Thanksgiving and Army Chow
Date Published: 18 November 2004
Earlier this week, for a few nights in a row, it was thanksgiving dinner time at FOB Bernstein. They had turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes -- even cranberry sauce. There was also roast beef. This was for a couple of days in a row (so it was like T-day with leftovers -- very realistic), but of course they're about a week and a half early. So of course now I'm wondering if the stuff we just had was meant for Thanksgiving, and having already had it, we'll end up with baked chicken and macaroni cheese or something for Thanksgiving dinner here.
On the subject of chow, the quality of chow doesn't vary tremendously between the two major bases I've stayed at, Bernstein and Caldwell. However, there are definitely differences. Caldwell has more variety, serves lunch and late night meals, and has ice cream. They also do omelets for breakfast and have burgers and hot dogs and such at lunch. Bernstein is smaller and only serves breakfast and dinner, no ice cream, no burgers, no omelets. But the food they do serve is usually ok. I was just at Caldwell recently for a day trip and one thing that hasn't changed there is that the silverware there sucks -- it's plastic just like at Bernstein but it must be the cheapest plastic on the planet since you can break the forks off in soft eggs. I thought it was just me but everybody who rode down with me was complaining about it. The other thing that really makes Bernstein's chow outcompete Caldwell's for most folks is that at Bernstein they don't care if you take a case of milk, or cereal, or soda with you to your quarters. At Caldwell, they (used to -- I didn't see them on my trip this week) have signs prohibiting taking any drinks from the chow hall, and limiting soldiers to one drink per meal. They used to have lunchroom police at the doors to make sure people didn't walk off with stuff. It was pretty sad since the food and drinks were all meant for soldiers, and whether they were consumed in the chow hall or in the barracks shouldn't make any difference. In fact, since the chow halls are often overcrowded, having soldiers eating and drinking outside the chow hall would mean more room for others inside. Anyway, those signs were gone this time around, so perhaps Caldwell's not as uptight about it anymore, but it used to be really annoying.
Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.