Greetings. If you have a chance, check out my article at http://usmerchantmariner.com/galley-prep-for-a-first-time-cook/. I welcome your feedback. Thanks!
Here’s my newest article on cleanliness in the galley! http://usmerchantmariner.com/363-2/
New article is up part 1 of 3
How to Take Care of Food: Dry, Canned and Baked Goods – USMerchantMariner.com
Nice little writeup but this will be a hard sell on any of the vessels I have worked on I am well aware how the sell by date is supposed to work but most people have know idea I’ve seen pantries cleaned out and cooks written up by office personnel for out of date supplies.
What about “sell by”, or “best if used by” dates. Don’t worry. These dates only refer to a guarantee of quality and taste, not edibility. I have opened cans that were perfectly fine 6 months past the “best by” date. However, I once opened a can of evaporated milk that came out solid and instinctively threw it away. If the can is rusty or otherwise damaged, get rid of it. With proper stock rotation, this shouldn’t be an issue
Thanks for your feedback. I believe if a cook or steward department is paying attention and rotating the stores regularly, this usually won’t be an issue. I thought it might help someone, maybe new to a boat, who gets on board and has to deal with this.
The biggest help would be figuring out how to get them to rotate stock. It’s been an ongoing problem everywhere i’ve been it’s always a rush getting supplies onboard.
On one Tug we had several large Freezers. One night I find the 6-12 AB working in the Galley around 2200. He had frozen meat all over the place with a large pile on the deck. So, I asked what the hell he was doing with all of the meet laying on the deck. He said, I’m tossing it over the side. When I asked why he said they’ve all had their birthday!
To say I was more than a little shocked would be an understatement as when I looked not only were some of the dates a year old, some were several years old. I told him to go up and have the Captain come down to see this before he tossed it.
The Captain was pissed at the Cook who was not the best but not the worse out there. Trying to calm the Old Man down before he tossed the Cook over the side, I told him, look I blame this Cook as much as you do but we’ve had 3 other cooks on our crew and the Opposite Crew had had 2 different Cooks during this period. So, you can’t put it all on the guy.
He calmed down a little and let me talk to the Cook. I tried to use it as a learning experience and told him to make sure to ROTATE the stores rather than just putting the new in front of the old. The Captain did have a rather heated discussion with his opposite Captain as they had a more permanent cook than we did during this period.
From that day forward, whenever I went on a different boat, I always did a spot check on the freezers. I wish I could say I was please not to find old goods but I found a bunch each time I looked.
The problem is no one wants to make a career out of being a Tug Cook and most companies don’t ever carry cooks anymore. So, what you get is some green kid that only wants to be in the galley long enough to make the move up to AB. So, with this the quality of cooks really sucks for the most part.
@CookingatSea, thanks again for doing this and I hope that your book is a hit!
On a just slightly related subject; I rarely got involved with the stewards department and their ordering of consumable stores until we changed ordering systems. The steward asked me to enter all the items he had marked on printed sheets. As I was going down the list I noted several cases of Easy-Off Oven cleaner being requested. It just so happened I had been in the stores area for some reason or another and could have sworn I saw some there. I went down to double check and found 6 or 8 cases there, some so old the caustic was beginning to bleed through the cans onto the shelving.
The point being, know what you have so you know what you need. Don’t assume.
Edit: The above point is applicable to all departments.
So Important! Great post!
Thanks! Great post