• Photograph si890
  • Photograph si891
  • Photograph si889

The main kitchen was huge, next to the kitchen, in a shed was a giant steam producing machine, the steam was let into the kitchen by thickly isolated pipes, super heated steam was let into pressure cookers big enough to cook a whole cow in them if you liked. Steam heated cup boards, 400 eggs could be boiled at once in there, a roasting oven the size of room, inside was a paddle wheel, on one paddle there was place for four trays with four lamb legs in each of them, you pushed a button, the paddle moved upwards and the next one came in sight, once the oven was filled, you closed the door, pushed another button, full heat went on and the paddle wheel rotated inside. The meat done, two cooks, to take the bones out, if you know how, its easy, two other ones at the slicing machines filling the slices into trays, place them on carts, a fifth person adds gravy and carts them to where they are kept hot. Food prepared in those big ovens was transported to various mess halls, others like fried eggs, or pancakes were prepared in smaller kitchens behind those mess halls. If you fry eggs or make pancakes from 4 am to 9 am non-stop you feel and look like an egg or pancake. Or when you had to bake fish dipped in batter from 11 am to 6 pm you are splattered with batter all over. It’s very sticky. The crew, mainly Russians some Poles, a Mongolian, most of them had escaped from German war prisons to the western allies at the end of the war, had somehow managed not be turned over to the Soviets and made their way to Australia. Besides them there was an Aussie who had learned his cooking abilities while serving in Vietnam, he was kind of a loner. If he had his day, one could work next to him on the same workbench for several hours, without him saying a single word. Those days he wore an absent look on his face; everybody just let him be then.

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