Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

September 11, 2012

Meals for 800? 1,000?

CENTERVILLE — Want to serve between 1,600 to 2,000 hot meals every day? It would help if you have a containerized kitchen like the one that was on display during the open house at the Iowa Army National Guard Armory in Centerville Saturday.

And it would help if you have food service specialists like Michele Entsminger, 22, of Washington, Sgt. Duane Helmers, 26, of Waterloo and Necole Slaubaugh, 24, of Richland. Between the three they have almost 20 years of service with the Iowa National Guard.

The containerized kitchen has what it takes to cook between 800 to 1,000 hot breakfast and hot supper meals per day. And it all folds up and can be moved from place to place.

One place this containerized kitchen was used was in Fort McCoy, Wis., in June of this year to feed Guard solders who were there for training.

Other containerized kitchens are currently in use in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

"Anything in here that you can make in a real kitchen," Entsminger said. "It's got enough equipment."

Being a cook is not a glorious job.

"You not only have to make the meal, you have to do the cleanup," Entsminger said. "We have to do all this other work. There is so much preparation and cleanup afterwards that goes into it that people don't realize what we do."

Helmers said cooks do have the most thankless jobs.

"As cooks we're not going to please everybody with something," Helmers said. "There's always one person who's not going to like what we serve."

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