Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Fine dining, three squares a day, as much as a man could want to eat, these were the sentiments of the workers at the dam, who ate at the Anderson Brothers' big tent or mess hall. With a cigar chewing cook and a lot of bull cooks (servers and bus boys) the meals were served three times a day to over a thousand men. Lunch of course was packed in wrappers, sandwiches and fruit. But breakfast there were eggs, meats, biscuits, gravy and lots of coffee. At dinner there were steaks and chops, potatoes and rice, vegetables of all kinds, with cream pies and cakes. The men could eat as much as they wanted, which in the beginning was quite a lot. Once they figured the effect of eating so much (hard to do when it's extremely hot working conditions) they cut back on the food but still poured on the salt by a recommendation for their health. Without enough salt in the diet, sweating all day like they were, salt was a saviour.
To sit with a group of seven other men at a table discussing the day's work was pleasurable. But what really counted for many men might have been the feeling they were getting taken cared of. They did not have to worry where the food was coming from, it just was and plenty of it. A false sense of security?
A continuation of the times they'd just left behind, but even more so, for being so desperate?
Nonetheless, camaraderie was high. Food was decent, even if it got tiring as the days turned into weeks then months without any time away from the job. The real pleasure then had been taken out of the equation. It wasn't every man for himself, oh no, it was every man for every man for every man the job must get done.