>Organized Chaos – Cooking underway

>The best way to describe cooking underway is organized chaos, but I love it. You always have to be on top of your game, you constantly have to have an idea of what you’re working with and maintain as much control over your environment and your tools as possible.

I know a lot of people say this about their job, but in my opinion, cooking is the best job in the Coast Guard and one of the most important. What we do has a direct impact on the morale of the crew, and when we work hard and produce something good, we get to see the results of that work three times a day.

That being said, cooking underway isn’t always easy. The past few days, the weather and the seas have not been in the favor of the galley. Heavy rolls really have a way of letting you know just how well things are stowed for sea.

The other day we had a hundred pounds of flour and barley spill out of a “secured” cabinet and all over the deck in the galley. The ship took a massive roll, and we were all leaning against whatever we could to support ourselves. We had this particular cabinet secured with a latch and bungee cord around the handles, but the weight of the flour and barley and the roll of the ship proved to be too much for these meager measures.

The latch popped and the bungee cord snapped and out came bags of flour and barley, coating the deck in a small explosion of white powder and small brown seed pods.

We jumped on the mess right away, sweeping and scrubbing the deck to get up as much of it as we could, because you have to clean as you go, no mess can be left until later.

Safety is paramount in the galley. We work with sharp knives and hot ovens in excess of 350 degrees. If I slip with a knife I get cut, if a roll swings a piping hot oven door into my arm, or my face, I get burned. You have to be aware of everything around you at all times.

Cooking may be a challenge, but the results more than make up for it. I love the sense of accomplishment and pride I feel whenever I see or hear the crew enjoying their meals. Every once in a while I get a compliment, and for me that is the best feeling in the world.

Cooking may not be the easiest job, or the safest, but it is the most rewarding job for me, and I can’t imagine serving the Coast Guard any other way.