Dear SHNM Members,
Perhaps the material below will provide some interesting post-Thanksgiving Day meal reading!
Thanksgiving must be a great day in the Navy! Although your Executive Director has never served in the Army Forces, I can well imagine the joy of getting special rations on this most American of holidays. The interesting link below gives an indication of just how much the US Navy buys and prepares to give all servicemen and women a special meal. As I’m cooking today, I can’t help but imagine the enormous tasks ahead for the Navy’s culinary specialists. Supposedly Napoleon Bonaparte said “an army marches on its stomach.” Surely he would have understood the same rings true for sailors! And surely Navy stomachs have to contend with the nature of the seas and the impact of bad storms on ships. This would have been especially true long ago on wooden sailing ships.
Please consider the attached photograph of the menu from 1918 for the US Naval Training Station here in my part of the world, Hampton Roads, Virgnia. Imagine, giving sailors “cigars” at the end of the meal! Not the healthiest of choices. We’ve come a long way since 1918!Finally, in terms of the history of Thanksgiving meals and the US Navy, check out this interesting article from my former student, Matthew Eng.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,
Annette Finley-Croswhite, Ph.D. Executive Director, Society for the History of Navy Medicine