posts in the future?

-V/r,

a former EM3.

Edited by baranoouji (log)
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Just discovered this thread today --- good one!

Hubby was a submariner on fast attacks (Finback and Atlanta).

There's been talk about being stowed for sea and having sheet cakes baking on angles for the boat's movement.  One of my husband's COs actually drilled angles and dangles while the deep fat fryer was on.  Yikes!

As for special training, isn't the Norfolk (or is it Va Beach?) campus of Johnson & Wales used quite a bit by Navy MSs?

I dined in the wardroom quite a few times when my husband had duty in port.  The whole Russian-style service was quite interesting.  There's a little buzzer under the table next to the CO's seat to ring in the server.  And I really like the butler shelf (not sure of the exact term) where there was a little door between the galley and the wardroom for the mess crew to pass dishes back and forth instead of trying to walk through the doorway with all of them.

One CO (the one who tried to set kitchen fires) was particularly hard on a really young MS for not serving his hot tea the way he wanted.  I thought this was particularly bad form for him to do this in front of a guest (me).  And really, the people who prepare your food are really the last ones you want to tick off, right?

I have been half blessed as far as CO's go. My first CO was the greatest guy I have ever served with. Deadly serious while doing submarine things, but the life of the party when it was time to have fun. The other one was almost the polar opposite, but wasn't exactly mean to us, just VERY, ummmm, particular. Doesn't talk much unless it was to complain or point out a flaw. I can say with relative surety that he was pretty well disliked by all but the senior Navy leadership. And IMHO, I think it is extremely poor taste to say anything like that in front of a guest, but some people like to show off their power I guess.

While I haven't been to the J&W in Norfolk, my first Chief was sent there and actually got a degree. He was full time student for 2 years. Not so many good deals like that anymore, but it is known to happen on occasion.

As for the russian style service, I always found it amusing that on a US Submarine, we would do ANYTHING Russian. But, there it goes to show that food overcomes all (even politics!)

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BHC,

Woohoo! A Navy thread on eG! This has been enjoyable reading.

I'm ex-Navy myself. (ex-Nuke, due to a med board) My last duty station was at the Navy Yard in D.C., where I got to meet a lot of the PQCS and the Visiting Flag Quarters CS staff. Do you see yourself going for one of these posts in the future?

-V/r,

a former EM3.

Hey pusher

I did my staff tour and don't think I will go back to one. I was at CSG8 in Naples, Italy doing both Flag Mess and Personal Quarters (that is the bad part of working for a 2 star, he is senior enough to get a cook, but not one for his house so I had to do both). I turned down a the White House mess after a tour of the facility. Everything was top notch, but my personality would have gotten me fired there. I am, well, lets just say that with my mouth, a submarine is the place for me. When we have riders, I have to stay in the Goat Locker (nickname for the Chiefs Quarters where the Goats (chiefs) are berthed and have a little lounge to "work" in) or in the Galley, but nowhere near the public eye!

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  • 1 month later...

I wish I had caught this thread earlier. I served on an FBM back in the late '60s and this brought back many fond memories. BHC mentioned how trash is disposed of on a submarine, but failed to mention what happens when the trash disposal unit (TDU) jams :sad: Then there are the brown showers :biggrin: That's what happens when someone flushes a toilet whose holding tank has been pressurized to a hundred psi or so in preparation for dumping overboard. There isn't much to do on a submarine but stand watch, play cards and eat. I'd regularly gain 15 or 20 pounds on a patrol and then spend the next three months dieting it off. Shelf stabilized milk wasn't available back in those days, but I know there was a medical concern about our elevated CO2 blood levels interacting with calcium.

Jim

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  • 2 months later...
Shelf stabilized milk wasn't available back in those days, but I know there was a medical concern about our elevated CO2 blood levels interacting with calcium.

My father was excited about shelf stabilized milk when he made a trip to Spain in 1987. Even then he saw the advantages of it.

Anytime my family goes camping, I purchase Parmalat (or similar shelf stable milk) to take with us. While drinking warm milk takes some getting used to, it's great not to have to worry about keeping ice in the chest to keep things cold. [We tend to purchase our evening meat just before we retire back to the campsite to prepare dinner.]

Dear Son continues to prepare for the Navy. We're now just over 3 months left of DEP before he ships out. He's deep into learning lingo, ranks, ratings and ribbons. It really isn't just the individual -- the whole family is learning. I know know my Alpha Bravo Charlie's and can quote at least some of the General Orders of Sentrys -- number 7 is my favorite. ;-)

Upon recommendation of the chat-boards at Navy.com, I'm reading Honor, Courage, Commitment: Navy Boot Camp by JF Leahy. It follows an integrated (male and female) squad through arrival to graduation at Great Lakes. So far, I'm still on 'arrival' (the P-days), but have learned a lot. For some of you old salts, it would be a great 'I remember that' book. :wink:

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Hey all

Been punching holes for a few weeks and getting ready to do some more, just in on a port call. Fun, fun, fun.

In reply to the shelf stable milk. I personally don't like the stuff and if given the choice, the guys wont drink it. However, once the "real" milk is gone, they drink it just the same. I has allowed me to serve milk longer than 4 days which is nice.

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Shelf stabilized milk wasn't available back in those days, but I know there was a medical concern about our elevated CO2 blood levels interacting with calcium.

Dear Son continues to prepare for the Navy. We're now just over 3 months left of DEP before he ships out. He's deep into learning lingo, ranks, ratings and ribbons. It really isn't just the individual -- the whole family is learning. I know know my Alpha Bravo Charlie's and can quote at least some of the General Orders of Sentrys -- number 7 is my favorite. ;-)

Upon recommendation of the chat-boards at Navy.com, I'm reading Honor, Courage, Commitment: Navy Boot Camp by JF Leahy. It follows an integrated (male and female) squad through arrival to graduation at Great Lakes. So far, I'm still on 'arrival' (the P-days), but have learned a lot. For some of you old salts, it would be a great 'I remember that' book. :wink:

Tell him to keep it up. The more he studies now, the less painful it will be later. I believe it is just a important for the family to be involved because it helps keep the younger guys motivated and helps the parent understand what he is going through. There will come a time to during boot camp/A school/BESS/qualifications that he will want to quit, come home, and live with mom and dad again. With family backing him up (and some of his new shipmates along side), he'll get through. I will tell you though, just because he comes home or calls saying that his chief is a ?&^*&^, we aren't ALL bad!

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  • 1 month later...
There will come a time to during boot camp/A school/BESS/qualifications that he will want to quit, come home, and live with mom and dad again.  With family backing him up (and some of his new shipmates along side), he'll get through.  I will tell you though, just because he comes home or calls saying that his chief is a ?&^*&^, we aren't ALL bad!

I have no doubt that there will be times he'll want to quit. Haven't we all felt that frustration in our lives at some point?

He learned last week that his A-school is changing from Hyde Park to Great Lakes/Chicago. He wasn't real happy about that, but signed the paper acknowledging the change. Unfortunately, that means he won't be training at the CIA .. which was the original A-school destination.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 year later...

2nd post! : ) what happened to the chief chef? i really enjoyed reading this thread while i was waiting for membership approval.

its been more than a year, i wonder how you are bubbleheadchef

.jedi pocky.

yum...

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Extremely interesting thread. USAF, whole new meaning to the word chow hound. Civilian contractors for much of the food service. Food prepared by the lowest bidder.

When deployed or to a new duty assignment my first priority was to learn how to get into a flight line mess. Not always an easy task but usually worth any trouble I would get into. Have to thank a Chief for the education in how to eat well while in the service.

Next you sought out the Philippino kitchens I think Panamanian would also do. It was the same ingredients but they seemed to care about the food not the regulations. I understand they really drove the supervising NCOs nuts.

If there was a hospital that was also worth trying to get into. I think they tried to motivate the medical staff to re enlist by feeding them better. Actually I think that is where you see more actual military doing the cooking.

Sunday brunch at the officers mess was a sought out destination. I never crashed that but did get invited enough. Lo and behold many NCOs impersonating officers to get in. Those guys had guts. You could loose a stripe in that situation.

Remote assignments could be interesting. Often you would get vouchers or even extra ordinary separate rations pay. Extra ordinary usually meant enough for a good meal at a casual restaurant.

The holy grail of separate housing allowance and separate rations pay was in the Philippines. I think they came out to three times what it actually cost to live and eat local. We were in radars, radars usually located far off base. Some times being located far off base was a good thing.

I always thought sea duty was probably a good trade off. I imagine you're out two or three months and if you didn't gamble you probably had decent money to spend in a port.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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