Whalers' Food A.K.A. Grub, cont.

Regardless, it's safe to say that food was not what attracted most men to the occupation of whaling. There are always exceptions, however, as Clifford Ashley wrote in The Yankee Whaler, "I have known old whalemen to have such a longing for sea-fare that they have gone to the dock to meet an incoming ship in order to get an ancient piece of salt-horse to take home to be cooked."

At the onset of a long voyage, a ship's pantry included:
Hardtack (sea biscuits)
Dried peas or beans
Molasses (black cat or long-tailed sugar)
Potatoes (spuds)
Fresh water

Because there was no way to keep things cold, many of the perishable items had to be preserved in some way. Salt was one way to keep things from spoiling: salt pork (salt junk), salt beef (salt horse) and salt fish were general provisions on most trips. Dried fruit such as raisins and dried apples lasted longer than fresh. Other items were pickled or preserved in vinegar.

next page >

image of scramble_salt_junk