Another nostalgic look at early Deepfreeze years, this
time at Wigram RNZAF station near Christchurch. Thanks to Farrell
Remember these receipts for chow we consumed at the mess
halls whether we ate in them or not at Wigram Air Force Base in New Zealand?
I can smell them now!!!! You sat at the table with all
the white linens and properly laid out table in the Sargeant's Mess and
the waiter took your order. The toast was hand cut and thick as the back
of your hand and stacked in a wire rack like sheets of plywood side by side.
The menu all hand written to perfection. What to order?
This day I will have the eggs 'over easy' with bacon.
"Tea!!"...how many Yanks drink tea for breakfast, bring me
coffee, strong and black. And, that is exactly how it arrived! New
Zealand coffee was not made only of coffee, but had chicory added, and bitter.
Thank God for the great milk of New Zealand with it's thick cream on the top
of the bottle.
And now the bacon and eggs have arrived as the waiter places the plate in
front of you, the eggs magically slide back and forth on the plate between the
bacon (and they are thick slices of what we call Canadian Bacon) before coming
to 'parade rest!' Ah, this looks good...so you carve up a chunk of bacon
and dip it into the yolk and to keep the yolk from dripping, you bend
over the plate and it is at this time the scent enters your nostrils.
Your stomach churns and you swallow rapidly to retain the 'libation' you
enbibed the night before, with your mind questioning....what is that
vile smell?? How can anything look so good and smell so putrid?? I
called upon my good friend of the N.Z. Air Force, Phillip "Hoss"
Boyd to give me a tour of the galley. The galley is immaculate as are
the chefs. My main concern was how the eggs were cooked. I
observed this large vat of bubbling fluid into which the cooks would crack
open and drop the eggs . Once the egg was cooked it would float to the
surface, where upon the cook would take a skimmer and retrieve the egg and
deposit it on a plate where it would swim before dying. And what was
this magical fluid......"Mutton Grease!!" Now you show me the
Yank who had a strong enough stomach to take that lot!! Our true savior
was the 'canteen' which opened for 'morning tea,' and you had best get in line
early. There were trays of fresh cut sandwiches covered with damp tea
towels to keep them fresh. Only this time the bread had been cut so thin
they must have used a razor. The ingredients were put into the
sandwiches and then the crusts were removed and then the bread was quartered
into mini sandwiches.
So at sixpence to ninepence a sandwich, the Kiwis made a forturne off the
It didn't make any difference...we were hungry and the ingredients were not
what we were accustomed to either. The egg salad were the first to
disappear and if you were near the end of the line, you had your choice of the
following: Bean, spaghetti, cucumber, or Marmite (a yeast meat paste
tasting of pure salt). For those of you who missed eating in the
messhalls of Wigram, you missed a very memorable occassion.
Nine quid, seven bob, watta bargain...