Yes, today really is “National Talk Like a Pirate Day.” If you’re on social media, ye mateys have already been bombarded with bad pirate jokes and sayings. While it might be fun to slap on an eye patch and act like Captain Jack Sparrow today, it’s probably best to stop enacting pirate stuff right there — especially when it comes to your diet. But if you’re so inclined, here’s the pirate diet via gone-ta-pott.com:
Eat Like a Pirate with The Pirate Diet
The first couple of weeks at sea was full of meat, cheese, fresh veggies, eggs, and you name it. After that the food slowly but surely started to spoil, rot, mold and go rancid. That’s why most of the food in storage was either dry beans, pickled food or salted food like salted meat. The quality and variety of the food was certainly found lacking after a few months at sea. Chickens were kept for the eggs until they were eaten or died. Cows were kept for the milk until the food supply for the cow had depleted. When the cow no longer had food to live, it was then time to eat the cow.
The meat was frequently rotten and it was very common to see maggots. The bread was full of weevils, even the hardtack sea biscuits which usually lasted for up to 12 months if kept dry. Pirates were known to catch a sea turtle here and there which was a welcomed meal. Bones from everything was kept to make Pirate Bone Soup for when the going got rough.
Galley cooks were known to use a lot of herbs and spices to cover up the taste of spoiled ingredients. Vegetables and meat were usually pickled or salted to preserve the food. Ships on long voyages relied on biscuits, dried beans and salted beef to live. Without proper food, many sailors got sick and died of scurvy.
Now, having said all that; it must also be said that in the Mediterranean Sea, ships were never far from a pirate haven, the crew would land as often as possible and could stock up on food – they could also eat and drink as much as they wanted while on land.
Here’s an example of the standard allotment of food for a Pirate for a week at sea:
- 4 pounds of salt beef
- 2 pounds of salt pork
- 2 pints of peas
- 3 pints of oatmeal
- 6 ounces of butter
- 12 ounces of cheese
There was also a daily allotment of a pound of bread and a gallon of beer (or some other type of alcohol depending on the availability). Rum was also a very popular drink item for sea goers. Other variations included once a week flour, suet (beef fat) and currants or raisins being issued so a “duff” could be made as prevention against scurvy.
Not All Pirate Food Was Bad