U.S.S. Little Rock
CL 92 / CLG 4 / CG 4

* * * The CS / MS Rating * * *

CS Badge

Commissary Steward (CS),
Commissaryman (CS),
Mess Management Specialist (MS),
Culinary Specialist (CS)

Page last updated: 23 January, 2018

General Info:

Culinary specialists are cooks, bakers, dining area and living quarters managers in the Navy. It is commonly accepted that the "mess decks," or dining areas, aboard ship are the "heart of the ship," and the role they play in the morale of the ship is very important. CSs are needed on every ship in the Navy and at every shore base. Navy mess management specialists provide food services for admirals and senior government executives and run the White House Mess for the president of the United States.

What They Do:

The duties performed by CS's include: preparing menus and ordering the quantities and types of food items to prepare the food; operating kitchen and dining facilities; keeping records for food supplies and financial budgets; serving as flight attendant aircrewmen; serving as personal food service specialists on admirals' staffs and for the commanding officer aboard ship or at shore bases; operating and managing living quarters aboard ship and at shore based motel/hotel type quarters.

General Rating

  Commissary Steward (1902 - 1948)
CS  Commissaryman (1948 - 1974) (to MS)
MS  Mess Management Specialist (1974 - 2004) (to CS)
CS   Culinary Specialist (2004 - Present)  (See Note 1.)
Service (Specialty) Rating

  Commissaryman Butcher
CSG  Commissaryman Ship's Cooks
CSR  Commissaryman Bakers
CSS   Culinary Specialist (Submarines)


Note 1.  MS (Mess Management Specialist) Rating Changes Name to Better Reflect Skills:   "In a move designed to better describe the rating's duties and mission",  the name changed to Culinary Specialist Jan. 15, 2004 with the release of NAVADMIN 012/04. Conversion to the new rating was automatic.

Note 2. To see a copy of the U.S. Navy 1902  "GENERAL MESS MANUAL and COOKBOOK", CLICK HERE.

Note 3. Here are some excerpts from:


U. S. NAVY [1902]



44. The dietary of the enlisted men of the Navy must necessarily be based upon the ration provided by law. In general messes, where the circumstances are favorable, provisions which are not a part of the ration may at times be purchased, but articles of which there is a supply already on board in the pay department should not be bought unless the Government stores shall have deteriorated, in which case they should be surveyed and a new stock obtained at the first opportunity.

45. Unless there be some good reason for not doing so, the official issuing table should be strictly adhered to, it having been arranged to give the necessary variety.


46. The ship's galley (or that part of it used by the general mess), together with its appurtenances, is under the charge of the commissary. That officer should see that the galley and its utensils are properly cared for and are ready for inspection at the appointed times. He should himself frequently inspect this part of his department and advise the equipment officer of any repairs or alterations needed, and should, when occasion demands it, furnish that officer with a list of galley utensils requiring a survey.


47. On board ship, where the facilities are necessarily restricted and the food lacking in variety compared to that obtainable on shore, it is of the highest importance that the very best results possible under the circumstances should be obtained. With a liberal allowance of cooks and bakers, and a judicious selection of the men for these rates, the Navy ration should be so prepared as to give the enlisted men three nourishing and palatable meals each day, and it should be the duty of the commissary department to see that this is done.

Frequent inspections of the food by the commissary and the commissary steward, and efficiency on the part of the cooks, alone can insure this.



NOTE. - The following recipes have been deduced from a series of experiments made with articles of the Navy ration. Only such as can be easily followed with the usual facilities found on board ship are given. Where time and space will permit more elaborate dishes may be prepared, but it is here the aim to aid inexperienced cooks in the proper preparation of the stores supplied by the Government.

The quantities of the ingredients given in all recipes are those required for one hundred men.


Soak 5 gallons of beans in fresh water and 80 pounds of salt pork in fresh or salt water over night. Put the beans in a copper and let them come to a boil, then add 15 pounds of the pork. Continue boiling until the pork is tender, then remove. In a separate copper boil the rest of the pork until tender. When bean soup is done, season with pepper. Cut up 6 pounds of stale bread, brown it on a pan in the oven and add to the soup, stirring it in.

( NOTE. - One gallon of the stock from the copper in which pork is boiled may be added to the soup. )


Use 90 pounds of soup meat (as much bone as possible); let simmer for two hours, then remove meat and add vegetables as follows: One quart of barley, 6 pounds of carrots, 3 pounds of onions, 2 pounds of turnips (the vegetables having been cleaned and cut in strips), and allow the soup to boil for one hour. Season with pepper, salt, cloves, and spices; mix flour and water to the consistency of a sirup and stir in, while the soup is boiling, a sufficient quantity to thicken it. After boiling for ten minutes longer the soup is ready to serve. After the beef is removed it should be kept hot until served.


Cut up 10 pounds of salt pork in l-inch cakes and render out in frying pan until brown. Cut 50 pounds of potatoes and 25 pounds of onions in small pieces and place them with the pork in 12 1/2- gallons of water, and allow them to boil three-quarters of an hour. Cut 2 1/2 gallons of clams in small pieces and add them to the above with their juice and 4 gallons of tomatoes. Season with pepper, salt, and mace, and let the whole boil for fifteen minutes, then add 15 pounds of broken biscuits.


Large fish, such as cod, halibut, or haddock, are the only ones suitable for use on board ship. Cut 80 pounds of fish in steaks 1/2 inch thick, wash thoroughly, and dry. Beat well 3 eggs and add 2 quarts of water and a tablespoonful of salt, stirring together. Dip each piece of fish into the batter thus made and then into Indian meal or cracker dust. Place a pan of drippings, butter, or lard on the fire and let it come to the boiling point. Fry the fish in this from eight to ten minutes, turning after the first three minutes.


Wash 75 pounds of mutton in water to which vinegar and salt have been added, and cut up in pieces of suitable size. Place the meat in the copper with 10 gallons of water and allow it to boil for one hour. Cut 40 pounds of potatoes and 15 pounds of onions in quarters, 8 pounds of turnips, and 10 pounds of carrots in slices and add to the above, letting all cook for forty minutes. Add flour thickening, season with pepper and salt, and add four cans of green pease free from liquid. Allow stew to simmer for twenty minutes and serve.


Boil 60 pounds of frankfurters for 15 minutes. Wash 7 gallons of sauerkraut in cold water and place in covered pot with 1 gallon of water, adding 2 pounds of dried apples and 1 pound of beef dripping. Boil for thirty minutes and season with pepper.


Place 2 pounds of onions, chopped fine, in a pot with 1/2 pound of dripping and brown them on the galley. Stir in 1 pound of flour and then 2 quarts of boiling water. Add 6 pounds of tomatoes and 60 pounds of tinned beef. Add to this 6 pounds of macaroni which has been dropped into boiling water, well salted, and cooked until tender. Season with pepper and salt and simmer for twenty minutes.


Chop together 40 pounds of corned beef, 30 pounds of boiled potatoes (cold), and 10 pounds of onions. Season with pepper and salt, and bake in the oven for twenty minutes, or until brown.

( NOTE. - This hash is improved by adding a little dripping to the top of each panful before baking. )


Take 25 pounds of ham and 17 dozen of eggs. Cut ham in thin slices and quarter them. Put into boiling water and simmer for five minutes. Drain off water. Fry the ham and put aside to keep warm. Take a large bake pan and cover the bottom with lard. Break each egg in a cup first to ascertain if it is fresh, then fry in pan.


Boil as above 80 pounds of potatoes, take them out of the water, mash them in a pan, adding 1 pound of butter, and salt to the taste. Boil 1 quart of milk and 1 quart of water together and stir into the potatoes.


Into pots of boiling water to which 1 pound of butter and 2 pounds of sugar have been added stir 40 pounds of oatmeal and boil two hours, stirring occasionally.

( NOTE. - When the oats are crushed or cracked boil for twenty minutes only. )


Sift 50 pounds of flour into a large kneading pan and add about 2 pounds of hot dripping. Break ten cakes of yeast into small pieces and put into lukewarm water and stir until dissolved. Add this to the flour and dripping and also add 2 1/2 gallons of fresh water and 2 1/2 gallons of salt water, luke warm, mixing all thoroughly. Dust the dough with a thin coating of flour to prevent its crusting. Cover the pan with a cloth and stand in a warm place from four to six hours, then knead out well and make into loaves. Put in well-greased pans and bake in moderate oven for forty-five minutes.

Links to Recipes and Menus
"Famous" Navy Recipes
1947 Christmas Dinner Menu
1948 Christmas Dinner Menu
1959 Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
1962 Thanksgiving Menu
1963 Christmas Menu
1967 Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

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