It's alimentary

Well, you gotta eat sooner or later, so it's the mess hall right now
Well, you gotta eat sooner or later, so it's the mess hall right now | Source
If you can't bake 'em, you can always boil 'em in hot grease
If you can't bake 'em, you can always boil 'em in hot grease | Source
You cannot fry this turkey in our little fryer deal, so into the oven with it
You cannot fry this turkey in our little fryer deal, so into the oven with it | Source
What you can't fry or bake, you can boil with steam in the big kettles
What you can't fry or bake, you can boil with steam in the big kettles | Source



It's Alimentary

The mess hall sergeant told his troops,
“I' m here to make you jump through hoops.
The captain and his boss, our colonel,
said with stripes my rule's eternal.
So, when I tell you, peel those 'taters,
that's what you do, you sergeant-haters.”


“Beans we got here by the sack.
Cook 'em good. Don't want 'em back.
Here there's never nice hot gravy.
That's for sissies in the Navy.
Apple worms are just more meat,
No need to cook 'em – bite and eat.”

“Every morning – powdered eggs -
Make burnt toast. Boil coffee dregs.
Chopped beef makes our cream sauce greasy.
That's SOS. The makin's easy.
Lunch - bologna – fill each belly,
peanut butter with grape jelly.”


“After supper - midnight mess,
daily leavings, more, or less.
You'll stay awake and right in line.
When mess tastes bad, it works real fine.
So listen, men – do what I say.
This mess hall stuff – it ain't no play.”


“You all went through this mess hall training -
sunshine, snow, fog - real hard raining.
Our chow is not to make 'em fat.
Eat real fast - that's where it's at.
This stuff I tell you – ain't it grand?
It's alimentary. Understand?”

A great bigt mess hall - this one feeds 5,000 hungry GI's at each meal - 30 minutes to wait your turn and then 15 minutes to chow down
A great bigt mess hall - this one feeds 5,000 hungry GI's at each meal - 30 minutes to wait your turn and then 15 minutes to chow down | Source

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Comments 20 comments

wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

Great funny. I do wonder though if this is a good reason why a lot of guys are truly better cooks than women.

And oh no, don't tell me if you really wanted a bite of the apple, the worm turned out just as tasty!


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

"WND" (wetnosedogs) -

Thought that I could answer this very kind comment while I was waiting for the Saturday mailman to bring my check for the winning number deal on that Publishers' Clearing House lottery. A million here. A million there, but I can handle another one today. :-)

The question might be, over there in the big mess hall, which way that worm will turn... To the left gives a bit of diverticulitis. To the right, some appendicitis. Up, it would be a big burp. Down - well, we'll leave down for some other day. A bite of that apple - oh, well, if Adam could do it, then most anyone could also do it. After all, we all have the same number of ribs now, both right and left sides, right? That should count for something - maybe like count ribs.

Gus :-)))

p.s.: Women are better cooks than are men. I believe it. All I need do is look at my stomach for proof.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Gus, this poem is a real honey,

Right on target and very funny.

Chuckling over your mention of S.O.S. - I remember how I laughed when my hubby first explained what those letters meant to a soldier.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Good Doctor bj (drbj) - I got some hungry today and decided to do a mess hall memorial poem in honor of the good times I had while enjoying KP sessions. (For those who read this comment other than Doctor bj and Gus, "KP" stands for "kitchen police," meaning pot washer and floor swabber guy.)

"SOS" is truly a dish typically reserved for dedicated connoisseurs, those of immodest wealth and high taste. It was virtually universal how the GI's all declared their distaste for SOS, but they were all lying like the ill-behaved Grunts that all of us were back in the days.:-)

Found another nice pano program today. Just now posting a hub about it. Fun and games, like mess halls and KP's and SOS's.

Gus :-)))


kathryn1000 profile image

kathryn1000 3 years ago from London

To me it sounds sad having to eat such horrible food on top of everything else.Maybe because I have got stomach ache today,,

But very humorous,Gus.:)


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Kathryn (kathryn1000) -

Thanks for believing in the humor of my lies...

Actually, the food we got to eat in our many mess halls was not "horrible" as I smilingly prevaricated. It was usually rather good for mass-cooked stuff. Some of it was downright wonderful (amazingly enough). That worked out really well in the hospital mess - until they put a dietician in charge of the place. Everything went straight downhill the moment that lady showed up. Also, I spent a whole year trying to overcome the food in the Navy's mess hall at their then biggest medical center. Imagine, if you try very hard, to think of a different name for a hamburger pattie that is stuck onto your food tray each day of the week - same pattie - different name. I laugh at that today, but back then it was not at all so funny.

Fact: When a soldier is not complaining about the mess hall food, he is ill or is considering suicide or worse. Fact: Basic trainees typically gain lots of weight during their initial training (including lots of strenuous exercise for hours and hours), but all complain about the food. Fact: The typically worst part of the mess hall experience is serving within it on "KP" (pot scrubbing and lots worse than that).

Way back in time (when last I had one of those tummy aches) I learned that a heating pad on the belly helped get rid of any pain. I wish you well with your tummy ache today. Tell it to go away.

Gus :-)))


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

You are so right on. I've heard the Mess Hall Blues from my husband and son...once basic training is over I believe it gets better but....my husband tells the story of one of his fellow recruits who was a bit chubby. There CO would come by, take food off his plate and put it on someone else's so the heavy guy would slim down. Lots of idiosyncracies in the army ;)

Voted up, funny, and interesting.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hello Mary (tillsontitan) -

No surprise there about the CO shifting food away from "Chubs." That'll work OK with scared basic trainees, but I don't think it would work to well "out in the field." Funny times are military times. Probably the most stories told are about the SOS and the hamburgers with all of those different names they gave to them. :-)

Thanks for the read and the votes. I appreciate both - and you for thinking of them.

Gus :-)))


wayne barrett profile image

wayne barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

Sounded all too familiar, Gus. SOS...ah yes, now that was a smorgasbord.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Wayne (wayne barrett) -

Gosh, Wayne - I understand that the troops now use real plates in the mess halls. Not so in the field, of course, but plates? We'd miss those cold metal trays with all of the greasy fingermarks all over them, wouldn't we? :-)

A happy day for you tomorrow, OK?

Gus :-)))


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Hello Gus, A great poem and you made all the poetic puzzle pieces fit together like a glove! Although, I had to cringe a couple times at the poor diet fed to troops, what were they thinking? Kathi :O)


PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 3 years ago from Centreville Michigan

I like your poem Gus, but about the sissies in the Navy, I resemble that remark! :)


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi Kathi (Fossillady) -

I am sure enough glad that you enjoyed a meal or two in the mess hall. Fried or boiled, food is food when a person gets hungry. Actually, the only stuff I never liked in the mess hall were those ugly-tasting Brussels Sprouts. Well, that's not entirely true. I didn't go for the metal shavings from food cans, either. The Navy fed some of those to me one time and I got stuck in the hospital for too many months. They didn't taste good, either. :-)

Gus :-)))


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 3 years ago from Minnesota

Sounds like the food could actually be pretty good but I think most of us would believe your poem. I guess the food gets a bad wrap because they have to make so much of it. Usually I associate mass as you said, with, not so good. Hit many buttons my friend.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Patrick (Paddyboy) -

Ahh, don't take what I report so doggone hard. I spent a year with the Navy - about 400 miles away from home. Drove home virtually every weekend. One time my Chief told me I had to get a 75-mile pass from the office, or I'd get in trouble. Couldn't convince Chiefie that I didn't need such a pass, but, to humor him I went upstairs for a weekend pass. The Lt-JG mentioned that I wanted to drive a long way from the base and that there was reported to possibly be some rain - so I could not have a pass. I thanked him, got into my car, had a nice weekend at home, and caught hell from Chiefie when I saw him on Monday. He was no sissie, was Chiefie, but that young Lt-JG had some growing up to tend to, seems to me. :-)

Anyway, the Navy recipe for SOS calls for tomato sauce or ketchup if any of that is kicking around.

Gus :-)))


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hey Linda (Minnetonka Twin) - Actually it was spectacular how those mess hall Tigers could turn out edible vittles in the quantities and qualities they usually managed to do. The amounts were enormous in the bigger mess halls, for example, those on the large basic training bases. I had KP duty one time during which my main task was to cut ham steaks from great big hams, all of which were solidly frozen. Used a big band saw to cut 'em. By the time the meal was over with, my hands were like blocks of solid ice, too. Can't stand the sight of ham to this day. :-)

Gus :-)))


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 3 years ago from Minnesota

Ha-too funny but not for your hands. I bet that smarted.


PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 3 years ago from Centreville Michigan

Yeah I remember those chiefies. I had a Master Chief that was a John Wayne type. He didn't take any crap. But that big ole guy thought a lot of me. When my immediate supervisor Chief got in a little trouble and had to vacate his office position, my Master Chief put me, a mere Second Class Petty Officer in his place, and kept me there until I was rotated to sea duty again.


JayDeck profile image

JayDeck 3 years ago from New Jersey

I loved this. It reminded me of my own KP duty turns. Mine were likely later on than yours, but it would seem that the essence of the job (and the food) remained the same. Thanks for the smiles!

-J


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Jay (JayDeck) - Across the miles - love those smiles !

I enjoyed a visit to your poems and to some of the photos, too. The one of the "legs on the beach" reminded me of when we were kids and loafing on the summertime beaches along the Long Island Sound places. Tried to figure out what that thing was 'twixt the sets of legs. Thought it might be a piece of driftwood or the like. No accident it was front and center of the picture, though.

KP - last time I was lucky enough to be there was 1951 - the year I first met SOS. Friends ever since, too. :-)

I apologize for reminding you of your own KP fun.

Gus :-)))

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