It is fairly well established that the issue of food to the general mess of a small ship requires a degree of exactness that is not to be expected in the commissary of a cruiser or battleship insofar as the limit of issues is concerned.
On ships of the larger types a substantial leeway can always be maintained simply through the large quantities of provisions handled and the small ratio of loss and waste as compared to the number of rations issued. In the case of a ship with a complement of 200 men or less the relative value of the ration is greater and for the over-issue of one component an under-issue of another must be immediately in sight. For an excess issue of one ration of meat nearly five rations of vegetables or twelve rations of sugar must be saved as an under-issue. Though this is true of the issues on any ship, it is held to be more nearly an inflexible rule on a small one.
To keep an exact statement of the condition of over- and under-issues is a task involving a considerable amount of time and work. Yet it is imperative for the reason that economy in the supply of food can in no other way be held in hand, as well as for the fact that the commissary officer is accountable in dollars and cents for an over-issue.
A commissary department serving attractively the greatest variety of foods at the least possible price is the ideal one and this cannot be accomplished unless an exact check is kept on the supply in such a way as to indicate the issues of the lower- and higher-priced ration components in their relation one to the other.
I have prepared a form which, I believe, may be used by the commissary officers on small ships to great advantage. Commissary stewards are usually required to submit a tabulated statement of the issues to the general mess during a day, and since the form shown here is probably as simple as any, it may be used with no additional expenditure of time.
U. S. S. ANNAPOLIS
ARTICLE QUANTITY PRICE EXTENSION
Bread, fresh .032
Flour, wheat .0355
Corn meal .0355
Bread, hard .04
Meat, fresh .0844
Meat, preserved .14Z5
Meat, salt .118
Meat, smoked .118
Vegetables, fresh .0172
Vegetables, canned .04
Vegetables, dried .32
Fruit, fresh .0427
Fruit, canned .064
Fruit, dried .128
Fruit, preserved .064
Milk, fresh .28
Milk, condensed .07
Vinegar and oil .44
Pickles and kraut .0468
NO. OF RATIONS
While giving a true statement of the issues during a day it shows, with a very small ratio of error, whether there has been an over- or an under-issue and the value, in terms of the bureau's arbitrary prices, of the excess or shortage.
The prices shown opposite the several articles are adduced from the bureau prices as given in bureau memorandum 74 supplement. For convenience these prices have been so adjusted as to be applicable to the unit of measure instead of to the ration. For example, a ration (one and three-quarters pounds) of fresh meat is expended in the statement of over- and under-issues at $0.1475 a pound, at this rate, would be $0.0844; a ration (one thirty-second of a pound) of mustard according to bureau price is $0.005, hence a pound would be $0.16. By applying the same operation to each of the ration components the prices may be made to apply to the daily issues in pounds or gallons. By taking the straight bureau price of $0.1028 per pound for lard without regard for the amount of flour used as bread and by the same use of the price for fruits without the restriction by issues of vegetables the result is reasonably accurate. The expenditure of tomatoes is the only irregular allowance to be separately handled. This, without confusion to the rest of the schedule, may be easily done from the fact that the number of rations to issue is always known and the excess is applied to and incorporated in the quantities of canned vegetables used.
The maximum limit of issue of the navy ration in terms of bureau prices is $0.3225, correct to four decimal places. This is arrived at by multiplying the sum of all daily component prices by seven, then by adding the sum of prices of all weekly components and dividing by seven.
The difference between the maximum limit and the average price of actual issues may be clearly illustrated. Suppose that by dividing the sum of the extensions by the number of rations to which we are entitled we get an average price of $0.2861, then the average under-issue will be $0.0364, which, for one thousand rations, would show a total under-issue of $36.40.
The average daily prices thus arrived at can be used in determining the condition of expenditures to the general mess for any period of days whatever. During the time this form has been in use on the U. S. S. Annapolis it has shown an error of about two per cent, and the error falls invariably on the safe side by indicating the under-issues to be just that much less than they actually are.