Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Submarine Food "Rejected By Prison"?

Over at the always excellent 7th Fleet-centric Navy blog FEWL.NET, one of the commenters, claiming to be the wife of a "submarine rider", mentioned that her husband had told her that he'd personally seen food loaded onboard his boat that was stamped "Rejected by Illinois State Prison". (Her original comment is here; scroll down from there for the rest of the thread.) The owner of the website wondered if I'd ever seen such a thing; I hadn't, so I'm opening it up to you guys.

All of us know the Submariners are told that we get the best food in the Navy; we also know that there's almost nothing we like better than bitching about the food. (The "Beef Yak" and "Fried Rabbit" are among the foods I specifically remember with less than fondness.) Still, it sounds to me like an Urban Legend that any prison would have a specific stamp that says "Rejected by Prison" -- why not just stamp it "Rejected" like everyone else? Why would they feel the need to be so specific? It sounds to me like either the commenter's husband was maybe telling his wife an embellished "sea story", passing on something he'd heard during a shoot-the-sh*t as something he'd actually done, or was the victim of a humorous SK prank from someone in Supply.

Have any of you seen or heard about submarines getting really bad food? What are some of your favorite complaints about submarine chow? (Mine mostly involve the food running out during the Great Topeka Food Depression of 1992.)

63 Comments:

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I seem to recall a stores load with boxes stamped "Not suitable for prison consumption".

Years later, I asked a nutritionist about it, and she said it probably had something to do with the fat content/quality of the meat, but that there is no "Grade F" or anything like that. Still, I tried not to eat the steaks on the boat, for fear of what that stamp meant.

2 cents....

9/26/2008 7:56 AM

 
Blogger Navy Blue Cougar said...

When we were on WestPac in the 90's on the Los Angeles, we ran out of yeast while we were on a 60 day op. I don't mean we ran out yeast on day 59. No, we ran out on about day 15.

One of our M-div guys was an accomplished brewer and he tried to set up a rig to cultivate additional yeast, to no avail. The Chop tried to feed us unleavened bread. This didn't go over so well, either.

No bread, no hot dog buns, no hamburger buns, etc, etc...

Turns out yeast is a pretty fundamental part of the menu. Who would have guessed? Well, apparently not our MS division.

We were told that yeast was in short supply while we were in port, and we just couldn't get any. Turns out, of course, that the amount of yeast we would need was just badly underestimated.

When we pulled back into Yoko, one of our young sailors made a beeline over to the commissary. He reported that the Great Yeast Shortage had ended and there was bread everywhere.

9/26/2008 7:59 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I saw the stamp:

"Rejected by Federal Prison System."

RM1/SS

9/26/2008 8:25 AM

 
Blogger reddog said...

We used to go on 90 day ops with a crew of 150, on a boat designed for a crew of 87.

We had to eat in shifts but it was good, plenty of it. Always plenty of fresh bread and sticky buns. The NUCs were as fat as castrated Fall slaughter pigs. We always said, "She's an ugly, crippled old bitch but she's a feeder."

Torpedo tubes were all full of eggs and potatoes. The deck next to my bottom rack was 4 deep in #10 cans. I had to dig my way in and out.

We also burned candles and needed a lot of those.

Tight fit. Good Days!

9/26/2008 8:30 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall doing stores load and passing down boxes of 'USDA Grade B beef.' I spent 6 years on two Tridents (mid 80's to early 90s) and thought the food was mediocre at best. I also spent brief stints on 4 different skimmers of various sizes. I am a bubblehead first and last and I know this is sacrilege, but I preferred eating on the skimmers. There was more choice of what to eat and almost always fresh fruit and vegetables available.

9/26/2008 8:51 AM

 
Blogger Mark said...

I went to a residential high school in Illinois where the rumor was that the meat was a grade worse than the prison meat. Are these fond memories what drove me to the submarine force?

9/26/2008 9:42 AM

 
Blogger 630-738 said...

In my beginning fast attack days (my first sea tour was on a 41 for freedom boomer), an absolute highlight of the refit was when us Chiefs got to go up to the Chief's mess on the tender for the Thursday lunch. They always had surf and turf, and the steak was so big you had to lift it to verify there was a plate underneath. They kept Haagen-Daas ice cream in the freezer, and a helluva selection of fresh fruits. Yea, those skimmer Chiefs came by those physiques honest!

9/26/2008 10:18 AM

 
Anonymous CS1(SS) Tim Poole said...

As a CS I can attest to the quality of food that the boat receives. The majority of it is good but every so often you get food that is stamped "For Institutional Use Only"

IMO most of the cooks in the Navy are inherently stupid and could screw up mac and cheese. That is why within 10 years we will all be nuking our pre-packaged food. Its kinda hard to screw up frozen food, it may not be the greatest but it is consistent and the Navy can control your portion.

However, every once in a while you get a cook that cares about what he is doing and can turn that "Not suitable for prison consumption" food into some really good chow.

-741G, 752

9/26/2008 10:49 AM

 
Blogger Subvet said...

I've seen cooks that could burn water trying to boil it, also some really good ones that would make SOS taste like chateaubriand.

The best meals I had were when I pulled duty aboard a tender. From what I've heard thats pretty much the norm for the surface navy also, tender sailors always get the best and pass the rest onto the fleet.

While aboard the USS Omaha we used to verbally crucify the cooks on a routine basis. Then we received a few cases of steaks, compliments of the city of Omaha. Contrary to our expectations, they were topnotch after the MS division cooked 'em.

IMHO the food aboard that boat was lousy by design, never sighted any stamped "UNFIT" but I wasn't looking for it either. So much for subs getting the best.

And I don't even want to talk about the movies seen underway!

9/26/2008 11:11 AM

 
Blogger montigrande said...

In the late 80’s I was on a fast boat (646) in Charleston. During one memorable stores load in the heat and humidity, I noted several of the boxes on the pallet of meat coming out of the freezer truck had large red stamps on them. As a newly qualified Nuke, I got the privilege of being topside at the end of the brow. As the boxes came across the brow, the nick-names of the respective meat were announced. As a box of liver came across I saw that the box was stamped with “Grade D,” and “Rejected by USAF.” The overly large A-ganger who was on the brow made a disgusted face and instead of tossing the box into my arms, as he had been doing, he threw it at my head. Being a smart guy I stepped back and tried to stop it, watching the box slowly slide down the side of the ship in to the Cooper River. It floated for a few seconds and gave its last, as it sank into the muddy water. The CHOP stopped the line and was indignant that I had not tried harder to “save” the box. I got chewed on by the COB too!! Good times, great old ship…….

9/26/2008 11:31 AM

 
Anonymous anon e. moose said...

Not on my boat, but at Boat School we would have a Maryland Crab dinner each year. They would cover all the tables with brown paper which had printed on the opposite side: "DO NOT USE FOR FOOD PREPARATION"

My favorite cook story concerned MSSN "One-Egg" K***h [Name Redacted].

We called him "One-Egg" because if you ordered a two-egg omelet, you got two one egg omelets, three minutes apart. Order two over easy, you got one over-easy, and a few minutes later a second over-easy. Always cooked eggs in series, never parallel.

9/26/2008 11:39 AM

 
Blogger carbs said...

I've heard the rumors about rejection by prisons and the Air Force, but never have seen the stamp personally. But this topic is right in my wheelhouse right now...

We just finished an underway that featured some issues with messing. We ran out of peanut butter early on, which displeased both the CO and ENG. We also ended up with no napkins after about a week and a half; at our first (unscheduled) port visit, CS division went to the exchange and bought the place out of them. That didn't prevent us from exhausting all of those, and the last few days featured sliced up kimwipes on the tables.

By contrast, we received "cases" of Reese's cups when we meant to order "boxes." When they showed up, every crew member who wanted one was provided with their own personal box.

I've never been a huge fan of boat food, but that has as much to to with my own selectivity as the quality of the stores and/or preparation. It's not a bad thing - I do lose weight every time we go underway.

9/26/2008 11:43 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always found that boat food depended on the skills and abilities of the leading cook. Some were great and some were absolutely horrible.

I do remember running out of butter once up north. The cooks made a valiant effort to concoct a substitute out of lard. They got close, but it still stuck to the roof of your mouth.
SSNCOB

9/26/2008 12:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe quality of food on the boat has a lot to do with the wheeling-dealing skills of the Chief Cook. On first boat, a fleet snorkler in 1961 CSC(SS) Weberski put on the best chow I ever had in the Nav. He was a wheeler-dealer on the waterfront and with the club systems back then. Crew started complaining about to much steak. Pissed him off so he swopped cases of steak for cases of trout with the sanctuary in Yokosuka in 1962. On a 54 day spec-op we had trout for breakfast every day, really cut down on the steak meals. He alway had a pot of beans going on the galley range.

Worst feeder was 580 boat in 70-71. We pulled into Hong Kong in late January 71 after 4 day stop in Keelung Taiwan over New Years. Leading cook went on emergency leave upon arrival. Second Class was leaking after to much hookie-dookie in Keelung so couldn't cook. The other second class went over the hill when he saw what was happening and didn't return until sailing day. Duty chief had the keys and duty section cooked what ever they wanted for 4 days until the Food Services Officer showed up for his duty day and went ballistic. He assigned a steward from the wardroom to cook for the remaining three days which really made that guy happy.

At the start of the yard period at PHNSY in spring 71, after moving on the barge cooks were still using plastic spuds. Engine gang went over to 582 boat and got a 50 Lb bag of spuds and dumped'em on the deck of the galley. Electricians cut off the cord of the mixer and red tagged it. engineers told cooks in no uncertain terms to get with it. Leading cook swopped to the Gudgeon SS-567 a week or so later. Leading cook who came to us was a BIG improvement.

Yep, those were the days.....

Keep a zero bubble.......

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

9/26/2008 12:13 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can verify by personal observation that the "Rejected by U.S. Air Force" stamp actually exists. I also saw a few boxes labeled "Grade D, but Edible". These labels were on some meat going into the freeze box during a stores load in Norfolk in the early 90's. Now if I could only remember if the markings were on the same or different boxes...

9/26/2008 12:15 PM

 
Blogger smag said...

I don't know about the stamps, but I recall an underway not long ago... The infamous CSCS "Nastysnacks" (he's retired now but I cranked under him and I'm still terrified) decided to inventory the freeze box. During the several hours that the freeze box's contents were defrosting on crew's mess, the cases upon cases of steaks went a little past good into the "questionable" and then the Please-TDU-me-quickly stage. Our cooks at the time were infamous for serving food plain as dirt with no seasoning at all (aside from the ever present flavor remover). Suddenly for the next two weeks we had steak for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All of it heavily spiced and seasoned. It could almost mask the rancid flavor. Remember, if it's good, take two scoops. If it's bad, take two scoops to the slop bucket or you'll get for midrats too...

Free the Nukes

9/26/2008 12:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We did a storage load in Yoko - early 1998 - where boxes stamped "Not Fit For Consumption By Officers" were passed over the brow - mysteriously several wound up bobbing in the drink :)

We ate a lot of Hot Pockets and beans n' weiners for the rest of that deployment . . .

9/26/2008 12:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2002 I personally saw a similar stamp during a hand over hand stores load in Norfolk. I can't remember the exact wording, but it was something to the effect of what has been described by other posters. I was told by the CHOP when I asked about it that inspectors have to reject a certain percentage of meat anyway, and this meat was still ok. Being a submariner, I ate the food anyway.

MM1/SS

9/26/2008 12:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not directly on topic, but in the late 80s at Point Loma, we used to routinely toss #10 cans of unwanted crap into the drink during stores loads. As a diver, it became rather obvious that we weren't the only ones doing so. Not only were there cans and crates of all types loitering under and around the piers, but there were thousands, LITERALLY, thousands of navy coffee mugs littering the bottom. Seems no one topside could be bothered to haul a mug back to the galley.

Even further off topic, we once spent four man-days searching the bottom for a shotgun shell dropped by a topside watch. Never did find it - too many mugs to turn over.

9/26/2008 1:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like one of the above Anonymous I too have seen the "Rejected by U.S. Air Force" "Grade D" stamps. I asked why our MS's didn't put a Reject stamp on it and send it back..."It's steak I take what I get." was the response.

9/26/2008 1:43 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to break it to you guys, but "For Institutional Use Only" is stamped on food, especially meat, but had nothing to do with the quality. Its stamped like that so that it doesn't have to be labeled with the same information that food at retail must be. Chances are, its the same quality, but its just packaged differently.

Also, there is no such thing as "USDA Grade B" - the grades are Prime, Select, Choice, etc. Prime is what you get at Mortons, Select is what you get at a good butcher counter, if you know to ask for it.

9/26/2008 1:43 PM

 
Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

My favorite food story occurred on SEADRAGON (SSN584) in the mid sixties. We were fortunate enough to have the two best bakers in PACFLT on board and they decided to have a contest on who could make the best bread, sticky buns, cakes, etc. It was great until the CO and the SUPPO did an inspection and determined we had two days worth of flour on board with two more weeks at sea. The baking contest ended for the deployment although the sticky buns were still top notch. That same WESPAC we pulled into Naha, Okinawa and need staples. The only meat available was Kobe beef from the Air Force Officers Club at Kadena Air Base. We had steak, roast beef, etc. every day for the next two months. No one was interested in the traditional Steak Dinner at the club when we returned to port. We were all steaked out.
By and large, I have very fond memories of the quality of the food on the subs I served in. In New London, the cooks get to spend some time at Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island when in port to learn how to be chefs, not just cooks.

9/26/2008 2:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was Security Police at Barksdale Airforce base, I actually saw crates and boxes being stamped: "Rejected by U.S. Air Force." They were then placed back on the C-130 supply plane to be sent back from where ever they came from. The services SNCOs, were in charge of receiving and inspections of food parcels and supply. On a big receiving day, a two man security team had to accompany the supply trucks from the flight line to the chow hall and supply bldg. (Oh what fun duty that was..Geez.)

I once asked a senior supervisor (A Services Master Sergeant) what happens to the rejected crates and supplies once they leave our flight line. He said with a sneer, that they go to either the Navy or to a federal prison. Note: USAF Services is a cross between an S.K. and a C.S. in the Navy.

Naturally, I could understand why our unwanted food stuffs might go to a prison facility, but why the fuck would we send our unwanted supply issue to the Navy? That SOP was kinda dicked up in my opinion. But apparently it actually did happen.

Interesting tales here Gents.

Thanks,
SSGT J. Casey

9/26/2008 3:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gentlemen: As I good nuke I looked up ref (a) and found the USDA Labeling Requirements Guide at

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Labeling_Requirements_Guide.pdf

I quote:
Immediate containers (e.g., bags, cardboard cartons, tray packs, and film bags enclosing processed or prepared meat products) can be considered “protective coverings” and exempt from marking and labeling requirements if placed within a shipping container that meets all mandatory labeling requirements (product name, handling statement, legend, establishment number, net weight, ingredients statement, signature line, nutrition facts, and safe handling instructions when required). 50 This exemption does not include the mandatory identification and marking required for the inner container of the meat food product. The shipping container that contains exempt immediate containers must be marked “Packed for Institutional Use Only” or with an equivalent statement of intended limited distribution from one federal establishment to another. The unlabeled product within the shipping container may not be removed for further distribution nor displayed or offered for sale at retail.
For unprocessed meat cuts, transparent film bags enclosing individual meat cuts in an unprocessed state can be considered “protective coverings” and exempt from the mandatory labeling requirements when
- 15 -
required information appears on the shipping container in which the


So, bottom line: all of these labelings "seen with my own eyes" are likely a variation on a theme of labeling bulk packaged government transferred food.

9/26/2008 3:44 PM

 
Blogger David said...

My worst memories deal with kangaroo meat from Australia, croc meat from Papua New Guinea and vegemite from Australia.

Can't complain too much 'cuz Brisbane was worth it all.

We got a great MSC named John Keiper.
Big Boss Man was his name and fattening up the crew was his game.
Best damn stuffed pork chops I ever ate in the Navy.
The Bull Nuke told him "these pork chops are fucked up according to Navy standards". The Boss Man was bewildered and asked him what the problem was. The Bull just smiled and told him that he didn't think the Navy allowed cooks to make pork chops that you could cut with just your fork...


Is the food for freedom program still around?

9/26/2008 4:01 PM

 
Blogger Budd said...

Food stories.... let's see..
Sometimes the lettuce would turn brown before we even left port. That was great.
I have seen many packages of food that were clearly past thier expiration.
One time during a food onload I almost dropped a tub of icecream on the XO who was coming up the stairs.
Probably my favorite was when I was FSAing and the cook chief was particularly brilliant. When serving dessert we ran out of whipped cream, so this quick thinking chief got a tub of sour cream and added sugar. I've never had anything more disgusting in my life. This was the same chief who when watching "The Passion of the Christ" (which is in Hebrew and has no music) told someone to turn the volume up. Brilliant guy.

9/26/2008 6:30 PM

 
Blogger Randy said...

The only time I ever experienced bad food on my fast attack was when we loaded stores in Italy.

The cook dropped the Brussel Sprouts in the pot and as the ice holding them together began to melt the cigarette butts frozen in the food began to rise to the surface. Between that and the freezer burned horse meat the Italians sold us we ended up eating a lot of fried macaroni the rest of the deployment.

9/26/2008 7:37 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

To my friend the SMAG:

Please leave out the moniker "Free the Nukes". It's already reserved, and a very touchy subject around here.

That nickname was taken by a former Electrician from the Oly, who's whereabouts are currently unknown.

From one former semi-mechanical ass grabber to another,

AFELT2JV

9/26/2008 7:51 PM

 
Blogger FT2(ss) said...

I remember loading a can that had a history of being onloaded and offloaded onto my old boat. It had mission dates written on it from well before the extended overhaul. I always wondered where that can ended up after I left.

A lot of times we would write notes on our cans. Nothing really special just because we were bored and when you were in the Aux tank you didn't have to put up with some of the cooks. Well some of these cans wound up becoming unfit for consumption due to rust. Somehow rust on the cans means its unsafe.

Well after offloading some of these we head on down to San Diego. Did a small stores load and guess what was waiting for us on the dock. Our old cans that we got rid of.


But there was food we would reject. After one underway for some reason the cooks made beets every day. And there is an interesting flaw in our ventilation. If the food smelled good, cookies or bread(you get the idea) It would go to the Sonar shack. if it smelled like crap, beets, or anything made by 3 of our cooks. Would come out in Fire Control.

Next stores load a very odd amount of miss handling of many cans of beets happened.

I would rather have burned popcorn on the Sub rather than ever smell beets.


Though to be honest we had some cooks that could turn crap into great food. One return from port we had the wives onboard for a fancy dinner.our senior chief made this cashew encrusted pork tenderloin. i swear i have never had anything that tasted that good.

9/26/2008 9:59 PM

 
Blogger SonarMan said...

My first boat, an old boomer out of Holy Loch, food was a risky proposition. I saw the boxes of meat stamped "for institutional use only". We could only guess what that meant. The meat had date stamps from the Viet Nam War, nearly 20 years before it got to us.

One particular stores load, I personally handled olive-drab, generic style lettered, colored tin cans of dehydrated shrimp with a date stamp of sometime during WWII. I had to look twice to see if I had read it right. What the hell do you do with dehydrated shrimp?

Fresh would be gone/inedible in about 2/3 weeks because it took so long to get to HL from the states on those TAK ships. After my first patrol, I ate every single piece of fruit I could, especially citrus, even grapefruit, which I'm not particularly fond of. It gave me the squirts, but it was worth it. We would be out of milk by the 3rd day out.

We had to eat on the tender during turnover. I'll never forget the green hotdogs swimming in oil-scummy water. Based on the comments above, I know where all the good food on the tender went.

Once I got to the T-Hulls, the food got better, but the cooks got worse. We were able to get brand name foods, condiments, etc., and amenities were better, i.e. microwaves. We got catering grade/supermarket grade food, and the fresh would last almost halfway through patrol. Milk would last about 2 weeks. Then they would break out the UHT milk. It was OK for cold cereal, but it wasn't very palatable for drinking straight out of the box. The Hersheys chocolate UHT, however would nearly cause fistfights, it was in such demand. The cooks tried to ration it, but we would have none of it. So they left it out until it was gone.

The cooks, however couldn't boil water. One night when I was duty chief, the night baker (an MSSA) put a metal spoon in the microwave - twice. After the arcing and sparking was over, I kicked him off the boat and called the Chop. The Duty Officer wasn't thrilled with that (the COB had something to say about it, too), but I wasn't about to let him blow up the galley. Those couple of patrols, until the cooks learned how to cook, I learned to take cans of spaghetios and beefaroni and cupanoodles for those "extra special meals". That was the time on the USS RI that we coined the motto "Bread, the other white meat."

For the most part, my opinion is that the food on submarines was generally decent. The only thing they served that I avoided was the seafood, because I'm allergic to it. And with the exception of that time I described above, I never had a meal bad enough to throw away.

9/27/2008 12:21 AM

 
Anonymous Silver Water Oasis said...

I think my best vignette of Navy food was the brown lettuce on fast cruise. We just been out too long to still have green lettuce while fast cruising for 48 hrs.

9/27/2008 8:07 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason that the food is better in the Tender CPO mess is entirely the fault of the CPO Mess Caterer who is usually a boot Chief. The mess will take their food allowance and purchase from out in town, not from the navy.

9/27/2008 8:38 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more Sub food story...

On SSBN619B during off crew in Charleston following first patrol in 64, the skipper Al Whittle sent the CHOP to purchase all the beef products for the next patrol from butcher in town. The meat was cut, packaged, then frozen, and shipped to Rota Spain for the boat. After relieving Gold crew Commodore CSS16 told our skipper none of his boats were going to have "special deals" for food and he would take "6 way beef" just like everbody else. Our meat shipped form Charleston wound up in the Commodores Mess. About a week later I was in the crews mess getting a cup of coffee and the skipper walks in and tells the Chief Cook, in a loud voice, so all could hear, that the Commodore was bringing Lt. General Lewis "Chesty" Puller USMC Ret. and wife on the boat for supper and a tour. "I want the toughest, oldest, most freezer burned steaks you've got prepared for the wardroom dinner tonite." We loved him for doing that.

Keep a zero bubble.....

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

9/27/2008 11:33 AM

 
Blogger Subvet said...

"The reason that the food is better in the Tender CPO mess is entirely the fault of the CPO Mess Caterer who is usually a boot Chief. The mess will take their food allowance and purchase from out in town, not from the navy."

I have a hard time believing that as the tender I was on was in La Madd, anyone familiar with that area knows local beef is never of good quality. That might account for the popularity of seafood there. Despite that, the CPO mess aboard the Orion ate like kings, the beef was always topshelf.

9/27/2008 12:59 PM

 
Anonymous Guinness said...

My least favorite meal was "Liver Fiesta", or as the crew called it, "Festering Liver". After we had it 3 times in the same month (Chop claimed, "The crew likes it!"), CO ordered Chop to take a survey. Turns out that there were about 5 people who liked it, one of them was the Chop. Never had it again after that.

9/27/2008 5:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember in 92 when the OMAHA ran out of food. What was it about that year?

Anyways in Sasebo we picked up our group of spooks and only the standard fresh stores load. We ended getting extended on station a couple of times. We ran out of everything. I don't even remember the amount of times we reused that last coffee grinds in the ER. We got to the point where we were sticking tea bags in our mouths for the caffeine fix until those ran out.

Cans were being broken out that had probably been down there since the ship was commissioned. We even starting eating the Jasper Cross-Eyed Kid peanut butter straight and talk about a mad dash when the MS announced the last of the bread.

I remember trying to decide how we can carve up our biggest guys. My RT decided to help(?) things by sharpening the fireaxe in ERUL.

We ended up pulling into Yoko and having the Commodore congratulate the MSs and the Chop on the cleanliness of the galley. Of course it was clean, there was only one box of ribs left in the freezer.

Even though the rest of Engineering was shutting down and bring on shore power, my buddy and I were allowed to go on a McD's run for everyone. We definitly help clean out their inventory that day. That was probably the best Big Mac I had ever had, though I could only finish half of it due to stomach shrinkage.

A Former Bitter ELT, (sorry AFELT2JV)

9/27/2008 5:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was pizza night. I never thought that PEZ or sardines can be considered toppings.

9/27/2008 5:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To SubVet:
I have a hard time believing that as the tender I was on was in La Madd, anyone familiar with that area knows local beef is never of good quality. That might account for the popularity of seafood there. Despite that, the CPO mess aboard the Orion ate like kings, the beef was always topshelf.


Don't know about LaMad, but it sure was that way on the Cable in Chareston in the 80s.

9/27/2008 7:54 PM

 
Blogger geezernuke said...

The only time I can remember complaining about the food on the Boats I was on was when a few of our crew hypnotised all the live lobster and had them all standing on their heads lined up on deck topside. I considered it an unacceptable risk for one not being able to get a second helping of the steamed bugs at dinner.

9/27/2008 8:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This topic reminds me of a lady poster on Rontini's BBS who always puts the following at the end of her posts:

"Stealth restaurants travel beneath oceans from the Arctic Circle to the Equator and beyond. Diners praise the chefs as among the best in the world."

It always makes me laugh when I see it. She seems like a nice enough lady but obviously hasn't eaten 4 meals a day for 3 or 4 months at the same restaurant!

Anyway, the only good thing about bad meals is that your relief comes up earlier if the meal sucks. That's also good clue to head straight to the rack or break into your private food reserve.

9/28/2008 10:50 AM

 
Blogger Subvet said...

To anonymous, "Don't know about LaMad, but it sure was that way on the Cable in Chareston in the 80s."

Pardon me for not differentiating from a tender stationed stateside and one on forward deployment.

I've no doubt the situation you initially described ( CPO Mess Caterer getting supplies from the local community) was true whenever a superior product could be had. I seem to recall hearing that the local drycleaners did a land office business from the Lake when she was in Charleston in the '70's.

Bottom line, all sailors know how to take care of themselves and their shipmates.

9/28/2008 11:18 AM

 
Blogger David said...

what about 5 Spice Chicken?
Salt,Pepper,Salt,Pepper,Salt

Corned Beef = Baboon Ass

Pizza = Ketchup On A Kimwipe


And what the hell was Scotch Woodcock supposed to be?

9/28/2008 7:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a non-qual-rider-scum-spook, I was able to sample the cuisine on a number of boats.

Range of experience went from an excellent boat (the Cinci in the latter 80's) where the food was superior, the baker was the best (Did you find your doggy yet?) and the cooks were all fine people.

The worst overall was the boat where my first meal was dinner. We dropped in on the boat from a rubber boat and I didn't see a plan of the day posted. I turned to the guy next to me and asked what was for dinner? He responded, "Brake Pads."... huh? "Just wait, you'll see."

He was right. The pork chops were suitable for immediate installation on most american made sedans. The boat later staged a wonderful galley fire during another meal when the ... training aids/italian sausage... slopped over and the grease exploded. Yes, it's true, the spook next to me pushed the XO out of the way while they were fighting the fire to put soft-serve on his cake.

The most annoying boat (back on topic here) was one of my last, where the chop and the MSC forgot to order stores for deployment. True. So, the got a quick and dirty "war load" from the boys in Groton. Bug juice ran low, no soft drinks, meat that had been in the freeze since JFK signed the check for it and a captain's mast on the horizon for the MSC. We came aboard with fresh lemons and ice cream. That night we had fresh lemonade for dinner. Turns out the box of lemons were for the skipper's iced tea.

So, the chief got s*(* hammered for his mast, the chop lost a career and we had elderly/bad food for the month I was on board. The rest of the cooks were good guys, but the food massively sucked. Thanks to God for the stores Load in LaMad, because without it month number two might have been the worst in history for me.

9/28/2008 8:44 PM

 
Blogger King said...

Seriously, how does the entire chain of command forget to order a stores load for deployment? Even if the Chop and MSC were morons, you'd think the XO would track that kind of thing, and perhaps the CO would occasionally ask the status of it? Maybe the COB would ask when it was, as it's kind of a shipwide evolution? This is really indicative of a boat that's likely severely screwed up in every department.

9/28/2008 9:49 PM

 
Blogger Zoe Brain said...

One word : Durian.
Well, it was fresh fruit...

9/28/2008 10:55 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming back from a Med run, ran out of flour two days out of Norfolk. Brownies were on the planned (and approved) menu, and the CO was a stickler for following the plan. When brownies didn’t show up for desert, the CO raised a fit. Chop said no more flour. CO said – don’t care, get me some brownies. A half our later, a plate of brown stuff arrived. CO took one. A comment from one of the JOs – “I don’t know much about cooking, but I’m pretty sure brownies need flour.”

Chicken Pot Pie. For a couple years, we had chick pot pie on the menu, it came out in a pot with a ladle, with a side of rice. I was always curious, and finally asked why it didn’t have the crust. The Chop responded it was made per the menu card, so please take questions elsewhere. Show me the card, came the simple response. A few seconds later the chop shoves the card in my face and says, “See – nothing on here about making crust.” Pointing out the part of the card that says “1 of 2” and asking about card #2 resulted in a little more supervision of the MSC.

Coffee Filters. Coming back from the south, ran out of filters. Once it was noticed we were running low, filters were used many times before being thrown out. Finally they were all gone. Many of the crew donated their t-shirts to be boiled, then cut up for filters. A few t-shirts were unacceptable, but some of the daring tried them anyway. A whole new level of “flavored coffee.”

9/29/2008 5:56 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A related story:

On Augusta in 2004 or so, some guy convinced squadron and our chop to put a cappuccino maker in crews mess for awhile. The machine used pods instead of ground coffee, but it was pretty good. As a JO I got plenty of well deserved jabs about making myself a cappuccino before watch (I know officers…), but more then one of the guys who gave me grief wanted to learn how to use it by the end of the run. It didn’t get a ton of use, but there were several guys who would stand watch on full cup of espresso (they took their logs in record time). Incidentally powdered milk foams just fine.

I think the guy who gave it to us used to be a crack dealer because the machine was a free trial and the first half dozen or so boxes of pods were free. After that each pod worked out to about .50 cents - better then Starbucks, but not in the Chops budget. After about a month the machine disappeared.

9/29/2008 7:36 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on four boats and there were some bad cooks, some good cooks and on occasion, a great cook.
On my first Westpac, we ran out of salt on day 30-something. When we got back to San Diego and did the off load, we found it stowed in the box girders. The lead cook still got a NAM.
On one boat we had an E-2, non-rate, night crank who was the quiet type. He would give little tips to the night baker about how to improve his baking. It turns out this kid grew up in a bakery that his dad owned and was an awesome baker. He was elevated to God status in no time and the things he made were sinful.
The cook job was not one I would ever take on. You could make the best meal of your career and some a-hole who was hating the Navy that day would find something wrong with it. It was a no-win situation a lot of times. However, Mid-rats were usually safe, Ravioli, Sandwiches and Beeny-Weeny’s.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

9/29/2008 8:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Durian? On a boat? No, I don't believe it. You, sir, have taken things one step too far...

9/29/2008 5:44 PM

 
Blogger King said...

Ugh, I almost always hated mid rats the worst. It seems almost everything comes out of a can or a box. I don't eat that crap at home, and I damn sure don't want to have to eat it at work. What's worse, generic Chef Boyardee or Beef Stew and rice? Hmmm....

The other problem with boat food is too much fried stuff, it's no wonder that so many sailors are fat.

9/29/2008 9:42 PM

 
Blogger pbsterling said...

I too have personally seen the "Rejected USAF" stamp.

After awhile I started to look at boat food as something that had one purpose - fill a void - whether it tasted good or not was not important.

I guess that is why I usually lost 10-15 lb every deployment.

10/01/2008 5:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember one midrats where the cook dumped a can of ravioli in the pan and forgot to remove the lid of the #10 can.
SOme disgruntled nuke almost dove through the serving window of the galley.
This was on a 672 class boat so you can imagine how funny that was...

10/01/2008 2:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On my first boat we loaded several pieces of frozen meat marked "REJECTED BY AIR FORCE"

10/02/2008 3:16 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found this site looking for my old boat but found this a fun trip down memory lane. Here is my story of sub food and I do not blame the MS’s for this. We were on a med/pac run. We were only two weeks into the run when the “Needs of the Navy” redirected us to another location of the world. We missed our first port so we could not bring on more food. The long and the short of it was we ran out of butter, flour, plastic cow, beef and pork. With that being said we did have chicken and oatmeal, but the oatmeal would be the straw that broke the camels back. I was sitting next to my friend (who was eating oatmeal) and with a smart a*# grin said “Hey I think your oatmeal is alive”. All of our remaining dry stores where infested with weevils. Now things have made a turn for the worst, moral is now the problem. Did I mention the “Needs of the Navy” but chicken with a side of chicken for two weeks is a bit much. I guess I should also mention the gentlemen in agang who chlorinated the water to the point you could not drink it. We pulled off station and made contact with a surface ship asking for a small boat transfer of food. Now this is a no shi**ter, they sent over a box with a quart of milk and a loaf of bread. The captain immediately got us off station for food. I remember the OOD not even waiting for the permission to pull in. The land facility came across the radio saying “I hope this is worth it Captain”, the captain only said one word “YES”.

10/02/2008 8:42 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my sailor said that he had seen the "rejected by the airforce" on the food packaging

10/16/2008 10:35 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During stores load for westpac on USS COLUMBUS (1996) in Pearl Harbor, the boxes of sliders that were being passed down the line all were stamped "Rejected by the Arizona Penal Authority." Did not stop anyone from having a slider after field day for the next several months. Got to miss those sliders!

10/17/2008 9:41 AM

 
Anonymous NHSparky said...

My first boat (Buffalo) back in the late 80's had some decent cooks on it, as long as they weren't passed out in the head dying, crapping blood. We had to pull off Op to medevac that one.

After my first Op, (first underway at that) stores load had a few "questionable" meat or meat-like products, but nothing stamped unfit or rejected. Just the usual everyone stopping to rip open the first case of fresh produce to cross the brow and everyone digging in like starving seagulls--in this case it was lettuce. Nothing funnier that watching a sonar tech named "Meat" gnawing on a head of lettuce like it was an oversized apple.


Also, one day in port while the coners were four-section and the nukes were 12/12 shiftwork, the boat got several dozen donuts delivered around 4 am. We ate EVERY donut save one jelly-filled, which we placed on a plate at the CO's spot in the wardroom. Memo to coners and O-gangers: do not piss off nukes working port/report.


My other boat (Pogy) was a lot more interesting. Seems one of the MS2's had a bit of a "gangsta" issue and kept getting busted coming on base with a loaded 9mm in his glove box. Two NAM's later, they sent him on his merry way.


One op we ran out of everything early, including eggs, by like day 15. I guess Yoko had a shortage on food that week. So we ate (if you can call it that) freeze-dried everything for every meal for the next seven weeks. They had one particular breakfast called "slumgolium", which was really nothing more than freeze-dried eggs, potatoes (poker chips), and maybe some meat scrambled together. We pulled into Guam and some folks off the Holland I still knew (did a radcon tour between Buffy and Pogy) remarked how much thinner I looked. Sure enough, I got on a scale and it seems I'd lost 30 lbs on that one underway.


The ASVAB scores of the cooks on that boat MIGHT have been double-digit had they all been combined. One genius in particular, when asked why cereal was not put out for breakfast, remarked, "But if I put out cereal the crew will just eat it!" This is the same kid, when taking trash down the pier one night in SD, passed by the gf of one of the electricians. Her first words to him: "I didn't know they let people with Down's Syndrome in the Navy."


But the worst I ever actually heard was from an ELT off the Sam Houston around 1990, when he told us of the time they were heading back off Op but got extended for three weeks. They were already out of most stuff, and for the last two weeks, all they had left was flour, yeast, three-bean salad, and green bug juice. So for every meal it was green bug and three-bean salad sandwiches.

10/18/2008 11:45 AM

 
Blogger Jon said...

Now, I was a skimmer nuke, specifically on a cruiser, so we didn't really have all that much trouble with food, from what I remember. Really, we had the opposite problem as far as I am concerned in that the food that we had was too good, and extremely fattening, so weight became a problem for a lot of us (myself included).

However, we did have some things run out over time... milk was one of the things that would go out (I know, cry me a river... we had fresh milk for at least two weeks usually...)

The one thing that I actually looked forward to happening was when we would run out of sliced bread and the MS's would have to start baking it themselves. I found that it was actually better than the pre-packaged stuff...

12/15/2009 3:00 PM

 
Anonymous ConerBoy2k said...

Yes, it is true. We received meat that was rejected by the U.S. federal prison system. I remember on more than one occasion loading stores and seeing that stamp. If you wore khaki the whole time you were in you probably wouldn't have had the chance to see that.

4/04/2010 9:04 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son is in the navy on a destroyer and he has seen multiple times food being loaded onto the ship stamped rejected by the "state" federal prison system. They get some of the worst food molded bread and when they are out on deployment it is worse you work very hard and most have very dangerous jobs defending our country yet they get terrible food and not enough to hold their body weight. They live it ip in dc yet our military pays the price of protecting our country puttin their life on the line everyday I wish someone would look into these practices

1/23/2013 8:18 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a violation of federal law to use stamps or tags other than approved for federal inspection. That means states, local jurisdictions etc can do their own inspections but must comply with federal standards and procedures. Thus, "Rejected by Federal Prison" or "Not suitable for prison consumption" stamp would be a violation of federal law. I would suspect a midnight tweaker running around with his/her personal stamp. "For Institutional Use Only" means that the food is a bulk item under Institutional Meat Purchase Specification (IMPS) and does not require individual food identification stamps (as required for consumer sales). If a boat finds on receipt questionable food (i.e. refrigerated food that is too warm) they would be required to use the DD1608 Unsat Material Report. If the food got too warm on the boat then its time for TDU Ops ...

3/30/2013 9:51 AM

 
Blogger Miami Vending Machines said...

Keep it up:) great work. thanks for sharing it.

regards
Miami Vending Machines

4/30/2013 12:08 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never saw the rejection stamps but what I personally handled during a stores load was an unsliced side of bacon which was stamped "USDA GRADE 'D' BUT EDIBLE" in blue iridescent ink.

A shipmate of mine was (Forward ET) on the Minneapolis St. Paul for "Subfast 8X". I can't remember the year. They had a new Chop who spent many extra hours calculating portions based on a three section watch. They ran out of flour and sugar within two weeks of getting underway for a "Northern Run". The last couple of weeks was spent eating popcorn and caramel topping. No fat boys.

We had an MS1 who had a friend in Maine. He had a crate of live lobsters packed in sea weed then flown to Patrick AFB for us at the Cape. I thought it was cool but I don't do lobster.

During USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) BLUE Production Evaluation Missile testing, we had just about every Congressman, Senator, and their posses, come out for tours and angles and dangles. "MSCS Red, the Best G** Da** Cook in the Navy *****" as he introduced himself was the head stewburner. He and his crew dis a great job when the VIPs had lunch but the budget couldn't buy good food all the time. When VIPs were not onboard, we at chicken. Chicken Blown Apart was the main dish. Every piece of chicken had at least one broken bone. We had chicken so often, the COB went into the wardroom one day at lunch and asked the Skipper to have a word. He started to talk then cleared his throat...cleared his throat again....brought his hand up to his mouth and coughed. That's when he released the torn up napkin he was holding in his fist. It looked as though he had coughed up chicken feathers. "Captain, the crew has had all the chicken they can take." "I got it, COB." We had steak the next day.

Then there was the time the Western VP of Omaha Steak rode us for a day. He donated 200# of Omaha Steak. One night one of the cooks, allegedly, made it into Beef Burgundy. I always liked that dish but this time it was unfit to eat. I'm pretty sure it got served during off crew thru his personal catering business.

Ravioli - Pillows of Death
Beef Porcupines - Nairobi Trail Markers

5/07/2013 10:12 PM

 

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