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Messing in the Mess

The cook is always right

by Tony Tustin

To Tales from the Trails

This story came to mind recently having had my memory jogged by another veteran when we were discussing the messes in Waiouru during the Main body days of 1950.

Our mess, that is RHQ, EME, Div Sigs, Regt Surveyors etc, was the old Block 3 mess and all meals required a mess parade. There was a group who always made sure they were together in the mess queue and made a habit of complaining about any small thing they could find to complain about. It was more of a joke than anything and really designed to keep the cooks on their toes. Our Sgt cook was also quite a character and decided to get his own back.

Any old soldier who has "Dined" in the old open messes with its 8 Gallon boilers, oval galvanised stewpots and the 1½" by 24" square desert trays will remember the "jellies" that were served on rare occasions. The day came for the come back. As the complainers arrived at the servery the Sgt cook produced from under the servery two trays of jelly very neatly sprinkled with icing sugar and laid them side by side in front of the group. Behold!!! Across the top and clearly imprinted in the icing sugar were the foot prints of a pair of hobnailed boots.

A Tustin, October 2002

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