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What did officers eat for lunch?

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What did officers eat for lunch?

Old 21st Jun 2022, 19:56
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Tim00

Nothing to apologise for, a fascinating thread… ex Cub, Scout and RAF myself, all very similar, just the toys differed
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Old 21st Jun 2022, 22:28
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We can talk about the difference between pre and post NONPAS days and the quality of food.

Before the mid-70s the OM had both public funds and private (mess bill) funds and could buy food on the local market - e.g. fresh fish straight off the boat at Boulmer on the table for lunch.

Then they changed the rules and everything had to be bought through “the system”. Suddenly prices jumped and quality plummeted - frozen fish bought from the lowest bidder and imported from god knows where.

Even that, of course, was better than before they put the entire thing out to contract.
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Old 22nd Jun 2022, 03:17
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Thoroughly enjoying reading this very interesting thread after golf and an excellent dinner at a country club in North Carolina, but somewhat mesmerised by the thought of having to have rehearsal lunches for royal visits. Standards!

Jack
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Old 22nd Jun 2022, 05:54
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Originally Posted by Union Jack View Post
somewhat mesmerised by the thought of having to have rehearsal lunches for royal visits. Standards!

Jack
Ah yes old chap, but it apparently saved everyone from the royal thighs being separated. Heaven knows what may have happened as a result, maybe full utilization of gas masks in Brüggen...

hat, coat, found my way out.

Excellent thread gentlemen.
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Old 22nd Jun 2022, 07:29
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
Lunch?
In the increasing earnest 1990s, several Messes in which this civilian lived were nearly deserted at lunch time, because more and more people [blunties if you like] "worked through". Afternoon tea was often the first meal since 0700, and very good too. A lot of people ate 0700, 1630 something on toast and a fancy cake, and dinner as late as possible. That way people could be working 0800 to 1600, and 1730 to 1930, which latter period was mercifully untroubled by silly interruptions.

Seen from the other end of the telescope in my youth, the aroma coming from the aircrew feeder as I walked through the dusk to brief the 1000 bomber raids was very very appetising ...... I would have been on shift for about 7 hours on a "snap tin" and coffee/ tea.

Now I have made myself hungry. Steak, chips, onions, peas and a pint of best bitter please.
Langley, you briefed 1,000 bomber raids, you surely must be past your centenary! And you can still look forward to Steak and Chips, well done Sir.

FB
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Old 22nd Jun 2022, 08:03
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Originally Posted by Wig Wag View Post
What a fowl tail . . .
Agreed, but sadly true.
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Old 22nd Jun 2022, 09:45
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
Langley, you briefed 1,000 bomber raids, you surely must be past your centenary! And you can still look forward to Steak and Chips, well done Sir.

FB
No. Sometime in the 1960s the phrase was used jokingly for mass briefings if they were unusual at that station. Nicosia for thel big para exercises ..... a couple of one stars, all the pongo officers, all the crews, Int, ATC .... even Met.
we also referred to hangar queens or shiny bombers for aircraft polished and under-utilised.
Times change. Blunts and bean stealers had not been invented I think. Bloody civvies had of course.

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 22nd Jun 2022 at 22:42. Reason: Fix quote
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Old 22nd Jun 2022, 11:23
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
We can talk about the difference between pre and post NONPAS days and the quality of food.

Before the mid-70s the OM had both public funds and private (mess bill) funds and could buy food on the local market - e.g. fresh fish straight off the boat at Boulmer on the table for lunch.

Then they changed the rules and everything had to be bought through “the system”. Suddenly prices jumped and quality plummeted - frozen fish bought from the lowest bidder and imported from god knows where.

Even that, of course, was better than before they put the entire thing out to contract.
Contractorization, followed by the cry: "Where have all the chefs gone?"

Pay As You Dine, followed by the cry: "Where has all the food gone?"

The first of these short-sighted in an expeditionary armed forces. The second reasonably demanded by those (at all ranks) fed up of paying for 21 meals a week and eating perhaps 10. The combination of the 2 resulting in a race to the lowest standards for the serviceman at the greatest benefit to the contractor(s).

Most offrs these days seem to eat at home (WFH), bring in packed lunch or pay the over-inflated costs charged by the contractor in the all-ranks facilities (cafes) rather than travel to the OM on another site.


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Old 22nd Jun 2022, 11:52
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And the less they feed means the higher the prices no doubt as they cannot get bulk discounts.
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Old 22nd Jun 2022, 22:42
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I sadly remember almost nothing of the food at Topcliffe in '83 except it was chips with everything but it must have been filling and acceptable.
Leeming was another matter. White coated stewards as far as I recall, serve yourself cereals for breakfast unless you ordered a fried one (or unless the previous night's schenanigans hadn't seen them blown across the mess with thunderflashes, aka a 'snowstorm') .
Lunch was served at tables from a menu and as I recall was always busy and very good, super was quite another matter. This was really something quality-wise midweek though choice not quality fell off a liittle at weekends when the crabs deserted the place and few but we fishheads remained. I recall that we ate very well indeed. The RAF were maintaining good standards at that time and we evidenty had a fine catering Officer in charge at that time.
There was something a bit special that my course specially requested and the catering officer included without fuss - wish I could remember what it was. Overall- overall a thorough BZ to the Crab caterers.
Subsequently food at Culdrose was pretty dam ornery.
Plus pusser forbade flying clothing in the mess at lunchtime so you either had a chewy roll in the bar or an impossibly mad rush to change in and out of your flying kit and gobble a lunch in shirt and tie before changing back.
Pusser, eh? Bah!


Last edited by meleagertoo; 22nd Jun 2022 at 22:55.
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Old 24th Jun 2022, 10:24
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Originally Posted by Beamr View Post
Ah yes old chap, but it apparently saved everyone from the royal thighs being separated. Heaven knows what may have happened as a result, maybe full utilization of gas masks in Brüggen...

hat, coat, found my way out.

Excellent thread gentlemen.
Beamr,
I should make it clear that it was the table leg that caused the problem.The then Stn Cdr was Gp Capt Peter Harding (now deceased) whose career ended as CDS c20 years later because of 'other' thighs being parted !
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Old 26th Jun 2022, 10:58
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I have recently completed a 23 year tour of the Falklands 🙀 The catering was provided by the joint Officer’s mess. Mostly missed lunch due to flying my museum piece S61n around various military locations, but so as not to starve I was issued with “bag rats” which I actually had to sign for 😹 An actual 🐀 in the bag would have been more tasty!
But the evening meal was generally pretty bad! Yet pay £5 extra messing on a function night and the food was marvellous 😻 How? same ingredients and same cooks….
Still as a bean stealer, good or bad it was all free to me 😸
Now I’m retired and skint I’m hoping for a Red Cross parcel 📦 soon…….,
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Old 27th Jun 2022, 20:22
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RAF Hullavington in 1962, home to No 2 Air Navigation School. On non-flying days it was always a 3 course lunch in the Officers Mess, with Silver Service.
A couple of the WRAF waitresses were of dimunitive stature and very generously endowed ( Think Samantha Fox ).
They took great delight in resting their assets on the shoulders of 18 year old Acting Pilot Officers whilst serving the vegetables.
Lunch was always a very pleasant experience, I think the food was pretty good as well.
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Old 12th Jul 2022, 14:23
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RAF Valley

Three years ago visiting RAF Valley. Officers mess for lunch. No vegetarian option on menu. Had to go for beans and chips. Had to pay for it as well !
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Old 12th Jul 2022, 18:41
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Beans are not an officer vegetable.
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Old 12th Jul 2022, 19:03
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
Beans are not an officer vegetable.
…. except at Breakfast, when it was VERY difficult to persuade the Steward I didn’t want Beans or those watery tinned Tomatoes.
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Old 12th Jul 2022, 19:20
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Ah! Watery tinned tomatoes slightly scorched on top sir, and perhaps a sprig of something even more inedible?
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Old 13th Jul 2022, 17:29
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Or there was the old naval favourite of “Babies’ ‘eads and train smash” or even “Sh*t on a raft”.

Mog
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Old 13th Jul 2022, 22:10
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Nothing wrong with babyzeds!

However, please join me in deprecating hot food on cold plates. There is no cure ............. sending the meal back always results in overcooked food on hot plates.
Breakfast is the most vulnerable: a little knowledge of physics makes a rapidly cooling full English an intelligence test:

bacon: large surface area, little mass, therefore eat first.
Fried egg next. [scrambled a little more relaxed]
sausage and hash brown can be left to last, so long as they start hot.
Tomatoes and mushrooms are middling
I know nothing of beans ............... possibly useful as a laxative but otherwise never.
Toast: the only warm toast is in the middle of the rack and, if you want white, is brown, and vice-versa.

And I do like a coffee AND a tea, not in that order.

Apart from that, a fat-boy breakfast is stress-free and might set one up for a benevolent and optimistic day.

Dream on.

Last edited by langleybaston; 13th Jul 2022 at 22:11. Reason: speelin
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Old 13th Jul 2022, 23:18
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As any AT/AAR world traveller who has visited the USofA will know, ordering breakfast in the US is a good grounding in resistance to interrogation. The aim of the game is to avoid being asked any questions:

"Good morning (name), it's a very nice day and we're ready to order!" Use of her name always invites a friendly smile!

"Two fried eggs please" positively invites questioning as the Americans seemingly have a vast number of ways of cooking the simple fried egg. So "Two eggs over easy" is the way of avoiding that.

The next question to pre-empt is "Ham, bacon or sausage?" Beware if you ask for sausage though - that might prompt the supplementary "Links or patties?" question.

Next comes toast. "White or brown" offends woke sensitivities, so it's best to go for "Rye toast please" - but we're not finished there, because you'll need to specify if you want buttered toast. That can prompt a "Regular butter?" supplementary - for the uninitiated, the alternative to 'regular' isn't low alcohol, lead free, low fat or somesuch, it's 'melted'....

Don't think you've aced it yet, because then comes orange juice, or rather 'OJ' - and that can be 'regular or large'...

Finally, don't forget "That's everything, thanks - and we'd like seperate checks please".

A silly crew game played in many a Holiday Inn or the like - but the delightful waitresses were always willing participants.
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