Help support TMP

"The food of Nelsonís Navy" Topic

10 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please use the Complaint button (!) to report problems on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

Back to the Age of Sail Message Board

Areas of Interest

18th Century
19th Century

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Recent Link

Top-Rated Ruleset

Rank & File

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

Featured Workbench Article

Painting 6mm Baccus Napoleonic British Infantry

After many years of resisting the urge to start a Napoleonic collection, Monkey Hanger Fezian takes the plunge!

Featured Book Review

619 hits since 16 Sep 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 8:08 p.m. PST

"When on a long voyage, the food provided was of necessity such as could keep; and that meant, on the whole, a rather tedious and not particularly pleasant diet.

Salt pork and salt beef in barrels were the staple food, and the opportunities to make a profit on this unappetising fare was considerable for the chandlers and pursers who provided it. For one thing, a purser's pound had only 14 ounces in it, not the standard 16; for another, as the meat was sealed in barrels it was not uncommon to provide poor or even rotting meat. When each barrel was opened, the number of pieces of was recorded, Ďof which [so many] rotten' being commonly recorded. One of the complaints of the men at the Mutiny of the Nore was that they wanted 16 ounces to the pound…"
Full article here


14Bore18 Sep 2021 6:00 a.m. PST

Interesting, but if you read through Patrick O'Brian you would get much more, fish often, rats when caught.

codiver18 Sep 2021 6:14 a.m. PST

Drachinifel did a video back in March about 18th Century Naval Food where he actually makes and eats the stuff: YouTube link


Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2021 8:53 a.m. PST

This is a good book


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2021 2:09 p.m. PST

Many thanks!


Thresher0119 Sep 2021 1:18 a.m. PST

Salt pork, e.g. salted hams are delicious.

Haven't had salt beef, but imagine it may be good too, as long as it isn't rotted.

I hear salted fish is a thing too, but haven't tried it either.

Some of the old ways of preservation are/were really effective, and food prepared from it can be delicious, if properly prepared.

One of my all time favorite breakfast meals is salt-cured pork with biscuits. A good, salt-cured ham is quite expensive, especially if you buy the European varieties from Spain, or Italy, or their sliced equivalents, like prosciutto.

Thresher0119 Sep 2021 1:22 a.m. PST

Thanks for sharing those links.

A pity the book one doesn't provide a download option.

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2021 7:03 p.m. PST

Yeah, some salted meats are a delicacy. But the Royal Navy didn't preserve meat with the artistry of the Italians. It was pretty nasty stuff best served in stews to cover them up. Nothing like dried peas and ground up hardtack flavored with weevils to savor your dish.

You can spill buy rum distilled to Royal Navy recipe. Bet that isn't so good either though.

Just keep in mind the average laborer in Britain faired little better.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP21 Sep 2021 12:32 p.m. PST

@ dantheman

Exactly. The food was pretty grim, but no worse than on land and at least plentiful. Hungry men don't fight well.

Thresher0124 Sep 2021 6:24 a.m. PST

Yea, from what I've read, sailors of the period ate better than the average citizens of the time (and/or at least more dependably).

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.