Skimming off the Top and Slush Fund
We are doing two phrases this week because they are related.
In the British Navy, boiled meat was one of the mainstays of the diet. As a by-product of the boiling process, there would a layer of salty fat called slush that would collect at the top of the pot. The ship’s cook would usually skim that oily residue off the top and then the next time they were in port he would sell it to soap makers.
The money for the sale would go into the “slush fund” which the cook would use to buy extras for the crew such as additional rum or better food.
So yep, the cook would skim off the top in order to create a slush fund.