Sugar Cane Cubes

Raw Sugar Cane

Saturday, March 9, 1968

The “Southern meal” was popular as ever on Friday night, and Major Catoe complimented Sumo on the Catfish.  After dinner Top confided to me about the food journals.  “Major Catoe took the carbon copies as a source of reference.”  He was going to investigate at FLC to find out if we were getting our authorized allotment.

I wrote a short note to Gunny Sampson, requesting extra sets of tongs for our Sunday New York Steak BBQ.  I had ordered the tongs through the normal supply channels, but it could take weeks or months for them to arrive.  PFC Wilson, the ADMIN truck driver, would hand deliver my request to the Gunny in Battalion Headquarters.

Mama-San showed up with some fat pieces of sugar cane from the roadside market.  They were fresh cut, and she ordered me to keep them wrapped in a damp towel.  Hua told me Papa-San would teach me how to cut the cane into cubes.

Later after Papa-San was done giving haircuts, he came to the mess hall for ca phe * and gave me a lesson.  He started with, “No use knife!”  The cane would ruin the blade, and he suggested I use my bayonet.  The secret was to peel the green protective layer of cane away from the fibrous center.  He did this expertly with his one hand, and holding the cane vertical between his knees.  The softer center fibers sliced easily with the dull bayonet and resulted in a thick 2-inch cane cube.

Operation Rock was still active in Arizona territory, and I watched the war and drank my naturally sweetened herbal tea.  I thought of the Grunts who we normally served hot meals . . . now on their fourth day eating C-Rats.

* See previous “Papa-San” blog

Next Edition:  Reb Arrives

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