Foods that historical soldiers ate
on 9/14/2004 (6)
Ever wonder what the heroic soldiers of the past ate?
|"C-Rats: If the Krauts don't get ya', the beans and kraut will!" |
No?...well, read on anyway...
Roman Legionnaire: Roman legionnaires drank a beverage called posca, made by mixing apple cider vinegar with water, and sometimes adding honey. They drank it every day, with all their meals or when they were thirsty.
Originally flat, round breads made of spelt (a cereal grain closely related to wheat) with a bit of salt were eaten; in higher classes also eggs, cheese and honey, along with milk and fruit. In the imperial period, around the beginning of the Common Era, bread made of wheat was introduced and with time more and more baked products begain to substitute for this spelt bread.
Meat was a staple part of the soldier's diet. Analysis of bones from Roman forts show that beef and veal, mutton and lamb, pork and suckling pig, and also goat meat was also eaten.
All Romans were fond of fish sauces, especially Garum. However, this was expensive and legionaries used a cheaper variety called Muria.
Incredibly, the Romans threw everything that could not be eaten (e.g. bones and shells) onto the floor, from where it was swept away by a slave. Sounds like one of them Texas BBQ bars in El Paso with the peanut shells on the floor and whatnot.
Ancient Samurai: Rice was a staple and considered a measure of wealth (samurai's stipends were paid in rice). Rice cakes, wrapped in large leaves, were a popular roadside treat. Samurai ate husked rice, while nobles preferred polished rice. Though they grew rice, farmers generally ate millet.
In addition to rice, the following foods were eaten when and where available… Potatoes (there were reputedly 24 types), radishes (of which there were nine kinds), cucumbers (fourteen types), beans (which produced the ubiquitous bean curd), chestnuts, persimmons (another popular road side treat), various nuts, tofu, yams (or tororo, which was often made into a soup), sour plums (particularly popular with soldiers on campaign if they could be found), apricots, peaches, apples, oranges, etc.
And horsemeat. Horsemeat was considered a delicacy, enjoyed after horses were killed in battle. All washed down with sake rice wine and served with steaming Yaki Soba noodles.
Civil War: The food issue, or ration, was usually meant to last three days while on active campaign and was based on the general staples of meat and bread. Meat usually came in the form of salted pork or, on rare occassions, fresh beef. Rations of pork or beef were boiled, broiled or fried over open campfires. Army bread was a flour biscuit called hardtack, re-named "tooth-dullers", "worm castles", and "sheet iron crackers" by the soldiers who ate them. Hardtack could be eaten plain though most men preferred to toast them over a fire, crumble them into soups, or crumble and fry them with their pork and bacon fat in a dish called skillygalee. Other food items included rice, peas, beans, dried fruit, potatoes, molasses, vinegar, and salt. Baked beans were a northern favorite when the time could be taken to prepare them and a cooking pot with a lid could be obtained. Coffee was a most desirable staple and some soldiers considered the issue of coffee and accompanying sugar more important than anything else.
Yum! Wormy hard tack and black coffee. No wonder these guys were so tough. It certainly takes a tough guy to fight a 4 year war with 1 million casualities, one...bullet...at...a...time.
World War II G.I:
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