Video: Traditional food for sailors of the 18th century, which can only be eaten by a very hungry person
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-29 10:45
It is difficult to imagine a more difficult job than serving as a sailor on an 18th century ship. At that time, people were already being poisoned on distant sea expeditions, leaving their native shores for many months. And amid the trials that were prepared by such a voyage, not only winds and storms awaited them, but also the food they were fed on the ship.
A sailor in the XVI-XVIII centuries could only be a person who could do without any comfort for a long time on a small ship in the middle of the ocean. The living conditions of the sailors were extremely primitive, and first of all it concerned food.
The dry admiralty reports, as well as fiction by Patrick O'Brien, Raphael Sabatini, Cecil Scott Forester, Thomas Mine Reed, describe in detail the diet of real sea wolves.
Before going to sea, fresh food, pork, beef, peas, flour, oatmeal, butter, cheese, and alcohol were brought aboard the ship. But most of all were corned beef and crackers. Officers and warrant officers threw off together and for personal money bought live cows, rams, goats, poultry for their wardrooms. The captain, as the richest man on the ship, made his own supplies.
Several centuries ago, food preservation had not yet been invented, fresh food in the sea climate did not last long, therefore, on long voyages, the diet of most sailors consisted of corned beef, water, crackers and biscuits. But even this food was spoiled.
An experienced sailor could not be surprised by the situation when
So they ate crackers and ate - with worms and bugs. And so that there were fewer of them, they knocked on the table with biscuits.
Meat salted in barrels has a long shelf life. Nominally, it should have been enough for any, even the most distant, voyage. In reality, due to bad barrels, low-quality salt and hot climate, corned beef spoiled and rotted. But even unspoiled by it it was difficult to eat. Cooking corned beef is a very simple process, the cook just chopped the meat into pieces and boiled it in clean water. But it was not possible to remove the salt completely. In addition, the careless cook did not always bother to remove the tough skin. To digest such food, you need a very unpretentious stomach.
When all the fresh meat on board ran out, sailors and even warrant officers, future officers, turned their eyes to the rats:
The sailors traded not only rats, but also freshly caught fish. Surprisingly, many sea wolves did not accept fish as their main food, preferring meat.
The meager ration of the sailors, consisting of corned beef and crackers, was brightened up with a daily portion of alcohol. It was given out, carefully pouring out to everyone equally, under the close supervision of interested eyes. In the 18th century British Navy, the daily allowance was 3 liters of beer, 0.5 liters of wine, or 250 ml of grog (diluted rum). If the captain wanted to thank the crew, there was no better way than an extra drink.
From prolonged feeding of corned beef and breadcrumbs and the lack of vitamins, the sailors often suffered from scurvy. This disease causes a rash on the body, tooth loss, anemia, death. The only treatment for the disease is the resumption of normal nutrition, rich in vitamin C.
While sailors on sailing ships traveled thousands of nautical miles, eating wormy rusks and rotten corned beef, noble feasts were held in the capitals of European states. King Henry VIII of England was a gourmet, of which there are few. The kitchen in his palace occupied as many as 50 rooms.
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