Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

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Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

Post by Victor_88 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:13 am


With all our interest in food eaten in the field, we seem to have forgotten about food eaten on base, whether stateside or inside garrison.
Surely there must be members here who communicate regularly with servicemen whether logistical or combat who can lay their hands on pictures of menus or documents etc?

We know a bit too much about what is eaten outside the wire, how about inside the wire?
I'll start the ball rolling with this nice document ... 10.14M.pdf

The pertaining parts are in the back: around page 160

Fresh Fruit Four types of assorted fruit daily; one
type will be seasonal fruit; rotate
Hot Breakfast Cereal One type of hot cereal; rotate choices
Ready-to-Eat Cereal Three types of cereal; rotate choices
Ready-to-Eat Cereal One type of cereal that is nonpresweetened
and fortified with folic
acid, calcium, and iron; Rotate choices
Eggs to Order Patron choice
Assorted Omelets Patron choice
Hard Cooked Eggs Serve daily
Creamed Beef Serve daily
Breakfast Meats Two types of breakfast meats; rotate
Potato Product Serve daily;
Pancakes, French Toast, or Waffles Rotate choices
Sweet Dough Pastry One sweet dough product daily; rotate

Of special interest is this line:
5. Not more than one gas-forming cooked vegetable such as cabbage,
cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and dried beans and peas will be
offered per meal.
v :P

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Re: Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

Post by Victor_88 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:19 am

I add in also two pictures of food served in an SAF cookhouse (what americans would call a chow hall)

Now lets see what the nearest friendly chow hall has on its menu :lol:

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Re: Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

Post by DangerousDave » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:09 pm

When I was at Riley, on Thanksgiving Day, me and a couple guys dressed in Class A's. As soon as we got in line at the Mess Hall, the Bn. CSM came and grabbed us, took to front of the line. Works everytime. :D
After the Chicken and the Egg, came the "Omelet"!

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Re: Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

Post by RockyRaab » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:58 am

My last chow hall meal was at Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam. Breakfast featured powdered milk, powdered eggs, canned bacon, canned fruit, canned bread, and real coffee. Prepared by local help who last washed when they followed a pooping water buffalo through a rice paddy.

The high point was monkey noodle soup, served for lunch at least twice a week.
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Re: Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

Post by OtisRNeedleman » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:36 pm

When I was enlisted in the 70's, at various times ate in both Air Force and Army chow halls. At that time AF chow halls were a cut above what the Army provided. I often ate in my room or downtown instead of dining at the Army chow hall at the Defense Language Institute. At that time (74-75) the Army chow hall was run by the Army, and a bunch of the cooks were draftees. The AF chow halls, at least in the CONUS, were run by contractors. In Korea, the chow halls were run by the military, but with many Korean cooks/staffers. Our unit had a mini-chow hall, with food brought up from the main chow hall, since many people couldn't leave the operations building for meals. We'd supplement the food with snacks and sodas from the Base Exchange.

As an officer in the 80's and 90's, occasionally ate in both Air Force and Army chow halls. During my second tour in Korea, we ate the infamous "box bennies" from the chow hall at Osan AB, since we couldn't leave the operations area to go eat. Once again, we'd supplement those box bennies with snacks, drinks, and food brought in from outside.
At Goodfellow AFB, we permanent party officers could eat in the chow hall from time to time. When I was at Randolph AFB I didn't even know where the chow hall was located. When I wasn't TDY, I would eat at my desk, we'd go out for lunch, and a couple of times a year would have lunch at the Officers' Club. At Fort Meade I took my kids to eat in the Army chow hall for Thanksgiving or Christmas a couple of times. During the last assignment back at DLI I'd periodically eat in the Army chow hall, so I could talk informally with students. Normally, I ate lunch at home, a quick walk from work. Now and then we'd go downtown for lunch.

Over time the Army chow halls greatly improved, but the AF chow halls were still better. But no matter where I ate, I never came away hungry.

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Re: Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

Post by noderaser » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:25 pm

Below is the published menu for our Air Guard wing; however I'm assigned to a Geographically Separated Unit (GSU) on an Army guard post, so we get whatever the Army caterer gives us. I've never eaten at the Wing dining facility, it sounds pretty good compared to what we get. Ever since they switched the contractor from a small local caterer to a national company (Service Care of America) the food quality has been pretty poor, though they have made a conscious effort to improve. Breakfast is still pretty monotonous; the hot line offerings are always some form of eggs, sausage or bacon, potatoes, and biscuits and gravy. Fruit and cereal are also provided.

Even though we have a sizable full-time complement, we are only provided meals on drill weekends, and at annual training due to the difference in military status. I have a 30-minute lunch period during the week, so I typically bring something to work, and go out on the town maybe one day per week. I've been using the Blue Apron service a lot of weeks lately; so my lunch is typically the second serving from that.

On the last deployment, the food was "meh", catered by a local contractor. There were typically three entree options, but one was always chicken & rice and I avoided the seafood options like the plague, so menu fatigue became an issue. There were also shortages of certain items; lettuce for the salad bar went missing a number of times, and when it was available it was often yellow and wilted. Boxed juices and powdered milk, baked goods (bread, croissant, bagels, etc) and other fruits and vegetables also came and went. We also did not have a clean water supply, so bottled water was used for all cooking, drinking, and some hygiene purposes. We showered and washed our clothes in the contaminated water. Ended up doing a lot of "guerrilla cooking" using items and ingredients from the chow tent, whatever we could buy from the small BX (a semitrailer) and stuff sent from home. We also occasionally had the opportunity to eat/buy food from a small store/restaurant on the local side of the base, which served things like shawarma, flatbread pizzas, and sandwiches. But, we didn't have to live on MREs for six months; in fact, I only saw a few MREs the entire trip.

We had a 10-day layover at another base in-theater on our way home, where we were treated to a lavish dining facility with many choices, including all the bacon you could eat, plus soft-serve ice cream and all sorts of other stuff that probably would not have been good for our waistlines had we spent our entire tour there. But, we were allowed alcohol (2-drink daily max) at our base so it was a trade-off.
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Re: Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

Post by Icon » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:06 pm

When I was in (late 70s early 80s) and doing my time in the mess hall, there were recipes on cards.. and I think recipe cards were what they were called. As time went by and these were replaced with something else, one would think there would be a few sets for sale someone where. Some of the items I really liked.
I have found pdf files of lists of current meals, but no recipes.

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Re: Chow Hall details (Menus/planning)?

Post by Tedster » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:08 am

I pulled KP a couple times in basic, it was 24 hour duty and pretty much kicked my ass as I recall. Mess hall duty is kind of a thankless job and it is an important one. Overall they did a pretty good job considering what they had to work with and the conditions. Still we would often drive down to McChord AFB from Lewis for "midnite chow" on the weekends as they had a 24 hour mess hall and the food was a bit better.

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