Mike Company               

Third Battalion, Fifth Marines

RVN, 1966 -1971
Home Up Grenade Duel Ambush Cornmeal Scout NVA Base Camp


Vietnamese Enjoy Their New 'Dish' From Marines

By Cpl. Earl Gerheim

PHU BAI -- Though it may never be endorsed by Duncan Hines, a new recipe has been concocted by Leathernecks here to feed 400 Vietnamese in a refugee camp.

The civil affairs personnel of 3rd Bn., 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division invented the new dish after it became apparent that the cornmeal they were donating to the refugees was not being used.

"Cornmeal is alien to the Vietnamese diet and they just didn't know how to prepare it." explained Second Lieutenant Wayman H. Dodson, Jr., (Greenville, S.C.), the civil affairs officer.

Consequently, the battalion civil affairs section began to experiment with a way to prepare and cook the cornmeal so that it would be a tasty meal.

What resulted was a type of "hush puppy" and pancake made from a batter of cornmeal, salt, onions and water.

The "hush puppy" is made by rolling the batter into balls and deep frying in soybean oil.

"Soybean oil contains food values that we wanted the Vietnamese, especially the children, to have," noted Dodson.

The batter can also be shaped into pancakes and fried on makeshift grills.

Recently, Dodson made a trip to the camp to see how the new recipe would be accepted.  The Marines demonstrated to the people how to make the "hush puppies" and pancakes, then distributed cornmeal and soybean oil.  The Vietnamese were able to procure onions and salt themselves.

The first day's visit exhausted the initial supply, but the next day the Marines returned with more cornmeal and soybean oil.

"It went over really well and the people were cooking and enjoying the new food," Dodson said.