Rancid Rabbits

Further Adventures from the later years of the U.S.S. CHEVALIER (DD-805)
As Recorded By Fred Albrecht, RM2, 1969-1972

This little vignette took place during my third cruise (November 1971 – March 1972).

Chevy Chow

    The cooks and bakers on the Chevalier always worked hard to provide us with the best meals possible.  Most of the time, what they had to work with was definitely less than great cuisine.  During my first two cruises, it was not unusual for the officers to say that what we were eating was better than what they were having in the wardroom.  On a small ship, eating was one of the few entertainments that we had.  I can remember many outstanding meals, including some steak and lobster cookouts on the fantail.  I also remember getting meals during a typhoon when it was hard just to stand up. 

      However, on my third cruise, there was one notorious “bomb” that was so bad that it must be recorded for posterity.  Forgive me, shipmates, for this terrible tale.


Agony on the Mess Decks

    I’m not sure what happened to the food on that final cruise.  Many of the good Commisary men from the prior cruises had gotten out.  Perhaps our supply officer was not as generous as his predecessors.  Our food seemed to be consisting of a lot of roast beef and mashed potatoes.  The roast beef was gray, and looked like it had been in the freezers of the store ships since World War II. 

    The cooks tried to add some variety to our menu, but sometimes those attempts produced strange results.  After one UNREP(underway replenishment), we were looking forward to the fresh bananas we had seen come aboard.  Unfortunately, the “bananas” were a strange jungle fruit that looked exactly like bananas but tasted like cucumbers!  Just the thing to eat on your corn flakes with the already funky tasting powdered milk.

Gastronomic Disaster

    From somewhere, the supply officer had obtained enough cases of frozen rabbits to feed the whole crew.  Most of us had never tasted rabbit, and of course wondered if it would taste like chicken.

      The anticipated day arrived, with the evening meal promising the exotic rabbits.  The cooks had decided to deep-fry the bunnies, in order to get them all done in time.  Each crewman could have at least one rabbit.

    I had been in Radio Central until about 6:00 PM, and went down to the mess decks expecting the usual crowd.  I was surprised to find very few people there, and what few people that were there were rapidly leaving.  I got my fried rabbit, which was about the size of a squab.

    I sat down to try my first bite of rabbit.  I gagged and quickly spit it out.  The frigging rabbit tasted like it had been cooked in gasoline!  Totally inedible!  I quickly understood why there were so few people at dinner.  The explanation was that the grease used to deep fry the rabbits had been rancid, but it really tasted like they were cooked in NSFO!  Dinner for most people that night consisted of canned shoestring potatoes from the ships store.

      What was really odd was that the career men were not only scarfing the foul rodents, but that they were going back for seconds!  All the San Miguel’s they had drunk must have totally destroyed their taste buds and given them cast iron stomachs.

      That evening featured the biggest turnout for “midrats” that I can remember in my entire time on the Chevy.

    As always, I would enjoy hearing from anyone who served on the Chevy during the period I was aboard.  My phone number is (707) 664-8256, and my E-Mail is startrek805@aol.com

Thanks Shipmates,

Fred Albrecht 

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