“Chicken on a Raft” – A Sea Shanty
by Owen James Burke
This old sea shanty refrain goes: “Chicken on a raft on a Monday morning, Oh, what a terrible sight to see…”
Meanings of songs can sometimes be lost or missed. This one is probably all but clear to most of us. The navy was once known for serving a dish (if you could even venture to call it that) referred to as “chicken on a raft”. Chicken alludes to the cold, congealed egg atop the raft, or stale piece of toast. Until quite recently it did not matter what the skipper was drinking or eating in his quarters, the rest of the sailors aboard the ship received the most meager and horrific rations one could stand to imagine.