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Old 06-04-2016, 08:24 AM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573

*DQ's gourmet food/Mrs. Greene's letters*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
DELTA QUEEN food, from what I read here and in other older postings, always a topic of interest. Jim Blum another one who was there THEN with all of us here NOW as were Capt. Don Sanders, Capt. Clarke Doc Hawley and others. Both Don and Doc have vivid, colorful memories of their culinary experiences back earlier on the then AVALON. Doc and I have talked frequently about DELTA QUEEN food, how it was purchased from the wholesale markets in Cincinnati or along the way, fresh vegetables, some fruits farmers sold at stops along the river. Granted many condiments, supplies, later breads, dairy products were loaded aboard here in Cincinnati. Periodically a local exterminator company would come down with a truck to treat the boat inside on layover day. Back then the DQ didn't steam in early and then out the same day. There were schedules when she would often lay at the wharfboat 24 hours or longer for turn around. Looking at a yearly calendar, later management saw how to cut the layover here to put the days together for additional revenue making trips. This not without logistical problems, hard work for all aboard, time missed ashore or home here with family. The big blue water cruise babies do this now loading, unloading thousands of passengers in a single day, resupplying, refueling and then out again. It's the nature of the business.

Mrs. Greene mentioned to me more than once, "With a boat like this you have a marine operation, crew and officers, hotel department, food, beverage, entertaiment--and I inherited it all." Many passengers coming/going on the DQ may have seen some of this briefly or were not conscious of it at all.

Jim correct on the food company but I'm also foggy on the name being ZABO or something like that. And, as stated, it didn't last long. I don't know about the "Roddy story about a slice of pie" but wouldn't be surprised. With any cruise vessel, hotel, resort, club, restaurant there is the daily grind in maintaining 'quality control.' Those veteran DELTA QUEEN cooks and chefs down there in that cookhouse were their own 'quality control' masters. I went down in there several times, when invited, to see the operation totally amazed what they could turn out in those spaces under the prevailing working conditions. Those huge old ranges and ovens belched heat. One commentor said, "I even saw water drops condensing on the ceilings above from heat/humidity."

I'm sure Mrs. Letha C. Greene received many a letter, call or "tattered carbon copy" in her years as manager. By 1968 she and her family were in their final stages of management under the new regime with the title 'President Emeritus.' In 1968 I was already on actitve military duty and had been several years following university graduation. Mrs. Greene always seemed to find time to pen me a letter with all she had on her hands, her own family, several times health issues, from her office desk as did her other family members. She was circumspect but often wrote cutting to the quick about the company, "rapidly advancing changes...grand ideas" in some detail. One of her comments to all was, "They'll soon find out." I've keep those letters filed here for years. But again, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati
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