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Old 29-07-2016, 18:27   #1
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Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

According to Stephen Bown's Scurvy: how a surgeon, a mariner and gentlemen solved the greatest medical mystery:

1 lb biscuit daily
2 lb salt beef twice weekly
1 lb salt pork twice weekly
2 Oz dried fish thrice weekly
2 oz butter thrice weekly
4 oz cheese thrice weekly
8 oz dried peas four days a week
1 gal beer daily

Except for the beer and cheese ration, my kidneys and intestines weep for the millions that died at sea..
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Old 30-07-2016, 00:05   #2
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

That menu might have been in the best case scenario. Have you read "Two Years Before the Mast"? Great book, tough life.
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Old 30-07-2016, 08:59   #3
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

What a bunch of wusses we are now days. Freezers full of food, water makers, ice cubes for the rum and coke. No wonder the anchorages are crowded now. Oh for the good old days, (NOT). Life in general was tough 200 years ago, but the sailors life was brutally tough. It is a good thing there were IRON MEN or the world would never have been explored. ____Grant.
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Old 30-07-2016, 09:04   #4
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Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

I believe the beer was pretty weak, and essentially that was their water source as it was safe?
I've also read that in days gone by that beer was a staple food source?


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Old 30-07-2016, 09:30   #5
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I believe the beer was pretty weak, and essentially that was their water source as it was safe?
I've also read that in days gone by that beer was a staple food source?


Sent from my iPad Pro using Cruisers Sailing Forum
I think you are right on the beer.

But Im wondering about that 2oz fish? Perhaps pickled kipper?
But did no one catch fish?
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Old 30-07-2016, 09:37   #6
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

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I think you are right on the beer.

But Im wondering about that 2oz fish? Perhaps pickled kipper?
But did no one catch fish?
They did catch fish, but it went to the officers and others that could afford to pay. The general decay of food was so great that sailors paid for rats caught in the hold.
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Old 31-07-2016, 09:57   #7
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

beer is still a staple food source for me...
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Old 31-07-2016, 10:09   #8
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

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beer is still a staple food source for me...
One of the three main food groups
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Old 31-07-2016, 10:10   #9
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

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Originally Posted by SV DestinyAscen View Post
According to Stephen Bown's Scurvy: how a surgeon, a mariner and gentlemen solved the greatest medical mystery:

1 lb biscuit daily
2 lb salt beef twice weekly
1 lb salt pork twice weekly
2 Oz dried fish thrice weekly
2 oz butter thrice weekly
4 oz cheese thrice weekly
8 oz dried peas four days a week
1 gal beer daily

Except for the beer and cheese ration, my kidneys and intestines weep for the millions that died at sea..
Iron men in wooden ships!
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Old 31-07-2016, 10:14   #10
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

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Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
That menu might have been in the best case scenario. Have you read "Two Years Before the Mast"? Great book, tough life.
Sounds like my next book to read. I'll also recommend "Life in Nelson's Navy" which is an excellent account of the times.
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Old 31-07-2016, 10:27   #11
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

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I've also read that in days gone by that beer was a staple food source?
More than that. Beer may have been what started agriculture, not bread.


Archeologists are looking at why agriculture started.
Simple beer brewing is just some grains left in a container of water for a few weeks and natural bacteria in the air can ferment it. Drink it and you get a buzz.

Chuck a bit of fruit in and the sugar of the fruit alcoholises better and you get drunker.

Getting shitfaced is a much better motivation to planting a crop instead of walking a few miles to get it.

Oh, and as you k.ow, once you get a brew going if you stop it you need to start at the beginning again. So there's an imperative to growing a supply.

Beer may well have started civilization.


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Old 31-07-2016, 10:30   #12
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

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One of the three main food groups
No, there are only two food groups.

Those you put cheese on and those you put chocolate on.
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Old 31-07-2016, 10:31   #13
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

On the diet: 6 pounds/3kgs of meet per week is more than many get on the current western diets.

Apart from the biscuit, wheat, its not a bad diet.
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Old 31-07-2016, 11:34   #14
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

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On the diet: 6 pounds/3kgs of meet per week is more than many get on the current western diets.

Apart from the biscuit, wheat, its not a bad diet.
Sounds like a lot, but these guys were probably burning 3500 calories or more per day.
It was probably just enough to keep from revolt and still fit on the ship.
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Old 31-07-2016, 11:50   #15
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Re: Typical weekly menu for sailor in the golden age of sail

Galapagos turtles can go a year without food or water. Hence why they were so popular with sailors. You just put them below decks and when you get low on provisions you just kill and eat a turtle.

Also, India Pale Ale was developed because of sailors. When the British were sailing back and forth from India the beer would go bad before they got there. They held a competition to see who could brew a beer that could make the trip. IPA was the result.
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