Thursday, January 22, 2015

Part 117

So guess what my first "test" was?  I, along with all the other new cooks, had to serve the older, experienced cooks a day of meals.  And they got to grade us and based on our grade is the kind of supplies we would get for our patrol.  OMG.  No pressure there.  It was like being back in school and suddenly finding out there is a huge exam, that it is all on stuff you've never studied, and you only have a couple of hours to study and take the exam.  I mean carp ... seriously just total carp.

Each of us newbies had to serve between ten and twelve people.  I was the youngest and one of the few females - figures wouldn't it - and none of us cooks were given too much guidance.  We were simply pointed to what looked like a bicycle hot dog cart, told our supplies for the day were in there, and instructed when the meals were to be served.  Otherwise we were told to just shut up and get to work.

As a matter of fact everyone else had known about the test before I did because I was the last one in off the train and no one realized I was actually a contractor and not some kid bound for the orphange or a militia training camp.  So it's like 4:30 in the morning when I get kicked awake - I think they meant it as a nudge but crankiness made it a little "nudgier" than necessary - and as I'm throwing on my boots trying to figure out what the issue is I get the situation explained to me.  Let me repeat ... carp.

I walk cold - both figuritively and literally - to my station and then stare down into the box on the front of the bike.  Well I'm already fuzzy brained from lack of sleep and worry that I'm doing the right thing and then there is next to no light to see by and add to that how blasted disorganized the supplies were ... I quickly went from fuzzy to furious.  Must have done the trick though because I was determined that no one was going to get my goat over this.  It seemed like a real hazing job and I just wasn't going to put up with getting picked on.

The supplies were a mish mash of fresh, canned, and dried stuff.  I mean it looked nothing like I would have expected military supplies to look like.  I figured there'd be some MREs and things like that but seriously, it looked like what Mom and I would bring home from the scratch-and-dent on the days they marked everything down to clear their inventory.  The fresh stuff didn't look too pretty either.

I decided since the women had gone gaga over French toast the first time around that I'd just repeat it only there wasn't any dried banana slices.  Instead I located three cans of sliced peaches.  I would also need more than a skillet to cook in and I was pointed to a pile of beat up cookware.  Carp.  Instead of the stuff salvaged out of someone else's kitchen I grabbed a dutch oven I found buried in the pile.

The only concession made was our cooking sources.  There were stoves, fire pits, and a few other things already up and going.  I walked over to a fire made from what looked like brickettes and grabbed thirty-two of them ... twenty-one for the top of the dutchie and eleven for under it.  I set my already dug hole up so that the dutchie could start warming up.

While that was going I took a dozen eggs - after cracking them I found they weren't what you would call the freshest dozen from the store so I was glad I hadn't decided on a quiche or anything - made two cups of milk from some powdered stuff, adding a little of my vanilla extract, and a little bit of powdered cinnamon as well.  I noted that there weren't any seasonings in the supplies - not even salt and pepper - so I'm going to have to be on the lookout for stuff or substitutions.

I took a loaf of day old bread and sliced it and dunked them in the egg/milk mixture.  I checked and the dutchie was ready so I removed the lid and threw in some butter - surprised me to have the real thing though it wasn't the pretty color of the storebought stuff Mom used to buy - and once it was melted I added about two and a half cups of brown sugar from a tub of it in my supplies.  Then once the sugar was all melted I dumped in the drained peaches from the three cans, got them all spread out neat, and then placed the wet bread in a single layer over the top of that.

I put the lid back on the dutchie and left the coals in place.  I knew I had about thirty minutes before it was ready so I took the peach nectar and watered it down just a little for "juice" and also put on a pot of what said it was coffee but looked more like some kind of chopped root.  Good thing I wasn't a fan of coffee but knew how to fix it because Dad had drunk gallons of the black goop.

The other thing I started doing was organizing so I could see the sum total of what I had to work with.  Being short I practically had to climb down into the metal box and was hanging in there upside down when someone slapped my rear bumper.  I jumped up and out and had my bat in hand and was swinging it when Lucy grabbed it one-handed.  She looked at the guy who had fallen back on the ground in surprise and said, "I oughta let her break your head open you idiot.  She's a kid.  You wanna wind up in front of Sgt. Shadwell?"

"She don't scare me."

"Then you're stupid."  She looked at me and said, "Don't hit him, at least not while we are at base.  No fighting permitted for any reason.  If he touches you again, report it, just make sure it is to Sgt. Shadwell or one of the women officers."

The guy sneared and walked away like he ruled the world.  Lucy asked, "Can I let go now or are you gonna go after him."

"Not worth it," I grumbled.  She turned loose and I put the bat down but within easy reach.  "What's the deal?  I thought there were gonna be rules and stuff here."

She shrugged.  "There are ... they just aren't always as enforced as they are supposed to be and some people get away with more than they should."

"So he's got friends?"

She looked at me and then smiled.  "Yeah, but so do you.  The others and I have already decided.  You take care of us, we take care of you.  We'll get that douche when we are out in the field.  He'll figure out pretty quick he made a mistake.  Shelly already don't like him so this will make her happy to have an excuse to pay him back for a few things."  She handed me a pack that looked about half full.  "This is some of your gear.  After third meal one of us will make sure you get to Supply so you can finish getting outfitted."

"Am I supposed to cook for you all today?"

"Naw.  When we are at base we eat in the chow line.  Make sure you get a bite of what you're cooking because by the time you are finished the chowline will probably be closed.  See ya."

Carp.  Carp, carp, carp.  I'm beginning to think this whole signing up to be a cook is going to be harder and involve a whole lot more than cooking and dealing with a few puss brains here and there.  I've got a hand shaped bruis on my backside tonight that is making it difficult to get comfortable if you know what I mean.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm, more story ---- Happy dance......

    Hope all is, if not good, at least improved at home....