Monday, September 05, 2005

Pancakes and...YUCK!

There were advantages and disadvantages to working in the mess kitchen in the army. Perhaps the most annoying disadvantage was the requirement (in our outfit at least) that clean fatigue uniforms be worn each day. This meant washing every evening since standard issue was only two sets and drying time in the Philippines was often more than 24 hours. As supply sergeant I managed to come up with extra fatigues for our cooking crew to cut the frequency of laundering. In return, I would often wander into the mess hall after breakfast and receive a privately prepared meal of my choosing.

One morning, for reasons I can’t remember, I decided to eat with the troops. Breakfast that morning was pancakes. They were served by having the troops line up next to a very large griddle onto which batter prepared the previous evening was ladled from an equally over-sized vat. As the pancakes were done, they were plopped onto a guy’s mess kit and he made way for the next in line. It was military style mass-production. I was in line when one of the cooks saw me. He came around and whispered to me to “come back later”. I told him I was a democratic type guy and I was willing to eat with common folk. His next “Come back later” sounded very much like an order so I stepped out of line and went back to my tent.

After breakfast service, I strolled over to the mess hall. The cooks were having a jolly time laughing at a steady stream of wise-cracks which I gathered were related to the pancakes. When I asked what the joke was, I was beckoned over to the still not empty vat of batter. Paddling around in the batter was a tiring, very large rat. They had ladled from around him all morning. I stuck to black coffee.


Marilyn said...

OhmyGAWD!!! Did people get sick?! Nice that he looked out for you. :)

east village idiot said...


What was that all about?! I would have instantly begun life on water and tree bark.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on Katrina from your perspective as a Floridian, older person and vet. - although I understand if the issue is too political to comment on.