Interview With Anthony Tucholski

From the interview with Anthony Tucholski of Toledo, OH conducted by Rick Martinez at the Fort Worden History Center on May 12, 2002.   Mr. Tucholski served in the 248th Coast Artillery from June 1941 to September 1945.  He was stationed at Fort Worden, but spent most of his service time in the Aleutians as a mess sergeant.  Here he talks about cooking for the men who worked in the Alaska Communications system as linemen:

“The men would come in from putting up communications wires in 50-60 degrees below zero weather with the wind blowing 90 miles an hour and I had to have a meal ready, no matter what time it was.  I made lots of pot roast and mashed potatoes and gravy because they were frozen and wanted to eat.  When they would eat breakfast they would have scrambled eggs and piles of hotcakes.  They used to go out and hunt moose, black bear or porcupine.  They’d bring it in and we’d have it.  I wouldn’t skin it, that’s why I had KPs (kitchen police).  They were from Kentucky or Arkansas, where they eat fowl or wild game, so they didn’t mind it..  They’d pound a nail in there and ‘ssshhew’ it was gone.  They knew how to do it.  Then we’d cook the carcass.  The moose were beautiful.  We’d have roasts that thick and about that big around.  We’d have moose roast, moose stew, moose steak, black bear.  The porcupine was like chicken.  It all had a wild smell  to it.  We would use vinegar and whatever we could to kill the odor. We didn’t know which was worse—the stuff we were trying to kill it with or if we’d have just eaten it.  I had my filet mignon, maybe that’s why they called cooks ‘dog robbers.’  Once in a while we’d get sole from the big fishing boats off the Aleutians.  You’d lay them on their sides and they were about that high and that wide. We’d bring them in and cut them up, and the guys would eat filet of sole.  We’d deep fry halibut.  Some guys would stay there all night and eat them if they could.”

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