Thursday, October 04, 2007

Captain James Feeds the Boys

I asked in my last post a tricky question and there were a couple of interesting answers. How did Captain Cook get his sailors to want to eat the sauerkraut he supplied for their health?

Lorenzo the Llama thought the cabbage would have to be soaked in rum;

Maalie thought the ships surgeon explained in graphic detail the effects of not eating the vitamin laden vegetable;

And Merisi suggested sauerkraut was delicious enough for anyone to clamour for a plate-full

Sorry Merisi, but the majority of sailors of the time didn't think eating sauerkraut was their idea of a good time. Captain James Cook did though.

He was pretty well known in nautical circles for coming home from months and months at sea without losing a single crew-member to scurvy. Quite a feat when you consider the food with all the vitamins (fruit) is the food that goes off and is therefore not worth carrying on a ship as you sail the seven seas.

(HM Bark Endeavour)

Sauerkraut was the answer - preserved with all its natural goodness (if not delectable flavour) it would keep his men healthy and fit for duty.

But is telling the crew enough? We tell people every day that cigarettes are bad for your health, and yet people still smoke. New Zealand puts a lot of money into advertising 5+ a Day as the best way to keep healthy (at least 5 servings of fruit and veg a day). Yet still people don't. I know I don't, and that's probably why I have a head cold right now. Weak.
And on the subject of rum? A good solution and probably one I'd try, but lets be honest - the crew would mutiny as soon as they found out you'd been puring their precious rations all over sour cabbage!

Now after all this hype I bet you are thinking "The real answer had better be good! or we'll mutiny!"
Well I think the answer is a good one. It's not spectacular, and it's not frightening or violent or wicked. But it is incredibly intelligent and I think it says a great deal about Captain Cook and how well he knew human nature.

To get his sailors to want to eat sauerkraut, he first restricted it to the officers mess.

Nothing else could have made it quite so popular, don't you think?


TCA said...

I enjoyed that! A simple yet ingenious solution. Being the son of a salty NCO of the Royal Navy, I do believe that tactic is still employed today although more for certain types of refreshment.


Maalie said...

Ha! A bit of lateral thinking there JLS!


Herdingcats said...

saurkraut is such an awesome food. It's probiotic too, especially the way you show to make it.

simon said...

I really love it and my kids do too... with a pork chop

Martin Stickland said...

I'll give Ye 'deep water' jokes on my blog Ye old sea dog you!!!

Tee Hee

I like this post, very informative and clever old Captain Pugwash!

Sorry I have not been on board for a while but my bloom'in PC had been knackered all weekend!

Toodle Pip old Bean!

Maalie said...

I thought of you when I saw a Nimrod land at RAF Lossiemnouth (Scotland) a couple of days ago!

Raelha said...

Ooh, clever, a bit of reverse psychology. I never would've guessed it.

Martin Stickland said...

Full of cold hey!

I told you to wear that wooly vest in the playground to keep you warm but would you listen! Oh no, it's always me, me me!

Well let this be a lesson to you and in future wear the mittens with the string joining them so you do not lose them again!

What are you like?

lorenzothellama said...

I think he actually slipped them a multi-vitamin tablet.


Ju's little sister said...

Lorenzo - out of you and Martin, I would not have expected yours to be the comment I don't understand...


Ju's little sister said...

Capatin Cook slipped his boys the tablet! Yes I can beleive that - slipping the youthful and unexperienced some drugs while they're not looking. Filthy Sailors.

Martin Stickland said...

Hello mate!

Me old PC seems well and truly knackered becasue I cannot upload photos now to my blog.. oh well!

You is mad.. you is mad.. you is mad.

There! I said it.

The End

lorenzothellama said...

I do like your new picture of that eel. It reminds me of someone .......... ?????
Oh, I know, my ex-husband.

Martin Stickland said...


lorenzothellama said...

Peter won't actually admit to dumping her and maintains he gave her a tasteful and dignified funeral in the bit of land behind the tip. When I suggested that we all go to pay our last respects at the graveside he blushed, stammered a bit and made excuses. I asked June and their daughter Chloe if he had recycled Pepper in the household waste/organic skip, they just nodded sadly.

Re Martin's dating agency. We could surf through facebook and when we see some likely candidates we could copy their details and photos onto Martin's blog. You are the technical one. I'm not sure my brain could handle it.


Thesaurus Rex said...

As the saurkraut flows fast and crunchy, can you imagine the unbelievable stench that must have eminated from the sleeping quarters once all that cabbage started working it's flatulent magic?