Daniel Neman: Think your kitchen is small? You must attempt a submarine


I don’t want to hear a person complaining about how small their kitchen is ever again.

The latest trip to Chicago included a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry to explore, among other wonders, the captured German WWII submarine U-505. I hadn’t been to look at it for a long time.

Of all the fascinating details of the tour, I found many of the most intriguing things the excursion guide referred to as the kitchen; however, it could often be called the galley.

There were 59 men aboard that submarine — 59 men the manual made abundantly clean were dirty, sweaty, grimy, and stinky. They were also hungry.

The galley became filled with a couple of small sleeping quarters for the sailors. Its dimensions—and I am right here speaking with both the precision and vocabulary of a marine engineer—had been very tiny, and by now, there was not enough room.

One character should stand without problems in it. Two could not. The quantity of ground space is less than the dimensions of a present-day fancy residential variety.

For that count, the sub’s cooking surface became smaller than that of a contemporary fancy residential variety—or maybe one that isn’t all that fancy.

The delivery range had warm plates for massive pots and one for small pots, and there was a further tabletop hot plate that could also handle a huge pot.

The oven was approximately the scale of a big toaster oven nowadays.

And that was it—that was all the room they had to cook dinner in. The sink, which one assumes was used to scrub the dishes and pots, became commensurately undersized.

And there were fifty-nine hungry mouths to feed three meals an afternoon for weeks at a time before they returned to port. They needed to carry as much food as they probably ought to with them and locate locations to save all of it on a ship in which every square inch of space was being used for something.

The sailors shared bunks in shifts, with many men dozing a few torpedoes. Not only did they have to find room for 12 heaps of meals, but they also needed to distribute it lightly at some stage in the ship to hold its instability while it dove underwater.

For obvious reasons, whatever clean they could bring about board became eaten up first. The sparkling ingredients covered 494 pounds of clean and cooked meats, 238 kilos of sausages (recollect, it became a German sub), 595 kilos of eggs, 917 pounds of lemons (possibly to keep the team free from scurvy), 2,365 pounds of different fruit, and 3,858 kilos of potatoes.

When the ones and some different sparkling items were depleted, they became preserved and canned meats (4,808 pounds), powdered milk (1,728 pounds), and dried potatoes (397 pounds).

And then there were the 2,058 pounds of preserved bread. Those were bread saved in cans—canned bread. The museum even has the remains of a loaf of canned bread that was found hidden inside the submarine in 1995—more than 50 years after it was captured.

The loaf seemed horrible and gross. Yet, by hook or crook, you assassumedanged significantly because it was first pos was the can.

The men aboard the U-505 were responsible for the sinking of eight Allied shipment ships at some stage in the struggle path, along with three from America. When taking the excursion, what you experience for them is not hate but a substitute for sympathy.

It became a tough, unpleasant life on board a submarine. Conditions had been cramped, there was no water with which to wash, and the nightmarish enjoyment of being hunted with intensity charges turned into actually unnerving (one commander, while the delivery changed into being attacked with intensity charges, cracked below the stress, and committed suicide in the front of his crew, part of the deliver’s story that isn’t referred to within the excursion).

Life becomes horrific enough without having to eat canned bread.