Pussers' Cookbook by Paul White

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  • I was looking forward to the arrival of the Pussers' Cookbook with bated breath as I enjoy reading cookery books almost as much as I enjoy a good novel.

    There are many cookbooks out there made up of ‘handed down’ recipes and it’s about time that a pusser’s chef (cook) took the time to do the same for the matelots.

    The premise is a good one. There are plenty of ex-matelots who would love to be able to recreate the ‘scran’ of old and I guess that if this is your dream, then this is the book for you. (My father always made me make Corned Beef Hash and Cheesy Hammy Eggies for him when I went home on leave. Even putting some in the freezer for later.) It contains some of the best-loved food from yester year and some are still being made on pusser’s warships to this day.

    However, it is all a bit confused. It started when ‘scran’ was spelled scan. After that it’s hard to read without noticing the spelling and grammatical mistakes. Apostrophes in the wrong place etc. Possibly my OCD coming out, but still…

    I know it is accurate in its context, but the use of the word ‘n*ggers’ isn’t really needed.

    Some of the naval terminology is explained in the glossary, but some is not. Not sure if anyone not connected to the Mob would know what a ‘fanny’ is for example.

    Then there’s the layout of the recipes themselves. Some have the ingredients first and then the method and some do not. Some don’t have the ingredients at all, they’re just listed in the method. For the layman, it would make it difficult to follow.

    The book ends with some not particularly interesting ‘dits’ about sailors eating food ashore.

    A good effort, but it needs someone to go over it with a much more critical eye and attention to detail for this book to really please me.


    2 1/2 Anchors.

Ageing_Gracefully likes this.


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  1. Ageing_Gracefully
    Here is the much anticipated Cookbook which will bring back memories for some of you old-n-bold that sailed the ocean blue at the tax-payers' expense!

    Following the comments about grammar and layout, I suggested to Paul that we could maybe help out with this and tidy up the book a little bit. He has readily agreed to this but still feels, and I am with him to an extent, that the book as it stands is what it set out to be; some memory inducing recipes and some stories using a funny foreign language that you guys seem to learn in basic. (Never could find the toilets in HMS Maidstone in Belfast as the naval guys just kept saying 'heads' and there were none at the front of the boat! Strange people.)

    One thing, very important, missing from the review is that money made from this is going to be donated to the RNRM Childrens' Charity. http://rnrmchildrensfund.org.uk/ a worthy cause as you will no doubt agree. So don't delay in buying a copy as it will be a while before an amended copy is ready and if it is only a bit of spelling and such then you could miss out by delaying.

    Thanks to Paul for the book and Daps for the review. Enjoy!
      rebbonk likes this.