A Chow Line Memory - Chow Line Memories are real stories from service men and women about the "Best Chow" and the "Worst Chow" served up during their service years. These stories are in the own words of the veteran and are an extention of the soon to be released book Bread and Bullets - The Meals of War by Kent Whitaker.
A Scrumptious Dinner
I guess my fondest memory of Army chow was the scrumptious dinner the Army served us on Thanksgiving Day, 1951, in Pusan, Korea. I had only arrived in Korea a few weeks earlier on TDY from our Tokyo Hq to serve as a radio script writer for the Korean Radio Network (Psywar). Our quonset hut base and our radio tower was located at the top of the hill overlooking the Pusan harbor.
So Thanksgiving day our crew rode the Army truck down the twisty, winding road to the harbor area. On this day, the chow hall was decorated beautifully and we were served a splendid Thanksgiving fare: roast turkey, along with corn bread dressing and plenty of cranberry sauce plus all the goodies and even mashed potatoes. And as usual, on the ride back up the hill, I took with me a big bag of candy that I threw out to the Korean kids who lined the route and yelled their thanks to us. It was a wonderful day of Thanksgiving, for us GIs and for the poor young refugees from that terrible war.
Kent, next time I'll tell you later about my worst food experience during basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in 1950. Back then we also had to do KP duty too!
Best always, Joe Dabney.
Bio: Joseph E. Dabney a Korean War veteran, a retired newspaperman and public relations executive who has studied the Carolina and Georgia Low Country, Appalachian, and hill-country food traditions for many years. Author of the highly acclaimed Mountain Spirits and James Beard Cookbook of the Year Award winner Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, and Scuppernong Wine, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo via Sourcebooks.