Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rations and Pudding.

Lest I forget that the ‘NZ’ in ANZAC stands for New Zealand, I dedicate this post to my Kiwi buddies. After the picnics and barbecues of yesterday, we need to be reminded of the reality of the daily ration of a soldier of the time.

III. Scale of Rations on Gallipoli.

G.R.O., Q.M.G., 13th April, 1915.

    Rations Scale of:—

    The scale of Rations after leaving Egypt will be:—

        1¼ lbs. Fresh Meat or 1 lb. (nominal) preserved meat.
        1¼ lbs, Bread or 1 lb. Biscuit or 1 lb. Flour.
        4 ozs. Bacon.
        3 ozs. Cheese.
        2 ozs. Peas, Beans or dried Potatoes.
        ⅝ ozs. Tea. ¼ lb. Jam.
        3 ozs. Sugar.
        ½ oz. Salt, 1/20 oz. Mustard, 1/36 oz. Pepper.
        1/10 gill Limejuice. at discretion of G.O.C. on recommendation of S.M.O
        ½ gill Rum. at discretion of G.O.C. on recommendation of S.M.O
        Tobacco not exceeding 2 ozs per week at discretion of G.O.C. on recommendation of S.M.O

Soldiers of all nationalities and eras have managed to be remarkably creative with their rations – or at least humorous in their efforts with them – especially considering the context in which they are eaten. There are references to ‘Anzac pudding’ or ‘Gallipoli pudding’ made from the contents of ration packs. One version was described as  “consisting of mashed up army biscuits, with the ‘apricot jam’ added.” Those quotation marks around the ‘apricot jam’ speak volumes, do they not?

An American version of the same idea, which appears to date from the late nineteenth century, is ‘dandyfunk’, which consisted of hard tack, soaked in water and baked with fat and molasses.

Here is a somewhat later, more traditional version of Anzac Pudding, named perhaps in honour of a particular soldier by a proud Mama or wife.

Anzac Pudding.
Soak some lemon rind in ½ pint of milk for half hour, boil and pour it over ½ lb finely sifted breadcrumbs, 3oz. sugar and 3oz. but ter, work well, then add 3 beaten eggs. Butter a mould, put in a little of the mixture, then a layer of apricot or other jam, and so on to the top. Cover with buttered paper and steam for one hour. Serve with sauce made of 1 tablespoonful of jam (same as in pudding), 1 tea spoonful sugar and 4 tablespoonfuls of water. Boil for ten minutes.
Sunday Times (Perth) May 18, 1924

Quotation for the Day.

“'Make a remark,' said the Red Queen; 'it's ridiculous to leave all the conversation to the pudding!'”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

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