February 18, 1968
In the afternoon after cutting New York steaks, Sumo and I watched and listened to the horseshoe tournament taking place below our hooch. There were teams from the gun crews, corpsmen, motor pool and the administrative team of Top and the battery clerk. This recreation time was important, and the tournament became a weekly tradition in Kilo battery.
Top asked me to put a steak aside for later in the evening. After dinner was secure, he showed up with a care package from his wife. It contained taco shells, refried beans, canned chilis and salsa. He was from Houston, Texas and wanted to observe his family tradition of cooking Mexican food on Sunday nights. We set him up and watched as he prepared his Tex-Mex concoction.
As he was eating, the conversation turned to menus, and I expressed frustration with the Ocean Perch we were issued each week for Friday’s dinner meal. It was a bland tasting fish, and its soft texture didn’t stay together (it was a mess). Top had a solution, “Serve the fish on the side.” He suggested the main course should be, “Pinto beans, coleslaw and cornbread.” Both Sumo and I were skeptical but agreed to give it a try. Finally Top promised to help sell it as “a true Southern meal.”
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