13 September 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 36 - Working for a Living

Week 36 (September 3-9) – Working for a Living: September 7 is Labor Day in the United States. Write about an ancestor and his or her occupation.

Here I am again, a week late with my blog post.

While September 3 - 9 was Labor Day in the USA, it isn't Labour Day here in New South Wales until October 5th. However, September 7th was Father's Day. So to combine those dates, this week I am going to talk about my Dad - who for most of his working life was a Marine Cook. 

He started his career in the kitchens of various vessels involved in World War 2

Dad's ships during World War 2
Dad on a break - likely during World War 2 - photo provided by Carol Martin

I can remember my Dad in his white singlets, white t-shirts, white apron and checked pants. I can picture his knives - and I remember once visiting him on a ship and looking through the kitchen. The main thing I remember about the ship is the smell of diesel fuel - that made a lasting impression - even as I write, I can still smell it. The following picture was taken in 1973 - and is likely around the time of my visit.
Dad didn't cook much when he was at home. Apart from being on a break, Mum told us it was because we (me, my sister and brother - though it was probably mainly me) offended him when we were little. He was used to cooking for grown men, and when he tried to cook for us as young children we wouldn't eat what he cooked because it was too spicy. As we got older we never really could convince Dad to cook for us - though he did start cooking a little on weekends when Mum went back to work (when he was home, of course - he was often away "on the ships")

One thing I didn't really know, was what was actually involved in being a Marine Cook (apart from cooking), so I looked up the current course requirements from our Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges to fill out my knowledge. Dad's role was obviously more complex than I imagined, the following list is for entry level participants doing a Certificate III in Maritime Operations (Marine Cookery), Dad was, usually, a Chief Cook and had much higher level cooking skills:
  • Provide first aid
  • Follow vessel security procedures
  • Observe personal safety and social responsibility
  • Prevent and fight fires on board a vessel
  • Survive at sea in the event of vessel abandonment
In his survival suit
  • Prepare simple dishes
  • Produce dishes using basic methods of cookery
  • Use cookery skills effectively
  • Clean kitchen premises and equipment
  • Provide service to customers
  • Use hygienic practices for food safety
  • Maintain the quality of perishable items
  • Participate in safe work practices
  • Control stock

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