Our family’s quest for whole wheat bread began before we had children. It began before we were married. Even before John and I knew each other, it was in play. Our quest began while John was in the Navy back in the early 80’s.
In The Navy: A Family Legacy
Right out of high school John joined the Navy. He had come from a military family. His father, Arlan Farrar, had been in the Navy and their family had traveled around the Country as he was stationed at different posts. They even lived in Italy for a while. He was a career counselor for the Navy while they lived in Rumford, ME. When it was time for his dad to retire, he was given special honors at a ceremony aboard Old Iron Sides in Boston, MA. John’s brother, Ernie, then entered the Air Force after graduating and so it was no surprise when John enlisted. Later his younger sister would also join the Navy. Thus it was a family legacy.
Out And About
John was stationed at the Kingsville Naval Air Station in Texas. One day he happened to be at a neighboring base in Corpus Christi, about an hour away. It was meal time and he ate at their chow hall. Something was different there. Instead of just offering white bread at meal time, they had a choice of white or whole wheat. This was impressive. Whole wheat bread wasn’t really popular at that time. It was not readily available everywhere. He had already tried to get whole wheat bread at his base and was told they couldn’t do it. Still, if they could get it at Corpus Christi….
Don’t Cross The Cooks
Not one to be discouraged by initial denial, John set out to try once again to get whole wheat bread at his base. Upon investigation he learned that the neighboring base had the same food budget as Kingsville. Somehow they had found a way to include this option when Kingsville couldn’t. His friends were anxious, “Don’t cross the cooks,” they warned. “They prepare your food. You could bring a lot of grief to everyone if they are not happy.” John knew the cooks and was good friends with many of them. He didn’t wish to upset them. Still, he thought this issue was important and believed it could be resolved without causing ripples.
A Chit Form For Whole Wheat Bread
Instead of approaching the cooks again, he decided to appeal to higher authority. If a higher ranking officer requested that whole wheat bread be offered in the mess hall it would have a better chance of happening. He filled out a formal request (called a Chit Form) for wheat bread to be offered in the mess hall. This form gets passed up the chain of command until it reaches the appropriate person. In his request John cited the superior nutritional value of wheat bread over enriched white bread. He cited the availability of wheat bread at the neighboring base and requested wheat bread be made available at Kingsville.
Now to wait. Sometimes it could take a long time to get a request to someone who would make the change. Sometimes requests were denied. You just had to wait.
Wheat Bread Farrar
One day he went to the chow hall and there it was. Wheat bread right beside the white bread as an option. Because so many of his friends knew he was the one responsible for requesting this change, he earned the nickname Wheat Bread Farrar.
And that’s where it all started. John began searching out ways to get whole wheat and other whole grains into his diet. He brought this passion to our marriage and eventually, we learned to make our own bread with fresh ground wheat.
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