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Cooking for the Crew: WW2 Ice Cream!

By Victoria Tolson

During a hot day, ice cream can be the perfect summer treat to help keep you cool! And the US Navy certainly agrees with that! In The Cookbook of the United States Navy, which was published during WW2 and used aboard our Battleship Wisconsin, there is an entire section of the cookbook devoted to ice cream! The Navy insists that “ice cream should be a ‘regular’ on the Navy menu.” And gives many different tips and tricks to ensuring the perfect ice cream is made. They even include variants on the recipe to switch it up from plain vanilla, some of these varieties will be familiar to you and some you may never have heard of! But when a skilled Navy commissary personnel was planning the menu for their ship; they had a lot of things to take into account and even a bit of math to do before they could relax and enjoy a bowl of ice cream themselves.

“Planning the menu, therefore, should be of primary importance to the commissary personnel, for upon it depends, to a great extent, the health and morale of the men in the general mess”

The Cookbook of the United States Navy, pg. 8

During World War II, our Battleship Wisconsin had almost 3 thousand men aboard! This put the ship well over the 1900-person capacity it was built for. And feeding this crew was quite a monumental task. Meal planning at home is hard enough even with our easy access to grocery stories and restaurants. Messmen at sea only have what was already in their pantry to feed their crew with! They have to carefully plan ahead to make sure their crew are getting a well-balanced diet, full of all of the vitamins and minerals they need to remain in fighting shape. And when a ship has multiple mess halls and thousands of crew members, that planning isn’t as easy as packing a lunch for yourself the night before and calling it a day. It takes a skilled team of commissary personnel, also called messmen, to carefully plan, prepare, and execute their menu!

For example, here is a simple issue that messmen run into on the daily, 10 mess halls of 100 men each require 1000 portions. But if you prepare that same amount of food for a mess hall of 1000 men, you will have a lot of leftovers. Why is that? It’s the same amount of men, shouldn’t it be the same amount of food? 1000 portions for 1000 men! The Navy Cookbook warns us of this phenomenon, saying that larger messes are slightly more efficient so they have less food waste. This means that you need to cook less food to meet the same demand, 10% less food for any mess over 1000 to be exact. Here is a recipe for Knickerbocker Bean Soup that has been scaled to feed 1000 people.

Our recipes for Ice Cream are a little more-straight forward and easier to follow, since ice cream could be prepared ahead of time and stored in a freezer until ready to eat! But it still follows that format of being written for 100 portions and then needing to be scaled to your crew or mess size. This basic recipe calls for an ‘Ice Cream mix, dry’ that could be mixed with cold water, which made a very quick and easy to prepare recipe. The Navy could just stock a ship with the dry mix that could easily be whipped up and have different ingredients added to create a variety of flavors. For example, ’12 vanilla tablets’ are dissolved in water and added to create vanilla ice cream! A more exciting flavor like Coffee Ice Cream requires 6.5 pints of coffee brew to be added in place of plain water, which honestly sounds delicious! They also have recipes for Pineapple Grape Ice Cream and Date Nut Ice Cream, if anyone is feeling curious!

And finally, for the ship without Ice Cream mix, the Navy Cookbook contains a recipe for Ice Cream (Using powdered whole milk and powdered eggs). If anyone is feeling adventurous and wants to recreate this recipe at home. Please send us some pictures of your creations! For everyone else, I hope that you enjoyed learning about how BB-64 crew enjoyed ice cream even during WWII. We hope you are staying cook this summer and invite you to come visit our Battleship, learn more about the talented messmen aboard our ship, and even enjoy some ice cream served right on our front deck at the Big Wisky Porch!

Nauticus is Going Greener! – Digital Membership Cards 

As part of our commitment to preservation and conservation of our natural resources and marine environment, Nauticus is thrilled to launch a faster and greener way to deliver membership benefits to you, our Members.

Members will now access all membership cards electronically. Digital membership cards will provide a more efficient and convenient way for Members to receive your cards, even getting your card the same day if you want! This environmentally-friendly approach supports the Museum’s vision by reducing our environmental footprint. This change will eliminate thousands of paper letters, envelopes, and cards.

Additionally, where cards can be lost, stolen, or left behind, digital cards will live on your smartphone, and can be accessed anywhere you travel without the inconvenience of fumbling through a wallet to find the physical card. It’s a great way to access membership when visiting one of our 350 ASTC passport reciprocal museums, and ROAM if you are at the Family Plus Level or higher.

Every current Museum Member will receive a link to download the digital membership card to your google/apple wallet.

Questions? View FAQs below.

Not a member? Sign up today!

Digital Membership FAQs

Your digital membership card is unique to your membership and displays your name, membership level, expiration date, and a barcode. Simply show your digital membership card to our staff at the Admissions Desk or Banana Pier Gift Shop to take advantage of your membership benefits. 

Digital membership cards will be sent to the primary email address of every active Member. You will need to open this email on your mobile device and follow the instructions to download the card. The card will automatically be stored in your phone’s wallet app. If you need to add an email address or update the email address on your account, please email membership@nauticus.org, with your request. 

  • For iPhone Users 
    Access the digital membership card email from your smartphone and click the “Download” button, then click “Add to Wallet” and “Add.” The card will automatically go to your iPhone’s Apple Wallet. It can be accessed in the Wallet app at any time. 
     
  • For Android Users 
    Android users need to download Wallet Passes from Google Play. After you have the app, access the digital membership card email from your smartphone and click “Download” in the membership email, and the card will automatically go to your Wallet Passes app, where it can be accessed at any time. 

Yes, for Family level and above, each Member will receive a unique digital membership card via email. If a membership with two members has only one email address on record, then both digital membership cards will be sent to this email address. Members can then forward the email or use the share feature of the wallet app to ensure that their spouse receives their digital membership card. 

To send the card to your spouse or joint Member, click on the black circle with the three white dots on the top right corner of your membership card. You will be directed to the backside of your membership card which lists all of your Member benefits. To share pass, click on the sharing link on the top right side. Please note: This cannot be sent by text, it must be sent by email. We will request a corresponding photo ID upon entry to ensure that only the named member is using your digital card. PLEASE NOTE: You are not permitted to share your card with individuals outside of your household. Memberships will be revoked if sharing is discovered. 

Unfortunately, we cannot generate digital cards for add-on guests or caregivers at this time. Simply have your named caregiver show a copy of your digital membership card by navigating to the back of your digital membership card and use the “Share Pass” button to send the card to your caregiver. After selecting “Share Pass” you will need to select the email or mail option to share your pass. iPhone users can share the pass via text message if sending to another iPhone. As always, we will request a corresponding photo ID upon entry to ensure that only the named caregiver is using your digital card. 

Yes. The safety of our members is very important to us, and we want to ensure that no one else is using your membership benefits. 

Yes! Please contact us at membership@nauticus.org, and we can resend the email for you to download and enjoy your digital membership card. You may also want to check the Junk or Spam folders of your email. The email subject line will start with, “Your New Membership Card.” 

Yes! The digital card will automatically update when your membership information changes. For example, your expiration date and membership level will automatically update the next time you renew or upgrade your membership. This means that you only have to download the card once. 

Family Plus, Educator, and Innovators and Navigators Circle Members will receive their guest passes in the mail, even if they will be receiving a digital membership card. 

Digital membership cards display the ASTC and ROAM logos when applicable. Simply show your digital membership card at participating museums and science centers to receive free or reduced admission! PLEASE NOTE: We recommend calling reciprocal institutions prior to visiting to find out their admissions policy, every institution can be different. 

By default, all Members will now receive a digital membership card sent to the email address you provide. If you prefer to receive a plastic membership card instead, please contact us at membership@nauticus.org.

Yes! Please contact us membership@nauticus.org to update your information. Please also review and update your contact information as you renew your membership. 

Please contact us at membership@nauticus.org and we would be happy to make the correction. 

Unfortunately, we cannot generate digital cards for add-on guests or caregivers at this time. Simply have your named caregiver show a copy of your digital membership card by navigating to the back of your digital membership card and use the “Share Pass” button to send the card to your caregiver. After selecting “Share Pass” you will need to select the email or mail option to share your pass. iPhone users can share the pass via text message if sending to another iPhone. As always, we will request a corresponding photo ID upon entry to ensure that only the named caregiver is using your digital card. 

If you have an iPhone, the card will automatically download to Apple Wallet. Check the app for your new card and scroll through any cards that are already downloaded. If you have an Android, you’ll need to download Wallet Passes from the Play Store prior to downloading the card.