midrats. that quasi-meal between supper and breakfast, served underway, or when we were in port working shiftwork.
typically, horsecock sandwiches, and some reconstituted dried gack like chicken noodle soup, or some other mysterious concoction the cooks cobbled together.
one advantage of midrats at sea was that the bread was usually fresh out of the oven. god, how many huge chunks of fresh boatbread, buried under a slab of butter did i eat while underway?
midrats were a ritual on the ustafish. bleary eyed sailors stumbling out of their racks stopped by for their first meal of the usually 18 hour day, midshift, around 2300 or so. fueling up for the 00-06 watch. and you needed to fuel up, because the decks were always cleaned on the midwatch. on all fours, scrubbing with a greenie and wiping with either "nylon reinforced paper absorbents", or fire resistant treated non-absorbent rags. the rags were brought down to the boat in burlap and wire wrapped bundles, and were squirreled throughout the boat, waiting their turn. i don't know where they came from, but the rags yielded hours of stupid midwatch activity trying to find the biggest and ugliest piece of cloth in the bunch. that piece then became your headband, bandanna, pirate cap. enough frilly pieces gathered over the first half of the run ended up being
if you were lucky, the night baker finished baking some fatpills before you went on watch. there were a lot of names for what they baked, but the generic fatpill covered all bases.
the grossest midrats sandwich i ever saw put together was done by a sonarman. he was later busted whacking his tool in his vehicle on base, so it kind of explains his actions. he dug through the bench lockers, scouring the stored goodies for something, anything, to build the "best sandwich in the world" with. the final product included bologna, mustard, peanut butter, dill pickles, shredded coconut (which really pissed off the cook), marshmallow cream, smoked kipper snacks, and to top it all off, heinz 57 sauce. i still shudder at the memory of watching him eat that thing.
midrats. think i'll go build me a sandwich.
here's a link to an older post about midrats: Joel's magic sandwiches