“The first one served is the Officer of the Deck. He had to come down and look at the chow and eat it. If it is suitable to him, then the chow line starts. If there were any grievance he has about the looks of it or the taste of it, then the chow line would be secured until all this would be taken care of. There was seldom any time the chow line wasn’t palatable. We ate very well on here. We had fresh baked goods all the time. They’d be baking pies and cakes and jelly doughnuts. We had ice cream all the time.”
-Chief Herbert L. Sisco
“I knew one guy on the ship that I grew up with. He was in the same high school I was. He was in the bake shop. Now, I was fortunate to know him because if anything was left over, he would call up the engine room, ‘Neumann, send up a messenger. I have some leftover pies.’ I would send up the messenger and he would come down with the pies. I always had something to eat. He would make a pie or a cake. He would actually make a flat pizza pie and he would send some down to us. He always took care of me like that.”
“A mess cook is a guy who is in his white uniform and he is up in the mess hall and he takes care of the mess tables and makes sure there is coffee on the tables and sugar and whatever is necessary. Everybody has to go through that in their Navy career. It is three months. Somehow if you try to get that mess cooking duty within a year and I was an old soul of a year and a half, so I had to go to mess cooking.”
“In 1942, everything was Spam, Spam, Spam for breakfast, dinner and supper with eggs. Back then they had powdered eggs and dehydrated spuds. They got a little bit better and a little bit better after a while. Now that I’m old and think about it, they had the finest food, but we were young and criticized the cook and everybody else. There was a Chief Steward, his name was Jackson. For a while, he started giving nothing but bologna. Somebody told the captain that ‘they are going to throw him overboard.’ If I recall correctly, they had a Marine orderly with him for a while who followed him around for a few weeks. They finally changed the menu.”
-Jerry S. Gonzales
“I always thought the chow was fantastic, I enjoyed every bit of it. Some of my favorites were beans for breakfast, beef on toast, eggs (out at sea they were usually powdered but sometimes we got fresh ones). Our bakery was exceptional; we had pies, cake, homemade bread and rolls. Seconds were sometimes available and sometimes refused, but usually if there was some leftover we were allowed. One thing we always were sure we did when we had biscuits or bread or anything like that was before we ate it we held them up to the light to make sure there weren’t any black spots in them as we did have a lot of cockroaches! Quite often we would find them in the bread, sometimes so many of them we thought there were raisins in them! “
-Robert L. Palomaris
“Well I was always in the galley, even if I had to make a pot of coffee or something for the men. The other boys had a battle station, most of them were on the ammunition passing, or on the hoist. I stayed in the galley all the time. I never saw anything, matter of fact I didn’t want to see anything.”
“…I was given ten hours extra duty, which I had my choice of taking either the laundry or the galley. I picked the galley because I usually talked the cooks into a little extra grub.
… I always made it a habit to be friendly with the cooks and bakers because, you know, if you wanted a little extra. … When they baked pies, there was always somebody who would get the juice off the cherries and stuff like that. We’d have jugs from the coke back in the ship’s store, we’d put it up in the boat crane deck underneath there. It was real warm, and we let it ferment.”
“July 18, 1942. Chow is being rationed to maintain enough for us to stay out for two months – one egg or two pancakes for breakfast – baked beans for dinner. I might lose some weight on this kind of rations.”
Edward J. Gillespie, officer, journal entry, after Ship left Pearl Harbor and was headed for action for the first time. Officers were allowed to keep journals. No one was to keep a personal diary, but a number of them did.