Military Labour Bureau, General Headquarters, Dar-es-Salaam
7 August 1917
Circular No 46
Cooking in carrier depots and Stationary Posts
1. 1) As the system of gang cooks has after exhaustive trial proved generally unsatisfactory, it becomes necessary to introduce as soon as possible at all depots and stationary carrier posts a scheme of cooking in camp kitchens by specaily selected natives trained to cook in a prescribed manner. The initial work must mainly be done in the main Carrier Depots, and Depot Offficers must regard it as a most vital part of their duties. Depots will be required as soon as possible to supply trained cooks to LofC Posts, etc.
2) The first step is to see that no raw mealie-meal is issued to the men. All mealie-meal should be issued from the posho store to the kitchens, to be drawn by the men from the kitchens after it has been thoroughly cooked. As soon as mealie-meal is being efficiently and smoothly dealt with in this way, beans should also be similarly treated. Later rice and meat should be taken over, and finally all cooking of every kind should be done in the Depot or Post Kitchens.
2. Separate kitchens will as far as possible be built for every 500 men in the depot or at the post. In large depots kitchens for permanent porters, transit porters, repatriates, etc, should be distinct. Kitchens shold be as large and airy as material and labour available admit of.
3. 1) Size of staff required depends largely on the size as well as the number of cooking vessels being used. At least one cook’s mate will probably be required to every two small vessels (ie up to 5 gals) in use, and at least one for every large vessel (6 gals to 50 gals) in use.
2) Establishment, Grading, Pay and Equipment
Head cooks: Pay Rs 21/- to Rs 30/- per mensem
Equipment as for Gun carriers with addition 1 Coat as for Superior Headmen, 1 Jumper, 1 pair shorts and 1 Red Armlet.
One Head Cook allowed for each kitchen dealing with 500 men or more.
Cooks: Pay Rs 11/- to Rs 20/- per mensem
Equipment as for Gun Carriers with addition 1 Jumper, 1 pair Shorts and 1 Red Armlet.
One cook allowed for every 6 cook’s mates employed.
Cook’s mates: Pay Rs 5/- to Rs 10/- per mensem
Equipment as for carriers with addition of 1 Jumper, 1 pair Shorts and 1 Red Armlet.
Number will vary according to number and size of cooking vessels being used (vide 3 (1) above).
3)Where small cooking vessels are used and the number of Cook’s Mates employed is accordingly large, they will perform wood and water fatigues. Where the number of Cook’s Mates is small, wood and water fatigues will be drawn from carriers. In all kitchens, etc Ordinary Carriers should never be allowed in or near the kitchens, except at issuing hours.
4) Soap from the Depot weekly allowance should be issued to the cooking staff, and personal cleanliness should be made a pimary qualification for retention on the cooking staff.
It is with this in view that 2 jumpers and 2 pairs Shorts are allowed on the equipment scale.
5) No native should ever be taken on the cooking staff until he has been passed for this special purpose by a medical officer.
6) Cooking staff should be selected or recruited from tribes such as Waswahili, Wanyamuozi or Waganda, who are reasonably cleanly by nature. Tribes such as the Kavirondo, who have not this natural advantage, should be avoided.
7) Any native who is found upon trial to be unsuitable for the cooking staff (owing to untrustworthiness, dirtiness, etc), should be returned to the grade he held before being selected for trial.
8) Carrier Depot Officers may draw on any draft of carriers passing through their hands for suitable natives for their cooking staff, other than drafts specially earmarked as on route to definite units.
4. 1) The 1 ¼ lb mealie-meal rations should be divided as follows:
¼ lb first thing in the morning before going to work.
¼ lb at midday
¾ lb in the evening.
2) Cooks will start cooking the morning meal about 4 a.m. the midday meal at 10.30 a.m. and the evening meal at 3.30 p.m. Pots will be cleaned after each meal and the Officer-in-Charge should make surprise inspections and treat neglect as severely as he would treat a breach of the sanitary rules of the camp. After the evening meal, pots will be cleaned and wood and water put out in readiness for the morning meal before the cooking staff goes off duty.
3) It will be seen that less than half of the cooking staff, the strength of which will be based on the cooking of the evening meal, will be required to cook the morning and midday meals. The staff can thus be worked in shifts on these meals.
Method of cooking
5. Mealie-Meal. Water to be brought to the boil. Salt to be added. The meal is then thrown in the boiling water little by little until all the water is absorbed, except sufficient to enable cooking to be continued for 1 ½ hours. Fat or oil to be added at an early stage of the cooking. Where there is likely to be some delay in issuing the food, sufficient water must also be added to permit of the mealie-meal being kept hot during the delay without drying or hardening. Improvised lids to keep the moisture should be devised for pots containing cooked food awaiting issue. ‘Uji’ may be issued to the men if they wish it, but the period for cooking ‘Uji’ must not be less than as above. It is merely a question of allowing for more water in proportion to meal.
Beans. Should always, if possible, be soaked for 12 hours before cooked and boiled for 2 hours before issue. Where soaking has not been possible, beans should be boiled for four hours before issuing.
Rice. Should be put into cold water, which should be brought to the boil, and kept at boiling for about half an hour. It is more readily cooked if soaked for an hour or two first. Rice should be tested before issue by squeezing between the fingers. If sufficiently cooked, it will be quite soft right through.
In the employment of salt, fat, oil, vegetables, sugar etc, Officers should consult the natives for whom they are cooking. It should never be overlooked that the method liked by the cooks themselves, or which is easiest for them to carry out, is not necessarily preferred by the other tribes for whom they are cooking.
Issuing cooked food
6. The cooked food may be issued to either the Headman of each gang, according to the parade strength of the gang, or to each individual man, or group of men. The issuing must be most carefully supervised by Carrier Officers to ensure a fair distribution. In laying out the site, fencing, etc, of camp kitchens, the necessity of providing facilities for the orderly and rapid issuing of the cooked food must not be overlooked.
7. The division of fuel is a point on which it is impossible to lay down any rule, as circumstances vary from post to post. Where it is scarce, it will be necessary at first to watch that sufficient is left over from the morning cooking to prepare the evening meal, and to allow for private cooking under para 1 (2), and a careful attention to problems of wind, draught, and conservation of heat will devolve on the Officer concerned.
8. 1) Carrier Officers at Stationary Posts should be encouraged in every way to adopt the system at their posts, but special effort must at once be made in testing and perfecting the system in the Depots.
2) The introduction of kitchens on these lines does not mean that the men are to be forbidden to have their own fires as heretofore, if fuel is available.
3) Officers are asked to make any suggestions in modification of the scheme as outlines above, and to indent by telegraph on the DML for any appliances, etc, which they think may tend to facilitate or improve the working. It must be borne in mind, however, that these appliances may be difficult or impossible to get, and that Officers in the meantime must do the utmost they can and with the means at their disposal. Further, the simpler the means used in the Depot, the ore easily can the system be extended to temporary Lines of Communication Posts, etc.
4) DADML’s and Senior Carrier Corps Officers should call for constant progress reports from Depots in their areas on this subject, and forward these reports to the Director of Military Labour. They will also, if possible, inspect depots in their areas a fortnight after the receipt of this circular to ascertain what has been or is being done in this direction. Any slackness or indifference on the part of a Carrier Depot Officer in this matter, detected at this or any subsequent inspections must at once be reported by telegraph to the DML.
(sgd) CF Watkins, Lieut-Col
Director of Military Labour