Topic: Army Rations
English Soldiers Cookbook
Several Recipes That Are Sanctioned by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army
Meriden Morning Record, Meriden, Connecticut, 22 January 1900
(From the London Mail.)
Occasionally one hears a great deal about the bad cooking and insufficient food of British soldiers. Every now and again some fadist takes the matter up and tries to lead the public to believe that our troops are condemned to live entirely upon unpalatable food.
Here are three recipes from "Tommy's" cookery book which are sanctioned by no less than the commander in chief himself:
"Ingredients: Sixteen and one-half pounds meat, one pound onions, one pound flour, five ounces salt, one-fourth ounce pepper, five ounces sugar, small faggot of herbs, 3 1/2 gallons of water.
"Cut the meat into pieces about four ounces, take eight ounces of the fat and chop it up; slice the onions. Put the fat in the boiler; when melted, add the onions; stir them well, so that they do not get brown. In five minutes add the meat, which keep stirring or turning over for five minutes longer. Then add the boiling water by degrees; let it simmer gently for one hour. Mix the flour with cold water very smoothly, add it to the soup, with the salt, pepper, sugar and herbs. Simmer gently for 30 minutes; keep stirring to prevent flour from settling at the bottom."
No doubt the result of these careful operations is a most sustaining and excellent soup, and one wonders how many artisans or laborers get anything better for dinner.
The recipe for "a hurried dinner" is much less elaborate; but if soldiers opinions go for anything, it is by no means a bad one. It is as follows:
"Cut your ration of meat into pieces about the size of a penny, but three of four times thicker. Skewer them only a piece of iron wire or hard stick. A few minutes will cook them if hung before the fire."
Plum pudding in "Tommy's" cookery book"
"Put into a basin one pound of flour, three-fourths pound of raisins (stoned, if that can be allowed), three-fourths pound of the fat of salt pork (well washed, cut into small dice or chopped), and two tablespoonfuls of sugar, or treacle. Add half a pint of water, mix all together; put into a cloth tied tightly; boil for four hours and serve. If time will not admit, boil only for two hours, though four are preferable."
There seems a touch of human nature about the war office, after all.