Omega Mu Voice
Jay L. Clement,
It is said that an army marches on its stomach. For the fraternity it was not much different. There were great cooks, there were poor cooks; there were good Stewards, there were bad Stewards; and there were times of plenty and exceptionally lean times too. FIJI’s kitchen was not just about providing sustenance, it has its own rich history of events and stories.
Double duty. With a house of 40 brothers and one washing machine, one had to be creative. Refrain from washing your Ram sheets (ever), bring your laundry home for mom, convince your girlfriend to do it in one of the dorms, or in Brother Audie’s case use the dishwasher to handle a small load of underwear. I wonder how that next load of dishware tasted?
Sugar Ray. And speaking of Brother Audie, do you recall his sweet tooth that gave rise to the alternate nickname ‘Sugar Ray’? Razor was found in possession of an entire tray of chocolate mousses that he absconded from the kitchen. Another time it was an entire baking sheet of chocolate chip cookies.
The Steward. “A kitchen steward, also sometimes called a “kitchen porter,” is a person who works in a commercial or industrial kitchen as a sort of support person.” At FIJI, the steward was responsible for assisting the cook when necessary, tracking kitchen and food expenses, and on weekends when the cook wasn’t around, for meal planning and prep. Saturday breakfasts were a source of pride for me with eggs to order, oatmeal (gruel), home-fries, and occasionally pancakes and waffles. Not so much the time I and fellow steward, Brother Gebauer, mistakenly used shredded frozen potatoes in a giant batch of lasagna instead of frozen shredded mozzarella. Or the how about the never ending turkey dinners that Steward Brother Kenealy made us endure?
Mark E. Gebauer and John F. R. Kenealy
Other duties as assigned. And speaking of duties, what about Pots & Pans duty? This had to be one of the worst jobs in the house. There was a whole strategy to when you served this sentence. After taco night – good; after rib night – bad. Invariably there was no hot water and soap was rarely enough to cut through a night’s worth, let alone maybe decades worth of grease and grime on some of those pots and pans. Did we even have soap? And equally certain, there was always a brother that would blow this duty off and hose whoever followed with a mountain of stuff to clean and a partially filled sink of slimy water from a grease clogged sink drain. And it had to get done, remember JT refusing to cook and leaving because the pots were not done?
“What if the space be long and wide,
That parts us from our brother’s side
A soul-joined chain unites our band,
And memory links us hand in hand.”
(Phi Gamma Delta fraternity song)
Chip Chapman, ’82