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The PT Boat Forum ª PT Boats of WWII ª  PT Boats - General

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 Author  Topic: PT Cooks
Marty Johnson

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Dec 7, 2006 - 8:52pm
This is a followup to my post about "Chow". Earl was kind enough to email me and defend PT Cooks after ,y suggestion they weren't all that talented a group. After offering my apologies he generously gave me permission to post his emails which detail the jobs of the cooks on PT's and how difficult it was to put out nourishing, appealing chow for the crew. I hope you enjoy these anecdotes and descriptions.

From Earl, cook on PT 108:
"i was a cook on pt 108.i would like to try and "clear up" our somewhat bad reputaion for the cooking.we cooks did try our best to make the meals as palatable as possible but since we were on the move so much we could only cook what we got rationed to us. it seems like we onlt got what was left after the other services got theirs.we did not get was either dehydrated or dried,etc.yes, we got a LOT of spam and canned corned beef,canned pork sausage,canned vienna sausage.that was about the limit of thje meats.we tried every way we could to kill the taste of the still turned out like spam. my best recipe was to make a tomato sauce,with onions and drained canned peas.i fried the spam part way and put it in a pan and poured the sauce over it.they men sort of liked that.they even used bread to sop up the sauce.another cook buddy of mine and i even went to the barges that were unloaded from the ships and sort of borrows what we could,put it into a dingy and rowed back to the boat.we divied it up and came up with chocolate milk,choc.candy and of all things some more pork and beans.i had the skipper stop at an australian korvette to try and beg fresh meat from them.we gave up all our cigarettes for fresh chickens,beef and liver.cooked it all up(before it went bad from the heat) and started eating.was excellent and the men really appreciated it.we only got one fresh egg the whole time i was there.had to go up to the base galley and stand in line to get and and another line to cook it the way we wanted.sorry we cooks seemed to have gotten that bad reputation somewhere but we could only do the best we could with what we were given.we tried very hard to cook,in that hot galley while underway,holding on with one hand and cooking with the other and then serving the meals and cleaning up after. all while still underway.hope this helps a litrtle in behalf of all the cooks that tried to do the best we could for our shipmates.after all, we had to eat the same meals too. a lot more to being am cook than cooking."

And then he followed up with some more after I told him about my Dad telling me how he traded a caputured Japanese rifle for some eggs from a destroyer.

"your dad was right though about being sick of the same dehydrated,powdered and unpalatable food we had to eat.we cooks also got tired of trying to cook it and make it eatable.we, in a way,enjoyed trying to make it better for the men,and ourselves.after all,we experimented by tasting it first ourselves.i will say most of the officers were first class,among them your dad. they thought of the men in every way and tried to make it easier for us.i started out from numea,new caledonia up thru guadalcanal,tulagi,green island,new guinea,thru the other islands to emirau.from there i shipped back to the states for 3o days leave and was shipped back the phillipines.ended up at ormoc in ron 12.and then home,when the war ended.i live in maryland and attended several bull sessions here.never went to the annual ones,due to my wifes health . i am unable to attend the reunion this year.the lack of attendance on our part is that we are now getting OLD and dying off.not many left.i think your idea of the spam feast is an excellent one.why not go a little further and make it a real meal and show a little of each item.have a breakfast of spam,dehydrated potatoes,spam sauce,bread,coffee.yo/u can also make the dehydrated eggs as a side dish.some added the dehydrated onions to can have the canned corned beef for dinner with dehy potatoes and string beans,bread and applesauce for dinner.don;t forget the Tuesday and Saturday specials for breakfast- baked beans and corn bread or rolls.use the canned butter. the guys liked the pancakes with jelly or maple syrup along with the thick bacon and coffee for breakfast too.for going out on patrol i used to make up a lot of sandwiches for the men to eat when coming off watch--i stood w atches too and also was loader on the aft 20 mm and spotter in the cockpit twin fifties--peanut butter and jelly,SPAM,corned beef and potted ham.ALWAYS HAD COFFEE ON.i think the splinters like the action part of the boats.they all want to know what it was like and put themselves into one ever thinks of the food but it is a very important part of a pt boaters life. there was a lot more involved in being a cook. we had to know how many were going to be on patrol.we had to make list of supplies for the patrol.we hasd to go up to the base galley to draw the supplies and take it back to the boat.we also had to keep the bilges in galley cleaned,etc.. yes, you have my permission to post my e mails to you.they are a little long though and sort of "dry" to those that might not be interested in this part of a pt boaters they say "we had our ups and downs".
my respects to you for trying to keep up the interest in pt boats and some of the other things aboard the boats that are not usually thought of.i admit that then food was not the best but i never heaerd of anyone dying from it.maybe you can get some of the others to tell their own individual stories about their own duties aboard the boats.should be interestin
again, by best and thanks earl cook pt108 ron5
hope this wasn't too boring"

Thanks Earl.

Marty Johnson
2nd Generation
PT 168 RON 10
In Memory of LT(JG) Martin A. Johnson

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Steve Tuhy

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Dec 8, 2006 - 6:13am

Steve Tuhy

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Will Day

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Dec 8, 2006 - 8:57am
I'LL SECOND THAT, STEVE! And Earl, thanks for sharing some of your memories with us; they are anything but boring.


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Mike Montana

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Mike Montana  Posted on: Dec 10, 2006 - 12:02pm
Thanks Earl,
Thanks Steve

Would love to see more of the same.

"Self doubt clips the wings of Hope"

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