Ship Galley - Ship Biscuits - Square Meals
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Note the rail around the stove to hold the pots and pans in place while at sea. Onboard the Ashmore there was a Cook for first class and the crew. Also an Assistant Cook for second-class and Mess Men and Mess Women rostered on for steerage-class. Porridge was made for breakfast in steerage, lunch was served cold and for dinner, the steerage-class mostly ate cold salted meat and ship biscuits (recipe and video below), which needed to be soaked or they would break teeth. Totally different to the decadent meals in the first-class saloon. They had butter, cream and milk daily from the dairy cow on board. They were given three cooked meals a day and morning/afternoon high-tea. The crew received 3-square-meals a day, which derives from the size of the meals and the square plates used on board.
This wooden plate (1500 - 1700AD) is made from either Beech, Sycamore or Maple. It was also called a trench. They were unbreakable, easy to store because they didn't roll around and some were carved with hallows for their salt or gravy.
Ship biscuits were unleavened and also became known as hardtack during the American civil war. These hard biscuits were eaten on board the Ashmore and were made before the voyage and stored in the hull to avoid the weevils that infested flour. Apparently, they can last up to 100 years.
To watch Christa making ship biscuits click here: