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Catering Tales

Old 14th Sep 2018, 15:35
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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One of my best-ever curries was in 1990 on-board a VC10 taking Gurkhas from Nepal to the UK, via Nairobi The flight was over-catered so I got to have 3!!
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Old 14th Sep 2018, 16:38
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Babies heads arriving in the HAS at Wattisham on exercise, never managed to eat more than two before the hooter went off!
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Old 14th Sep 2018, 16:45
  #43 (permalink)  
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Valley..Airmen's Mess......enter "Paddy the Chin ", so named because he had several on view. Paddy was rarely seen during the day as he seemed to prefer nights. This was possibly because he could produce his signature dish, without any distractions such as cooking food, notably doing his, and the families, washing in those large boilers that graced RAF Messes everywhere. All was not entirely lost to the culinary world however, because, to his credit, he produced what he lovingly referred to as a "whore of an omelette" which consisted of about 96 eggs and whatever else he could use as a filling. You learnt very quickly to be selective when on nights unless Paddy was off that night.

Not to be outclassed, he was joined by "Tiny " who was a really nice guy, albeit somewhat "well built " but of whom it would be fair to say would never rank among the top chefs of this world....one of Tiny's more notable culinary achievements came when asked to provide meals for a Vulcan crew that had arrived on one of those sight seeing jollies they liked to go on from time to time. Tiny duly complied with this order to the best of his ability and filled that hot locker container with .......a selection of fruit and.....jam sandwiches. It subsequently emerged the crew did not entirely appreciate this a la carte dining option.

Gutersloh......we witnessed a "difference of opinion " about the quality of a steak being prepared for a Rock...to be fair, the food at Gut at that time was very good...and the cook. The Rock made the fatal mistake of leaving the servery and turning his back on said chef. The steak left the spatula at a speed and with an accuracy any pro tennis player would be in awe of......and arrived firmly on the back of the Rocks head. It all got a bit "up close and personal " thereafter. . .
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Old 14th Sep 2018, 18:22
  #44 (permalink)  
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On 8, one D M was reputed to have baked a sponge cake.
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Old 15th Sep 2018, 00:24
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Of all the messes I sampled, there weren't really any that stood put for the standard of the food above the others (but then being younger I was not that bothered about the quality as long as it was hot when required). One thing that I was taught though was that working on the flight line meant a whole new way to efficiently consume lunch. When hotlocks were served the trick was to remove the lid, cover the top with a slice of bread, invert the tin, remove the tin and add a further slice of bread on top. Proof that you can put anything on a sandwich.

Honourable mentions though should go to the mess at PSAB in the late 90's, they even taught the locally employed serving staff to say "one sausage only" in English.
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Old 15th Sep 2018, 06:52
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Babies heads, straight from the hotlock were marvellous!
I always wondered where the cooks got the recipe for that beef stew that appeared everywhere on any exercise.
Supper at Leuchars was always good. Perhaps because it tended to be sneaked in between recoveries. Chip butties. Always.
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Old 15th Sep 2018, 06:59
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Ogre-Wasn't an invite to the diner at PSAB used as currency when bartering with our cousins? I seem to remember you were allowed a guest a month. For my sins I was at Eskan <SP> and was allowed into Riyadh to eat each night which, bar the odd dose of food poisoning from a dodgy salad, was very much appreciated. Eating a chip butty in a very British style fish and chip shop while it was 40+C outside was a surreal experience.
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Old 15th Sep 2018, 08:28
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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I had a friend who was a chef in the Officers Mess who was constantly being "hauled over the coals" for his un-Airman like qualities and demeanour by certain members of the Officer class. He would smile benignly whilst undergoing this berating and humiliation whilst being dismissed by the Officer as some kind of simpleton, however my friend knew that later that day he would be making the same Officers dinner and that "Revenge is a dish best eaten cold"
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Old 15th Sep 2018, 16:58
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So back in 1960 some 150 CCF cadets plus assorted schoolmasters masquerading as hofficers arrived for Army Section summer camp at Lydd. Although of the RAF persuasion in the Corps, I was there because e I was an (indifferent) tenor drummer in the pipe band. On arrival a bit of a hiatus as the meal due, (high tea) was nowhere to be seen, nor indeed were any catering staff. I get hauled in to see the CO, who gruffly informs me in his Scots accent that (at 16 and a bit) I had become OC Catering, and they would like some supper in an hour and then I was "it" for the week, on account that I wanted to go Cranwell and be an officer and leader of men.

So no more drumming for me, a team of catering hands posted in every day and the biggest pile of compo boxes I have seen in my life. It all went well, pat on the head at the end of the week, and a 5 (lot of money in those days) book token. Never did hear what had happened to the caterers that were supposed to be ther, and when I got home my Mother particularly would not believe I had catered for 150 odd people for a week.

Nicest thing a caterer did for me - Binbrook, 2100 hrs and just finished Pt 1 Taceval (the one in Jun 81 for those that were there). Just about to go in the bar for a pint or 3 when I heard the OM reception phone ringing. Answered it and it was my brother who had been trying to get me since lunchtime to tell me Mum had had a stroke from which she was unlikely to recover. Go back in the bar and tell my boss I am off to the hospital in NW London and I will ring in in the morning. As I walk out of the bar the Cpl Steward stops me, says "You might need these sir", and handed me a packet of sandwiches. How he knew I do not know, but one of the kindest things anyone ever did for me. And I got to Mount Vernon Hospital 10 minutes before she died.
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Old 15th Sep 2018, 18:43
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Brize, signal comes through re fuel saving, Boss looks out window as Ten goes past on tow with APU running and lit up to the nines, "there is an example Flight, you do not need the APU running to tow", Young NL gets summond to office given the signal to read and asked "why were you runnning the APU?", answers "to power the galleys, how else was I going to heat my Dulles Burgers"
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Old 15th Sep 2018, 21:11
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ian16th View Post

When Coninsby re-opened in 1956, all OR's were eating in the Sgts Mess, the Airmens Mess wasn't finished.
The food was terrible, but we were kept going by the 'it will get better when the new mess is finished' story.

When we moved into the new mess it was terrible.
A National Service guy wrote to his MP.
The Command Catering officer turned up un-announced, at lunch time and he saw how poor the food was.
62 years later, nothing has changed
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Old 16th Sep 2018, 08:33
  #52 (permalink)  
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280 SU RAF Troodos, a unit manned by RAF and Army personnel from 259 Signals Regiment. The GOC Cyprus was on his annual inspection of his part of the unit and called in to the Junior Ranks Mess at lunchtime. Usual dril, carry on eating unless spoken to, answer quaestions honestly and finish your meal. GOC approaches a diner and asks the signalman if he as any complaints. Signalman downs tools, pauses for a moment and answers “Yes, Sir” Cue awkward glances and shuffling from OC catering and entourage. Signalman continues “My greatcoat doesn’t fit me”, picks up tools and carries on eating.
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Old 16th Sep 2018, 10:48
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Some years ago I was admitted to the hospital at RAF Halton. As usual, because you hadn't been there the day before, there was no food ordered for you, so you basically got what had been ordered by whoever had subsequently discharged. Day 2 - early start for operation, so unconscious/blotto for most of day and only got slice of toast later in the day. Needless to say, order forms for meals on Day 3 came round whilst blotto, so Day 3 pretty much repeat of Day 1. However , did manage to fill in food order form for Day 4. Nurse tells me that Day 4 is also the first day of the new catering contract, so food bound to be huge improvement (?) Day 4 - wake up feeling pretty good and looking forward to breakfast - order was for orange juice, tea, "continental" rolls with jam. Tray arrives with cover over plate. I sit up in bed, drink tea and then remove cover on plate. Nothing. Not even a crumb of a passing roll. Bare as a badger's ****. Call for nurse. She calls for sister. Nurse is instructed to phone caterers, who do not believe it. Their quality control would have picked it up. Man sent up to examine empty plate. We all agree there is nothing on it. Could I have a replacement, please? Sorry, says caterer. We stopped doing breakfast hours ago, we're only doing lunch now. Kind nurse manages to make a slice of toast for me....
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Old 16th Sep 2018, 11:04
  #54 (permalink)  
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ISK, late 70s, regular war stock turnover. Lunch was steak and kidney pudding. The S&K was tasty meriting at least 9/10. Presentation nil points as the half tin-shaped suet pastry still had the maker's name and date stamp. Muppets.
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Old 16th Sep 2018, 11:11
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OC Detachment for a major NATO exercise "somewhere in Southern Germany", the detachment was multi-national in a German Army barracks with catering provided by the US and Canadian Armies. I'm in the line for breakfast, plate at the ready to receive the standard US/Canadian fare which was excellent and piled up as we progressed along the servery. As we reached the end of the servery, chatting to my colleague I took my eye off proceedings, moved on only to find the whole plate had been flooded with maple syrup! An odd set of flavours but when you're on exercise...!
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Old 16th Sep 2018, 11:25
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RAF Stanley, 1983. The main option for eating lunch on the airfield site was SAS-Det (Soup and Sandwich Detachment of Catering Squadron), as it was generally too time-consuming/inconvenient to go back to the Coastel to eat. Apart from Bread, 'Butter', Jam, Cheese and Soup du Jour the diet was occasionally enhanced by Pizza [which was pretty tasteless]. In conversation with one of the cooks, he explained that they couldn't get any decent ingredients such as appropriate herbs. A note to a friend in the UK resulted in a pile of herbs various arriving by Herk [not much additional weight involved] which I duly delivered to the Cooks. The enhanced Pizza became the go-to lunch option!

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Old 16th Sep 2018, 11:52
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Operating the Mighty Hunter out of Seeb, we could only get rations through the local handling agent who catered for the likes of BA. On arrival, the rations for the tasking next day were duly ordered by yours truly: two main meals and a snack for fifteen persons, deliver to aircraft at 0900 local.

When we got to the hotel we received the news that the tasking had been put back to 1300. No problem. Phone the agent and explain that rations were now required for 1100.

Well, funny old thing, next day on arrival at the aircraft two things were apparent. Firstly, the AEO, who had made a pot of ‘honkers stew’ on the way down to Seeb had not washed up the pot, which had been left to fester overnight and most of the following morning. That had to be dealt with (another story for another time). Secondly, the rations duly turned up at 1100. Result. However, the rations for 0900 were also on board the van. Yes, two lots of rations. The meals came in the form of the standard airline plastic trays filled with exquisite delights including a side salad of smoked salmon for starters, and wonderful deserts - obviously made up for business class. BUT, fifteen persons x 3 trays x 2 orders came to … quite a lot of trays, which had to be stacked up in the galley with the overflow going into the ordnance section. On top of the last tray was a printed sheet of paper listing the individual meal types and a column (left blank on this occasion) which would usually have stated the cost of the meal. That was good, as I could use this piece of paper to send around the crew when asking for their selection from the choice of 4 main meals and two snacks each.

As the ‘menu’ made its way around, some of the wet and dry team decided it would be a good idea to play ‘guess how much your meal costs’ and with stifled giggling, started to put their guesses down in the blank column. The last person then totted up the figures and entered the quite substantial total at the base of the column. I do not recall how much the total was, but what I do recall is my name being shouted (or rather ‘bawled’) by the very irate Nav Captain who had just been handed what he assumed to be the bill for 90 meals. His anger was compounded by having to fight his way through the stacked up plastic trays in the galley, and past a still rancid pan of burned honkers stew, to ‘have a word’. The situation was resolved when it was pointed out that there was no way that a tray of salad with pate, duck l ’orange, a fruit compote, followed by cheese and biscuits would ever cost as much as the Lead Wet had thought and apart from which, would you like your tray of sandwiches and packet of peanuts now, or after we get airborne?
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Old 16th Sep 2018, 12:19
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Old Bricks reminded me of this one.

Admitted to RAF Hospital Ely to have wisdom teeth removed.

Longtime ward resident asks, "Can I have your lunch tomorrow?"
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Old 16th Sep 2018, 12:38
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1962. Barkston Heath, where the square pegs from Cranwell were detatched to, sort of a "punishment posting." A supper time list what time one required a wake up call, and what beverage to accompany this call. Upon being roused, asked what one would like for breakfast and at what time. Food was extremely good. Many fought not to be returned to Cranwell.
1971. MAMS: Rushed to BZZ to catch a Brit. to act as Handling Agent supervisor on a rotation double shuttle Hanover- Aldergrove. Rationed ex-BZZ for 110pax each leg. 440 goodie boxes. However, 'twas not a rotation but a re-inforcement, return legs empty. Morning departure from Hanover up rolls handling agent catering with 220 goodie boxes. We tried to explain but were told they had already been paid for and they would not take them back. Next departure, same thing happened. Of course, first in, first out, the AH and AS boxes were distributed first. The civil meals were much more palatable, and the crew + Muppet left the aeroplane with big black bags of goodies!
Someone mentioned the triangular sausages? Compo., That shape to get more in the tin. Delicious!
ALT
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Old 16th Sep 2018, 15:16
  #60 (permalink)  
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In hospital once, (patient's grub notoriously poor), my dinner came slopped on a plate ...
"If you put that in front of your husband, he'd take a stick to you ", I said to the ward Sister - "and he'd be right !"

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