Confessions of a Navy Cook - Chef Fern Garcia's Combat Chronicles vol. II
Turkey A La King In The Reefer
image via Chef Fern
Last week Short Order introduced you to American warrior Chef Fernando "Fern" Garcia. We asked you to comment if you wanted more and the overwhelming response brings us to this, volume II of Fern's Confessions of a Navy Cook. Keep the comments up, and tell your friends to give it a read. Any other armed service mess specialists out there? Let us know your war stories. Without further ado, here is volume II.
"I used to clean the 9 hour steak grill with my bare hands, soapy water,
and a sharp grill brick which tore my hands into picadillo over
time. Eventually, a sailor gave me a secret (no names), he busted out a
box of "bug juice."
Bug juice: United States Navy artificial fruit-flavored drink powder issued in Vietnam or some other senseless war.
The box was all white with a label stating..."Property of the U.S. Government."
The bags inside the box stated...."grape"...."cherry"....all the flavors of the rainbow.
I discovered that one could pour this evil shit onto a flat grill, and that it would cleanse it of grease
easier than the method of tearing my hands to shit with soap, water, and a spiked grill brick. Mind you, the grill had
over an inch thickness of animal fat tar attached like a leech slurping
the succulent blood of an unfortunate host.
Eventually I got used to the punishment of being a newbie in
a world where I probably did not belong. Then, when I was smoking a cig (I
smoked all 4-5 years of duty like a chimney in winter...cut me some
slack...I was a stressed mess.) A doc saw my hands cut up with multi
colors surrounding it like a rainbow (The BUGJUICE entered my wounds
from the grill brick). I couldn't even hold the cig...I couldn't even put
my clothes on, tie my boots, or even brush my teeth for a couple
months. I was damaged goods. That officer took me to my boss' office
and tore them a new asshole."
I got relieved of grill duties just in
time. New recruits arrived and I was spared by that awesome soul (the
doc). I then began a new chapter. Roasting mannnnny portions of meat
and slicing them while the ship rocked like a cradle. Stitches,
Eventually I worked my way into my own private kitchen and being the
greatest hero that ever lived.....actually not the hero part. But I did
get my own kitchen eventually and was taught how to cook by Master
Filipino cooks whom cherished the Masonic ways. I traveled the world, I
saw, I ate, I conquered. Many more stories to come....work and play
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.