Food, Mess, Kits and Rations

By Averil Staunton

To each of the messes consisting of eight people, a card was given, showing the provisions that were to be delivered out each day of the week, with the quantity allowed on each day. Compared to the orphans’ 2 sparse meals a day in the workhouse, their normal rations of milk and gruel/stirabout, were increased to include beef, pork, preserved meat, peas, rice, sugar, butter, in the hopes that a better intake of food would insure their good health on the long journey to their new home and that they would lose their gaunt workhouse appearance

For each mess/group  one pot with a handle was provided, plus one oval tin, a bread basket, two three-pint tin pots with finally two three-pint tin pots with covers for boiling water. They also had two water-breakers of two gallons, which could be slung up for use with one potato and one pudding bag. No doubt some learned to cook in difficult circumstances on board.

The eight girls in each mess would sit together when eating and clean up after themselves. Initially one of their supervisors would check the results until the girls learned to take care of their own meals. This would have been good training for the lives and work they faced in their new employment.


Course: Remembering our Heritage – Ballinrobe Workhouse

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