Tuesday, June 07, 2005

submarine cooks, and why you gotta love them

seawolf had a cook report on board after they decommed the halibut. his name was ron payton, and i can state with no qualifiers that he was the best cook in the submarine fleet. he came into the navy a full chef, and was enlisted as a second class, E-5 for you non-nav types. ron was simply the best damned stew burner i've ever met.
ron would come onboard the boat during the weekends carrying his ditty bag. the topside watches learned early on to not investigate the clink and clank of bottles knocking together.
on the weekends, breakfast was served from around 0700 to i think 0900, then first call for lunch went out at 1100. might be wrong, but that sounds right. ron would start breakfast, and by 0900, he already had dinner preps in progress. his beef rouladin with burgundy sauce was unbelievable. i've eaten it in the restaurant he came from, and his on the boat was better. the 4 star hotel/restaurant in san francisco lost a treasure when he decided to enlist.
so here's ron, slaving away making coc au vin using a fine napa valley white and cornish game hens, stuffed with a wild rice and mushroom stuffing. i have to admit that there wasn't a dry mouth anywhere on the boat from about 1200 on, when he started the roasting process.
ron was so good that it wasn't hard to find guys to swap a weekday duty day for a weekend one if ron was the duty cook.
so dinner comes around, and the crews mess is packed. huge plates of these beautiful birds come out of the skullery, and we dig in. no conversation, no gabbing, just gustagatory heaven. one of the nuke ET's by the name of Johnny B. was diligently shredding the meat off of the carcass, creating a pile of game hen on top of his rice. next, he reached for the HUNT'S Table Sauce, a spicy version of katsup that i swear he'd pour into his oatmeal in the morning. the mess crank saw john reach for the hunt's, and told ron.
BAM.....out of the galley comes the cook, meat cleaver raised over his head, screaming at the top of his lungs if one drop of that crap hit is bird, ol' john b. was a dead man. screaming, yelling every vulgarity in the book, ron picked john up by the back of his collar, and shoved him out of the crews mess. damnedest thing i'd ever seen.
the next duty day, there were no bottles of hunt's to be found on the boat.

anyone else have cook stories? i've got hundreds. we had a guy who had to be one of the ugliest men on submarines as the cook when i first reported onboard. the only reason i remember him was that woffie was as bucktoothed as a cartoon character, and he was always studying japanese. he married a japanese lady, and intended on retiring in japan. the whole bucktooth, study japanese thing struck this young sailor as too humorous for words.
doesn't take much to amuse a sailor i guess


At 4:44 AM, Blogger Alex Nunez said...

I don't think I can overstate how much I'm enjoying these sea stories you guys are posting...

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Rob Booth said...


I'm not as salty as you all, I was a CTI deployed as part of direct support teams. The crew had a technical term for us, Effing Riders.

Anyway, I blogged a sea story one time, here's how it goes.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Va Beach Herb said...

Re Submarine Cooks:

I've seen some great ones like John McDonald who was a third generation baker. John made absoulutely the best rolls and sticky buns I have ever tasted. He was named sailor of the year for his cooking and the impact it had on morale. Then again there was "Jism Jim" and "Killer Kell" two guys who tried hard but just didn't have a clue. Kell made a pie crust that was so bad,...Well let me explain. We had a contest ot raise money for MWR. You could pay to win a chance to throw a pie in somebody's face on "half-way night". When someone threw one of Kell's pies at a guy during the event the crust cut the guys face and drew blood. Jism Jim made the worst bread known to man. I complained to him one time about it and told him that if ai tried I could make it stick to the bulkhead. He didn't believe me so I pressed a slice to the bulkhead and drew a bullseye and rings on it. Later someone took a dart and stuck it in the slice and it stayed for a day until the COB made them take it down.


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