I once worked with a fellow submariner who rode the Nuc boats back in the late 1980’s and remember him mentioning something about ‘Pizza’ night….. I remember having some pretty good meals on Sailfish but I cannot for the life of me remember ever having ‘Pizza’ for any meal.
I do however remember ‘Italian’ night. I believe the tradition on Sailfish started just before I reported aboard by cook Vincent “Mother” Savino who would always serve Italian meals just like “Mother would make” every Thursday night while underway. Spaghetti and Meat Balls; Lasagna; and Mostaccioli; being just a few of the Thursday night fares. Red checkered table cloths would cover the green ‘no slip’ rubber table mats on each of the four tables in the After Battery Crews Mess. Italian dinner music from the ‘Reel to Reel’ stereo would be playing in the background through the two wooden wall mounted speakers,……. and for the off-going watch section, a little glass of ‘Dago Red’.
We had good cooks and bakers on the Sailfish. Each not only produced great meals (OK, there were a few ‘sh*t canners’ but they were far and few between), they also created great atmospheres in that small cramped ‘crews mess’ that helped set the mood for the entire crew. I do believe that the cooks and bakers on the old smokeboats were much more than just ‘Culinary Specialist’s’ as they are referred to in today’s Navy. Smokeboat cooks and bakers were nothing less than………. ‘Magicians’. Meals back then were prepared in an area no larger than the size of a small walk in closet or kitchen pantry yet, the meals actually ‘set the mood’ for the entire crew. Good meal,……. good mood and happy crew…..
Back on the old boats three of things that I really had to look forward to while underway were…. A good hot shower (which was only available the night before pulling into port), a good strong cup of ‘black and bitter’,…… and a really good meal…….. Sailfish cooks and bakers were responsible for two of those three.
And ‘Pizza’ was never on the ‘Menu’ section of the POD…….