Submarines are out at sea for months on end, but that does not mean that its crew subsists only on processed meals that come straight out of a package or a can.
At any one time, more than twenty submarine crew members are on duty, on any of a number of watch stations. There is, however, one post that is held in esteem: that of the submarine cook. It is his duty to ensure that the more than a hundred men working aboard the sub are sufficiently nourished – and that their tastes are satisfied – in the half a year or so that they spend at sea.
The cook’s job starts even before they go out to sea, as he shops for enough supplies to feed 120 men for six months. To do that, he must have already laid out a plan for every meal in the submarine that he is to prepare – something that is certainly not a simple matter.
He brings on board fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs and milk, but since do not keep for more than a few weeks, he also brings on board a whole lot of canned and frozen food. Despite the need to work with something that has undergone processing, the submarine cook unleashes his creativity and manages to whip out meals that may even remind the crew members of one that they could have in their own kitchen at home: eggs, pancakes and cereal for breakfast; deli sandwiches, hamburgers, and pizza for lunch; and pasta, steak, chicken, and pork dishes for dinner.
Submarine crews have four meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight rations – also called “midrats” – which consist of leftovers.