Climb aboard one of His Majesty’s ships, circa 1930, pull up the gangplank and prepare to experience galley life at sea. Enjoy the arcane practices, no-nonsense instructions and a wealth of period recipes from an era when the map was painted red and ‘empire builders’ were not just a pair of shorts. Learn how to avoid the dangers of ‘bone taint’ and ‘fly-blown meat’. Discover what to do with a ‘steam chest’ and how to work an ‘Aldershot oven’. Once equipped, you will be in tip-top shape to delve into the recipes—from the simple yet gargantuan (sausages for 500 men: take 125 lbs of sausages, fry in lard, add ‘brown gravy’) to the relatively small-scale and refined, you will get an insight into how the sailors lived and ate. And it was more varied than you might imagine, so they were not always stuck between a rock cake and a hard biscuit.There are the dishes to stir the heart (‘Patriotic pudding’ or ‘Queen Bess pudding’), the nautically exotic (‘Mock Turtle soup’, ‘Canary pudding’), the down-to-earth way with offal (‘faggots and peas’, ‘sheep’s head broth’) and the faintly scary ‘beef tea with egg’ or ‘brown stew’. There are even salads (well, a few). All in all, for a cook’s eye view of Navy life, this book takes the biscuit.