Monday, September 9, 1968
Flood waters in Arizona territory were receding. The road was still closed, but there were some patches of high ground. Only a couple waterfalls could be seen on Charlie Ridge, and the inflow of water to the An Hoa Basin was waning rapidly.
Our rations were also diminishing. We put our heads together for a menu and decided to serve the Navy recipe classic, S.O.S. (chipped beef on toast). Traditionally, Marines liked this meal but always talked about in a derogatory way. We were ready for their verbal insults.
The issue with dried chipped beef was the high salt content. The recipe said to “soak it” in water, but this was a major understatement. Sumo separated the dried beef slices into a “square-top” and covered it with warm water for 30 minutes. The water was drained, and the process repeated before straining it thoroughly.
We made a large batch of creamed gravy, using a base of dehydrated non-fat milk and enriched it with plenty of evaporated milk. The mixture had a nice thick consistency but tasted bland. Sumo said, “The salt in the chipped beef will add plenty of flavor.” The beef was finely chopped, peppered and grilled before adding it to the white sauce.
We had no bread, and even if we did, there were no toasters. The chipped beef would be served on fresh baked biscuits. The final touch was “eggs to order.”
Surprisingly, we got the “thumbs up” from most Marines. Doc Furman said, “This is the best S.O.S. (shit on a shingle) I’ve ever had. It was a big compliment coming from his Navy background.
Next Edition: The Three Little Pigs