Highlights for the rest of the week included tenderloin, rib-eye, prime rib, roast beef, breaded pork roast, turkey pot pie, lemon baked fish, noodles Jefferson (a dish created by the sub's crew) and hamburgers, pizzas and buffalo wings.
The Jefferson City prides itself on the variety of its beef offerings, whereas cooks on attack submarine Portsmouth are noted for their chicken dishes. The Portsmouth's menu for a recent week included Sichuan chicken, Jamaican chicken, chicken cordon bleu, savory baked chicken, chicken cacciatore, Southern fried chicken and chicken noodle soup.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday January 23, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 15 inches; 563 words Type of Material: Correction
Submarine food -- A chart accompanying Saturday's Column One about dining on board a submarine showed that the cholesterol count of eggs and omelets made to order on the Jefferson City is zero milligrams. The chart, supplied by the Navy, indicated zero milligrams because the exact cholesterol level varies depending on how the sailors wanted their eggs prepared.
The advent of nuclear subs in the 1950s led to improved food because galleys doubled in size, allowing for improved capabilities.
But Jack Engelbrecht, a retired submariner who served on the older diesel-electric subs, recalls how food was still "pretty good, better than anywhere else."
Engelbrecht, who joined the Navy when he was 17 and later became a communications electrician on one of the first nuclear subs, says, "I remember that we would have fruit pies, fresh baked breads and fried chicken. They were always very good."
"Food has one of the biggest morale impacts on submarines," says Joseph Weber, a chief petty officer who is in charge of the food service for the 11th Submarine Squadron at Point Loma. When at sea, crew members have little communication with relatives and friends. Off-duty distractions are limited mainly to reading and watching movies.
To improve the food offerings even more, Weber last year began a program with local restaurants in which cooks from subs spend as long as three weeks working with civilian counterparts in the San Diego area. Submarines at home ports elsewhere such as Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Norfolk, Va., have similar programs.
So far about two dozen sub cooks have gone through the program at some of the best restaurants in San Diego.
"They're right up there," in terms of cooking skills, said Bernard Guillas, executive chef at the Marine Room in La Jolla, where about a dozen submarine cooks have spent time making everything from French pastries to salmon with beurre blanc.
Guillas also learned a few tricks about cooking in tight spaces, inspiring him to begin writing a book about submarine food.
"All the people who came to work with me, they love what they do. They have double interest: They want to do something better for their comrades on board, and they want to understand what is happening in the industry so they'll be better prepared when they leave the Navy."
Rico, the Jefferson City's senior mess specialist, says submarine crews are spoiled by the good food: "They sometimes take it for granted because they get it day in and day out."
No wonder then that submarine crews have another distinction that sets them apart from anyone else in the military: It's apparently the only fighting force in which virtually every sailor gains weight -- about 10 pounds on average -- during a deployment.