With four daughters, my father was rarely to be found in the kitchen cooking. Wherever he was, he would call out to one of us to get him a cup of coffee — regardless of what he was doing, or we were doing, or who was closest to the coffee pot.
It wasn't really a chauvinist thing; his kitchen phobia was the result of too much time spent cooking during his bachelor days. That's when he learned to cook for a crowd. He always told us kids that all the recipes he knew fed at least a hundred people, and that's why he didn't cook for us — our family was too small.
He wasn't kidding; he knew his way around a professional kitchen. His birthday was Christmas Eve and I'm sure he spent it slaving in a hot kitchen to get dinner ready for the group below on Christmas Day in 1943. His faded copy of the souvenir program details their holiday meal.
I love the old-fashioned sound of that menu with its stuffed olives and Parker House rolls. It is very reminiscent of what I remember both of my grandmothers serving at their own tables for the holidays. Especially the home-made Parker House rolls.
We always had the same two kinds of pie the crew of the U.S.S. Long Island enjoyed. And, yes, mince pie was always served hot at our house.
As for the cigars and cigarettes, my dad took up smoking in the Navy like thousands of other young servicemen and women. (He gave it up when he had a heart attack when I was in high school).
The original galley kitchen. Imagine the heat those lights must have added to such a small space! The crew is identified in my dad's handwriting on back of the photo but I am not sure if I am deciphering it correctly: my dad, Jack Brazill (standing at left), Kuenkle, Snyder, Klaspie, Ganutz and Martino (front).
The USS Long Island was the first cargo ship to be converted to use as an aircraft carrier. They came to be known as "baby flat tops" as a result of their distinctive look. Shortly before Pearl Harbor, USS Long Island carried out experiments to see if it was possible to conduct aircraft operations from such a ship. Among other things, the experiment showed the need for a longer flight deck.
During the war, the Long Island carried a crew of 970 and 21 airplanes and was instrumental in the Battles of Midway and Guadalcanal, among others. My parents attended the first USS Long Island reunion held in 1988 in San Diego. My father died a month after his 78th birthday in 1998.
Happy Holidays from the Brazill sisters to the remaining members of the USS Long Island crew!