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How Do You Feed a Boatload of Sailors for an Extended Voyage?

Since the first maritime navigators took to the sea over 10,000 years ago, the task of keeping hungry sailors fed throughout an extended voyage has been a daunting one.

Today, feeding our nation’s sailors still requires painstaking efficiency and conscientious ingenuity, as galleys operate around the clock to feed entire crews. When a maritime vessel heads out to sea, it can be under or above the waves for weeks, even months. After ten days, all fresh food has been consumed, requiring onboard cooks to become extremely creative in order to provide the sailors with a variety of flavorful options. After all, food provides more than just nourishment. It provides an opportunity for good company, a few laughs, a comfortable atmosphere, and even a small taste of home. Meals can often be the highlight of a sailors’ day.

Let’s take, for instance, the galley of a submarine like the USS Jefferson City. With a very compact 10’ x 14’ galley, only two can do the cooking—one during the day and one at night. There are two convection ovens, a microwave oven, a deep fryer, a pair of cavernous soup pots, and an industrial-sized mixer. A tiny sink, sanitizer, cabinets, drawers, a set of recipe cards, and a large assortment of spices