From Boiled Beef to Chicken Tikka, 500 Years of Feeding The British Army

B2146

The British Army has served around the world for more than 500 years. Publishers have devoted rain forests of books to cover battles, equipment, weapons, tactics and discipline, but remarkably little attention has been paid to how the Army was fed. This book provides a fascinating look into the methods fuelling the troops across the wide spectrum of climatic conditions, dietary habits and fashions, and the diverse nature of the British Army. Even the modern British Army is a collection of regiments and corps that each have their own traditions and where the unit controls the fortunates of its men. Officers have parent organizations. They may transfer to Staff, or some specialist unit for a time, but their advancement is within the gift of their parent regiment. Napoleon’s remark that “an army marches on its stomach” has been much used and abused since he made the remark. It has also been attributed to others in various modified forms and may never have been an original comment of Napoleon. The fact remains that an army cannot move without fuel and food is fuel for people. The author has provided an extraordinary amount of information and there is some helpful illustration in support of the text. There are some surprises and the reader will never look at armies again without an appreciation of how the feeding of troops affects their performance.

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NAME: From Boiled Beef to Chicken Tikka, 500 Years of Feeding The British Army
DATE: 200215
FILE: R2146
AUTHOR: Janet Macdonald
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, frontline
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 246
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Food, victuals, commissariat, purser, cooking, logistics, chef, field kitchen, barracks, appetites, materials, meat, vegetables, fruit, storage, preserving, recipes
ISBN: 978-1-84832-730-6
IMAGE: B2146.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/onyqnky
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The British Army has served around the world for more than 500 years. Publishers have devoted rain forests of books to cover battles, equipment, weapons, tactics and discipline, but remarkably little attention has been paid to how the Army was fed. This book provides a fascinating look into the methods fuelling the troops across the wide spectrum of climatic conditions, dietary habits and fashions, and the diverse nature of the British Army. Even the modern British Army is a collection of regiments and corps that each have their own traditions and where the unit controls the fortunates of its men. Officers have parent organizations. They may transfer to Staff, or some specialist unit for a time, but their advancement is within the gift of their parent regiment. Napoleon’s remark that “an army marches on its stomach” has been much used and abused since he made the remark. It has also been attributed to others in various modified forms and may never have been an original comment of Napoleon. The fact remains that an army cannot move without fuel and food is fuel for people. The author has provided an extraordinary amount of information and there is some helpful illustration in support of the text. There are some surprises and the reader will never look at armies again without an appreciation of how the feeding of troops affects their performance.

Originally, armies were often expected to live off the land, relying on what they could take from the communities they marched through. That was likely to make many enemies amongst those who were forced to feed the soldiers, but it also made the planning of campaigns very difficult. Saxon armies generally campaign in late summer after they had brought in their harvests. That allowed them to collect all of the crops and safely store them before embarking on military service. It also meant that they would find food already conveniently stored by those they invaded. However, there was never a guarantee that the food they needed would be found and they would have to adapt their campaign to the availability of food for the soldiers and any horses or draft animals. Morale and fighting performance could be seriously affected by the quantity and quality of the available food and the way it was prepared.

The British Army 500 years ago was already a sophisticated fighting force. It included in its equipment artillery and siege weapons that had to be hauled by draft animals and where heavy ammunition and powder had to be carried into action. The Wagon Master General was becoming a critical officer who was responsible for the logistics and for acquiring local supplies to augment what was being taken forward in the baggage and supply train.

The author has asked a series of questions and provided answers, covering the basics of what did the soldier eat and how it was cooked, going on to examine the effectiveness of the diet and the potential for health problems. Over the centuries, the basic requirements may not have changed much, but the taste has changed, the understanding of nutrition has altered, the method of preparing and distributing food has seen many changes and the technology available has also changed.

This is a carefully researched and well-written book that includes, amongst other things, 20 original recipes.

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