Smoko Milk - Ships Nostalgia
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Smoko Milk

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  #1  
Old 18th January 2014, 12:55
alaric alaric is offline  
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Smoko Milk

Who shares my fond memories of Smoko Milk?
When I first went to sea in 1959 I experienced a dreadful gastronomic shock a few days out of London when the supply of fresh milk ran out. The stewards mixed some awful white powder with water and served it as a milk substitute. Much to my amazement, some of my shipmates lapped it up, adding it to tea and coffee, and even soaking their cornflakes with the stuff!
I could not stand it, and as a result have taken my tea and coffee without milk (black) ever since, even though proper (full cream) milk reappeared as soon as we were on the Oz and Kiwi coasts.
Every day in port, a very large jug of this wonderful milk was served at morning Smoko in the Engineer’s Duty Mess, enough for everyone to have several glasses, although I probably had more than my fair share (I still carry the result)? Does anyone else remember this delicious daily portion of nectar? Slow Starvation? No way
I still occasionally treat myself to a glass of milk with, rather than in my morning coffee. Gives me a nostalgia boost.
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  #2  
Old 18th January 2014, 13:00
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Satanic Mechanic Satanic Mechanic is offline  
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Basically I just don't drink milk at all now for the very same reason- black tea and coffee, by the way it turns out black tea is so much nicer the thought of actually putting milk in it is just awful now
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  #3  
Old 18th January 2014, 13:03
Michael Taylor Michael Taylor is offline  
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I remember a milk churn being delivered at the bottom of the gangway for our use during South Island calls .... a wonderful change from coni-oni milk. It was during my MANZ Line days and when arriving back in the States family friends would ply us with fresh milk when visiting them....they could not understand that ships did not carry milk. The advent of LongLife changed all this.
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  #4  
Old 18th January 2014, 13:15
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A.D.FROST A.D.FROST is offline  
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Blue Star also ran along the same lines,but you surly you missed out on the Kiwi coast.I remember in New Plymouth the Wharfies canteen rather than throwing it way after they closed we were given a churn,as long as we left it at the foot of the gang way in the morning.Great after work when it was kept in the Brine Room and using a pint glass to help break the ice.Kiwi milk is nectar of the Gods(it was expensive because their was a deposit on the bottles.Happy Days
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  #5  
Old 18th January 2014, 13:34
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Mariner44 Mariner44 is offline  
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Always supplied with Carnation condensed milk when the real cow juice ran out. Was this posh, or what? I used to look forward to a midnight cocoa: Cocoa powder and condensed mixed up with a bit of water to aerate it, and then there was a great frothy head on the mug of cocoa once the boiling water had been added.....a sort of cappuccino version of cocoa.
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  #6  
Old 18th January 2014, 13:35
expats expats is offline  
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When on coasting colliers I found that fresh milk was a rarity...Sterilised milk and 'Carnation' were usually used...I used to buy my own....
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  #7  
Old 18th January 2014, 14:47
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I don't recall ever having dried milk at sea, though I might well have done. Used to get issued with a tin of coni-oni every week on the pax boats in the 60s, but also used to get fresh milk issued for cereals at breakfast.
I'm a regular user of powdered milk these days, but I only use it in tea. Very rarely does fresh milk pass my lips. Coni-oni I buy as a very special treat, to bring back the memories, or when I'm touring.
The Queen Mary had a churn of fresh milk in the Mess every day, and if I recall correctly. BP had a "Pergal"? A cardboard box with a rubber teat available at meals.
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  #8  
Old 18th January 2014, 15:18
alaric alaric is offline  
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I was surprised at the number of prompt replies to this thread, and mostly from mariners that didn't sail with Shaw Savill. Thank you for your response.
Several mentions of coni-oni reminded me that this was the only milk that I did enjoy at sea, but only in cocoa and only in cold weather. I think I will buy a tin tomorrow, together with some real cocoa powder rather than hot chocolate and stir up a mug of nostalgia! After all, the weather is quite cold at the moment.
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  #9  
Old 18th January 2014, 16:04
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Had an old Bos'n who used to call coni-oni "Mans Milk" and ask any youngster if he wanted to come to his cabin and see where it came from.
PS He also used to call out "Bring me another Deck Boy, this one's split!"
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Last edited by Dickyboy; 18th January 2014 at 16:07.. Reason: To add PS
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  #10  
Old 18th January 2014, 18:01
Trader Trader is offline  
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We never saw fresh milk on Blue Funnel when I was there, 1952/56. Maybe on the Aussie run but never on the Far East run.

Alec.
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  #11  
Old 18th January 2014, 18:33
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Seem to remember something known as a mechanical cow, used to produce milk, I presume, from powder. Anyone out there with more info on this?
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  #12  
Old 18th January 2014, 19:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Wood View Post
Seem to remember something known as a mechanical cow, used to produce milk, I presume, from powder. Anyone out there with more info on this?
We had the Iron Cows in Ben Line.Ken. used to make about 5 gallon of milk.It was a stainless steel container,the motor was in the lid,with a long shaft that reached down inside.nowadays it would be similar to a high speed blender. The 2nd cook was responsible for making the milk,which consisted of water,milk powder and unsalted butter.Some cooks made an excellent job of making it. One old man used to have a glass of it every morning,swore it was as good as fresh milk.

Last edited by john fraser; 18th January 2014 at 19:03.. Reason: spelling error
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  #13  
Old 18th January 2014, 22:58
John Callon John Callon is offline
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The powdered milk that was used went under the brand name of Millac. If it was produced in a milk machine and then chilled in the fridge it was quite palatable. However many cargo liners, tankers and bulkers etc did not have the luxury of this piece of equipment but if the instructions which came with the product were carried out then you could produce a decent type of milk by using a large whisking bowl and whisk and plenty of elbow grease.
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  #14  
Old 19th January 2014, 09:12
barry john macauley barry john macauley is offline  
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As far as I know we had no mechanical cows with Shaw Savill(at least I was never asked to fix one). However the hand bashed milk was certainly perfectly adequate for corn flakes and tea.The Smoko milk was certainly very pleasant on the coast.
The mention of cornflakes brings to mind a story(probably apocryphal) about a 'frig. engineer named Nobby Scholes who had quite a serious stutter. One morning at breakfast, Nobby,with the steward in attendance, started to order..."ffffffffff" went Nobby, fish chief? asked the always helpful steward, after a polite period. Frustrated but not wanting help Nobby carried on, "ffffffffffffffffff" f**k it I'll have cornflakes!.
barry mac
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  #15  
Old 20th January 2014, 03:48
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Mechanical cows produced good quality of "milk" as long as the ingredients were measured out correctly. It was when they skimped on the salt free butter as the powder was skimmed milk and then it tasted horrible!!!
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  #16  
Old 20th January 2014, 11:04
tom roberts tom roberts is offline  
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First trip being the peggy I had to get the stores for the day ,two tins of conny oni for all the deck crowd, I opened them both first time and got a right bo****g from the old hands as when I went to get the second one out of the locker it was covered in jaspers as was the sugar I had not put the lid on,never made that mistake again.
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  #17  
Old 20th January 2014, 19:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trader View Post
We never saw fresh milk on Blue Funnel when I was there, 1952/56. Maybe on the Aussie run but never on the Far East run.

Alec.
Alec, they had big blocks of frozen milk which were thawed out on the galley stove every morning in a stock pot. That was used for breakfast cereal. Condensed milk for tea and coffee.
Then, fresh milk in Singapore, brought on board by a crowd of Chinese lovelies. Surely you haven't forgotten them?
regards,
Pat
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  #18  
Old 20th January 2014, 20:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaric View Post
I think I will buy a tin tomorrow, together with some real cocoa powder rather than hot chocolate and stir up a mug of nostalgia! After all, the weather is quite cold at the moment.
Alaric,

Put a big spoon of cocoa powder in a mug and fill up with filter coffee, a bit of sugar and maybe a dash of milk! Very refreshing!

Rgds.
Dave
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  #19  
Old 20th January 2014, 23:05
brandane brandane is offline  
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What a great thread ~ and great to see so many replies here!!
I hated powdered milk on Shaw Savill ships and as result always drank lemon tea on board ~ and hated coffee. Today I drink mainly Chinese tea or some herbal teas ~ even English Breakfast is nice without milk. On recent visits to China ~ visited many tea-houses and now have good stock of chinese tea and pu'er tea - and chinese teapots and little cups ~s'wonderful ~
Thanks to Shaw Savill ~ I love tea without milk!
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  #20  
Old 28th January 2014, 21:46
John.H.Clark John.H.Clark is offline
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It did make you appreciate milkshakes in the Auckland ferry building even more. Do people try to make cocoa without condensed milk ?
John
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  #21  
Old 10th February 2014, 04:22
mcglash mcglash is offline
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Yes the milk on the coast in my case It was my protein fix for the day and if you were called to the phone as was usual around smoko time, if you didn't take your milk with you one of your engineering "mates" drank it. I won't mention what you had to do with your Tab Nab to try and prevent it from being consumed along with the milk if you were called away. On the Aussie coast especially Sydney you had a vendor come on the wharf around smoko time and sell flavoured milk,Malt was my favourite.

Roy
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  #22  
Old 10th February 2014, 13:38
french47 french47 is offline
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I too was an engineer, I remember putting the Milk? on my corn flakes and watching the weevils doing the breast stroke to the side of the bowl.
Yes it did taste strange !
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  #23  
Old 11th February 2014, 00:25
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good day alaric,sm.18 jan.2014.22:55.re:smoko milk.i have read the post's on the likes and dislikes of powdered milk.in ww2 on carriers we made fresh powdered milk daily.there was a crew of 8to 9 hundred at a time.never heard a complaint.they were using powderd milk on the homme front.and glad of it,sorry life has been so hard for you.regards ben27
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  #24  
Old 11th February 2014, 06:35
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All,
In Geelong 1959 (MV Trevose) loading Grain, crates of milk were delivered to the Gangway top for the wharfies loading 'to settle the dust', we too were invited to help ourselves, truly generous.

Yours aye,

slick
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  #25  
Old 11th February 2014, 08:37
alaric alaric is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben27 View Post
good day alaric,sm.18 jan.2014.22:55.re:smoko milk.i have read the post's on the likes and dislikes of powdered milk.in ww2 on carriers we made fresh powdered milk daily.there was a crew of 8to 9 hundred at a time.never heard a complaint.they were using powderd milk on the homme front.and glad of it,sorry life has been so hard for you.regards ben27
I am a country boy Ben. Grew up with milk straight from the farm during WW2. Is it any wonder that I didn't take to the powdered stuff?
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