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The St. Charles herald. [volume] (Hahnville, La.) 1873-1993, December 07, 1918, Image 2

Image and text provided by Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, LA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85034322/1918-12-07/ed-1/seq-2/

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Uncle Sam's S
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Sea Cooks of the
.New Merchant Ma
rine Are Trained for
the Difficult Task
► OOKING at sea is not what it used
to be in the "good old days" that we
read about. "A hard biscuit and a
slice of cold salt beef," which Dana
mentions in "Two Years Before the
Mast" as his usual meal after a
long, hard watch off Cape Horn, is
no longer the diet of the American
merchant sailor.
The modern sailor mnn is well
fed, with plenty of fresh meat, vege
tables and soft bread, no matter what the voyage
he may be on. Modern refrigerating plants and
modern cooking methods are to be thanked for
On the hundreds of new ships which are being
built for the merchant marine by the United States
shipping board careful attention is paid to the
equipment for storing, cooking and serving food.
The government Is fully aware that sailors, like
soldiers, work best on well-filled stomachs.
Care is taken also that efficient men are em
ployed as cooks on the nation's new merchant
fleets. Good sea cooks are not numerous, even in
normal times. Having that fact in mind, the
United States shipping board, with the thorough
ness that marks all its efforts to create an un
equaled merchant marine, is engaged in training
an adequate number of cooks to man the galleys of
Its new ships. Young men of character and intelli
gence are chosen for instruction.
The training of cooks is part of the work done
by the shipping board's recruiting service. This
service has a fleet of training ships, based at At
lantic and Pacific ports, on all of which young
Americans are taught by experienced cooks the
serious business of preparing good food at sea.
Besides that, the board has special cooking schools
on two of the ships—the Meade, a former Atlantic
liner stationed at Boston, and the steamer Dorothy
Bradford, stationed at New York.
Cooking at sea is by no means the same thing as
cooking on land. The sea cook has several things
to bear in mind that the land cook, in hotel, restau
rant or home kitchen never has to think about.
Take for instance some of the precautions he
must observe as illustrated by the following
"Don'ts for Sea Cooks:"
Don't expect the stove to remain In a perpendicular
position, nor the cook. You are on a moving
platform, namely, the ship's deck, which often
rolls and sways with the motion of the ship in
the sea.
Don't fill a kettle full of liquid. The rolling of the
ship will cause the contents to slop over and
with fats may start a fire.
Don't allow pots and pans to get adrift As a guard
against this, the galley range has an iron rail
around it.
Don't permit dishes to be left on dresser or pantry
shelf as on land. If you do they will slide off
and be smashed. There are little pigeon-holçs
for each kind. Into which the dishes fit. there
being a high bar across the front, with a space
cut out through which a dish may be reached
and lifted out
On modern ships the serving is done by men in
the steward's department, called stewards, so the
sea cook of today needs none of that dexterity of
foot that one-legged John Silver showed as he
pegged his way aft with dinner along the slippery
deck in the brig of "Treasure Island."
It is a truism aboard ship that only a cook who
likes his Job is worth his salt A discontented cook
will spoil good food. This psychology is recog
nized by the shipping board in choosing young men
for training as cooks. Only those who volunteer
for the Job are wanted. There are plenty who do.
Out of 3,000 apprentices always on the training
ships a certain percentage may be counted on to
ask for training # as cooks.
These young men are serving on the nation's
"bridge of ships'' from patriotic motives. Some
may go back to their home towns when the war
Is over; but others will remain in the merchant
marine, and will take a part in the country's peace
expansion at sea as dignified as thut taken by
captain, mate or engineer on the ship on which
they serve. Nor will they suffer In a financial
way, for a chief cook gets $80 a month wages, be

* < i
sides his board and quarters—a net Income ot
$1,080 a year.
When the young law student, or bank teller, or
blacksmith's helper who has decided to become a
sea cook reports for instruction on the Meade or
the Bradford he is taken in hand by a wise old
chef who proceeds to teach him the A, B, C's of
sea cooking.
These embrace some general rules as to clean
liness and general galley practice, neatly type
written, under the head "Advice to the Cook."
The most particular housewife will find these
rules sound. Here are a few of them:
Great cleanliness, as well aa care ana attention,
are required from a cook.
Keep your hands very clean. Try to prevent your
nails from getting black or discolored.
Don't scatter in your galley; clean up as you go;
put scalding water into each saucepan or stewpan
as you finish using it. Dry your saucepans before
you put them on the shelf.
Never scrub inside of a frying pan; rub it with
wet silver-sand, rinse it out well with hot water
Wash your pudding cloths, scald and hang them
to dry directly after using them; air them before
you put them away, or they will be musty. Keep
In a dry place.
Be careful not to use a knife that has cut onions
until It has been cleaned.
Keep sink and sink-brush very clean; be careful
never to throw anything but water down sink. Do
not throw cabbage water down it; throw it away,
as Its smell is very bad.
Never have sticky plates or dishes. Use very hot
water for washing them; when greasy change It.
Clean coppers with turpentine and fine brlckdust,
rubbed on with flannel; polish them with chamois
and a little dry brlckdust.
Clean your tins with soap and whiting mixed,
made into a thick cream with hot water. Rub it on
with flannel; when dry, whisk It oft with clean
chamois and dry whiting.
Take care that you look at the meat the butcher
brings, to see If it is good.
Let there be no waste in the kitchen.
In Uncle Sam's school for sea cooks instruction
begins, logically, with cereals for breakfast. It
happens that the instruction chef on the Bradford
is a Scot, and when Jamie Nicol gets through
teaching a new hand the art of cooking oatmeal
there is nothing further to be said.
The novice is next shown how to fry eggs and
bacon, how to make hash and how to prepure
hamburg steak. These are his first steps.
He next gets a chance at dinner, with making
soups and roasting and boiling meats and cooking
various kinds of vegetables. In this work he
learns the mysteries of the big galley range — a
mighty stove, near seven feet long—of the steam
kettle that will cook soup for 100 men and of the
steam-oven cooker for vegetables.
If he is ambitious, the beginner takes a special
course in baking and pudding making, for real
puddings take the place of the traditional soggy
duff of old times on Uncle Sam's merchant ships.
Rice pudding is a favorite. Lucky is the young
man who learns to cook rice from a veteran who
acquired the art on a trader out of Rangoon or a
clipper from Calcutta.
"Never put your rice into tli« kettle until the
water is boiling, then scatter i* in." That Is the
standard rule for rice.
'Then we tell 'em to be sure never to put In the
sugar until the rice Is done," says the chef.
It has been found that six weeks of intensive
training will make a very good sea cook of a be
ginner if he shows proper aptitude.
"We can tell the nntural cook," says Jamie
Nlcol, "by the questions he asks. The good be
ginners ask all about everything and make notes.
We have a number who put everything they want
to remember down in a book. They will make
It is the ambition of most sea cooks to get on a
big ship. In wartime, cooking on the smallest
vessel is an essential calling, but the big vessel
with its modern equipment and efficiency organi
zation appeals strongly to the type of young man
now taking up sea cooking for Uncle Sam.
The large vessels carry several cooks. A fi,000
ton freighter has a chief cook, a second cook, who
is also baker, and a third cook, or cook's mate.
The chief cook is usually the meat cutter also,
and in these times scientific meat cutting, ns well
as cooking. Is required on the merchant fleet and
taught in the shipping board's floating cooking
According to a report of the national industrial
conference board, women in wartime employment
are showing a remarkable adaptability for ma
chine shop work. The report summarizes Infor
mation obtained from 131 establishments employ
ing 335,015 men and 49,823 women and including
10,657 women engaged in work formerly per-,
formed exclusively by men.
Their labor, snys the Christian Herald, has
ranged from the operation of drill presses and
lathes to coremaking, inspecting and assembling
mechanical products nnd performing many pre
cise machine operations. In the main It has been
confined to the lighter processes requiring rapid
ity and dexterity, and in such work their output
has proved equal to and frequently greater than
that of male employees. This was notably true
of women's work in automobile manufacture and
in a munition plant manufacturing fuses, where
women operatives on drill presses and milling
machines were from 25 to 50 per cent more rapid
One of the many pathetic side lights on our
war is reflected in advertisements published by
British shoe merchants, which vividly impress
upon one's mind the sacrifices that many of our
sons and their comrades are gallantly making.
Owing to the large number of crippled veterans
of the western front, London dealers In men's
footwear now sell single shoes for one-half the
prices of pairs. To quote an advertisement that
recently appeared in a fashionable illustrated
magazine: "Wartime boots at 26/3 a pair or
13/2 a boot. The single boots, rights or lefts, are
for those men who have been so unfortunate as
to lose a leg."—Popular Mechanics Magazine.
Among facts disclosed in the investigation con
ducted by the council of national defense to learn
the buying trend In civilian trade during the war
are a decided increase in sales of small diamonds
and a falling off in sales of sizes from one-half
carat upward. This is attributed to the great
Increase in price nnd the tendency of people to
buy diamonds by price alone; that is, they have,
perhaps. $75 or $100 to put in a stone, and It
brings them a much smaller jewel than the same
amount would procure a year or two ago.
Watches are in great demand, especially wrisi
watches, which have been enormously popularized
by the war.
"Senator Fudge relates an amusing anecdote—"
"If it's new, all right. But I don't care to
listen to a stale story just because it iu tacked
onto a United States senator."—Kansas CHf
., • ■
(Prepared by the United States Depart
ment of Agriculture.)
Outdoor storage cellars or caves are
excellent for the storage of many veg
etables. They are particularly desir
able on the farm, as they afford con
venient and inexpensive storage facili
ties for surplus vegetable crops that
otherwise might he lost. They possess
all the advantages of the storage
room in the basement and are superior
in many respects. The outdoor storage
cellar can he maintained at a uniform
temperature over a long period. It is
possible to keep the cellar cool and
quickly to reduce the temperature of
the stored product to the desired point
for safe storage by opening the door
during the night and closing it in the
morning before the air becomes warm.
Ail ventilators should likewise be kept
tightly closed until the outside air is
again cooler than that within the cel
lur, when they should he opened, un
less the outside temperature is so low
as to be dangerous. This safeguards
the product and adds to the efficiency
of the storage chamber. Vegetables
can he more conveniently placed in
such a cellar than in the storage room
In the basement of a dwelling.
When the chief use of the outdoor
storage cellar is for storing turnips,
beets, carrots and other root crops
commonly used as stock food it. should
be located near the stable, where the
material will be convenient for winter
feeding. When it is to be used for
vegetables for the table the cellar
should be accessible from the kitchen
at all times. If apples or other fruits
ere to be stored in an outdoor storage
cellar it Is desirable to have a two
cornpartment cellar, one for vegetables
and one for apples, with a ventilating
apparatus In each compartment.
Construction of Cellar.
As the root cellar must be weather
proof—that Is, capable of being kept
free from moisture and free from
frost—Its type and construction vary
with the geographical location. In the
southern portion of the country the
structure is usually entirely above
ground and protected by only a few
inches of sod and with straw, leaves,
etc. In northern sections outdoor stor
age cellars are made almost entirely
below ground nnd covered with a foot
or two of earth.
Storage in Regions of Mild Winters.
An above-ground storage cellar suit
ed to conditions in southern sections
of the United States may be built on
a well-drained site- at slight expense.
A row of posts may be set fi^e or six
feet apart, extending seven or eight
feet above the surface of the ground,
with a ridgepole placed on top of them.
Against each side of the ridgepole a
row of planks or puncheons is placed,
with their opposite ends resting in a
shallow trench four or five feet from
the line of posts. The ends are board
ed up. a door being provided in one
end of the structure, and the roof cov
ered with sod to a depth of five or six
Storage in Region of Severe Freezes.
In sections where low temperatures
prevail.it is necessary to insulate the
storage house so that the vegetables
will not freeze. An above-ground type
of storage house much used in many
sections of the North has thick walls
filled with insulating material, such as
sawdust or shavings. The construc
tion is of frame and the walls are usu
ally ten to twelve inches thick. Both
the Inside and the outside walls are
sheathed with matched lumber so as
to make them airtight. The rafters
are ceiled on the under side with the
same material and the space between
the rafters filled with dry insuluting
material. The use of building paper
in the roof and walls of the storage
house is of great assistance in insulat
ing it.
A type of storage cellar much used
in northern sections of the country is
built partly underground. The walls
are of masonry and extend to a point
just above the surface of the ground.
On these walls plates are set and u
roof of frame construction erected.
The roof structure is celled on ihe
underside of the rafters and some
suitable ij mlating material, such as
dry -sawdust - or shavings, packed In
the space between —e rafters, and
then the sheathing, paper and roofing
material are applied as in the case of
the above-ground type of storage cel
lar described in the previous para
graph. This type of structure is pref
erable In many respects to the above
ground type, as It Is easier to main
tain the temperature at the proper
point and its insulation is a compara
tively easy matter.
Protection From Freezing.
Protection from freezing may be se
cured with a simpler type of structure
by making it entirely underground. Irt
order to avoid steps down to the ! : eve>
of the floor, with the consequent eztrt
labor in storing and removing the veg
etables, a side-hill location is desir
The excavation In the hill should he
of approximate size of theeejlar, using
the dirt for covering the roof and for
banking tbo sides of tilt* structure. A
frame is erected by setting two rows
of posts of uniform height in the bot
tom of the pit near the dirt walls and
a third 1 in«* of posts about five feet
higher through the center of the pit.
Those posts serve- as supports for the
planks or puncheons forming the roof
of the structure, as with the above
ground type of storage cellar already
described. The door is placed at one
end and a ventilator put in the roof.
The whole structure with the excep
tion of the portion occupied by the
door is covered with dirt and sod. The
thickness of the covering must he de
termined hy the location; the colder
the climate the thicker the covering.
The dirt co\-ering may be supplement
ed in winter hy a layer of manure,
straw, corn fodder, etc. Outdoor stor
age cellars usually are left with dirt
floors, as a certain degree of moisture
is desirable. These cellars may also
he made of concrete, brick, hollow tile,
stone or other material.
Ccmpare Favorably With Cottonseed
Meal—Produce Profitable Gains
in Fattening.
(Prepared by the United States Depart
ment of Agriculture.)
The feed question is being solved in
many parts of the South by abundant
yields of velvet beans which were
sown on a large acreage this year.
Owing to the Increased acreage in
Georgia. that state alone could take
care or 50,000 to 100,000 head of cattle
from states where forage Is scarce.
Large quantities of last year's velvet
beans also remain on hand and are
being used extensively In feeding dairy
cattle. In tests conducted hy the Unit
ed States department of agriculture on
the government farms at Beltsvllle,
Md., It wns found that velvet beans
compare favorably with cottonseed
meal, producing profitable gains when
the beans are the sole concentrate of
the ration; that a combination of com
silage and velvet beans forms a satis
factory ration for fattening steers for
market; that it is more profitable to
feed soaked beans than it is to grind
them ; nnd that more beans will be
eaten if soaked before they are fed
than if they are fed dry.
Mexican Agricultural Officials Here to
Confer on Various Inv
portant Subjects.
The Mexican secretary of agricul
ture and his associates are visiting
the United States department of agri
culture for conferences on several sub
jects, particularly on the pink boll
worm which is Infecting the cotton
crop of Mexico and some portions of
v *
Clarence Ousley and Mexican Agricul
tural Officials.
Texas. One of the objects of the trip
is to reach a co-operative agreement
between the departments of the two
countries on measures to eradicate the
cotton pest. In the group are, left to
right: Clarenee Ousley, assistant sec
retary United States department of
agriculture: Don Jose Duration, Mexi
can director of agriculture; Don Pag.
tor Rouuix, Mexican secretary of ag
rieulture and development, and Doc
Ignacio Lopez Bancalri Mexican
rector of irrigation.

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