By Averil Staunton
To each of the messes [groups/teams] 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’ two 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, and butter. The premise being that better food intake would insure their good health on the long journey to their new home and they would lose their gaunt Workhouse appearance.
For mess/group were provided with one pot with a handle, plus one oval tin, a bread basket and two three-pint tin pots with covers for boiling water. They also had two, 2 gallon water-breakers, which could be slung up for use and one potato and one pudding bag. No doubt some learned to cook in the difficult circumstances on board.
The eight girls in each mess would sit together while 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.