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December 27th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Clemson Military College Mess Hall-Part II



(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today I'll continue to combine a chapter of Frank Mellette's book on the Mess Hall along with some old photos. From Frank Mellette's book:

The gravy which was usually made from flour and water tasted terrible and was called "bull juice." I never was able to eat it on anything and instead used catsup on rice or anything else that I ate that might have called for gravy. I must have eaten a barrel of catsup while I was at Clemson.

Various other food items went by nicknames, Coffee was called "Java" which I think is standard about everywhere. Milk was called "cow juice." Eggs were called "hen fruit." I guess that they were all from cold storage because they always had a strong smell and required an extra large amount of catsup.

Syrup was called "zip" or "cylinder oil" and I can't tell you where those names came from. The syrup was good enough that you could usually fill out the meal with it on bread if the other food was not to your liking.

Most dessert was called "sweet stuff." Once a week, ice cream would be served. After the regular meal was over, each cadet at a table got one dip while the waiters received two. I learned from somebody to put syrup on my ice cream which made it go a little further and was actually pretty good.

We always had some sort of dessert for lunch. Often dessert would be pineapple pie, which seemed to be one of the specialties of the baking department. It was very good. Occasionally they would have cream puffs but the slang name for those is too rough, even for this book.

Catsup was called "red stuff." Since the waiters ate ahead of the rest of the cadets, they were able to go back to the kitchen with the empty bowls or pitchers for "seconds," if any were left. With most of the staples, there was usually some more if it was needed.

However, with things like the desserts, meats and milk, one serving was usually all that a table could get. Again, it was not fancy food but the food was nutritious and there was enough to get along on very well.

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This unique dynamic also plays into some of the politics of what you can, and cannot do, at a football game at Boston College….more on that in a bit. 

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