Food Recipes from the U.S. Army

By Patrick McSherry

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General:


Below are some recipes derived from U.S. Army first-hand accounts. The goal is to include accounts that provide enough detail to allow for the recipe to be recreated. More recipes will be added as they are found.

Coffee:

"Thanks to a beneficent government we had coffee about all of the time, if we had nothing else. It came to us in the berry, in paper packages, and our chief concern as to coffee was how to grind or pulverize it. Usually this was done by the simple but slow process of putting a few berries in our tin cups and pounding them with a stick or tent pole until they were broken enough to steep. Then the cup was filled with water and placed in the fire until the coffee boiled when the cup was taken out by means of a cleft stick or a bayonet and laid aside cool sufficienty to drink. There was plenty of barbed wire everywhere and by means of the wire cutters rude grates were made on which the tin cup was placed." [Account from the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as encamped before Santiago before the city surrendered].

"Sludge"

"Sometimes when we had canned tomatoes we made'sludge,' a simple confection of tomatoes and broken hardtack, with, at times, a few 'strings' of corned beef thrown in to give it, not taste, but more body." The context indicates that it was cooked in a manner similar to the coffee, above.
[Account from the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as encamped before Santiago before the city surrendered].

"Santiago Sludge Cakes"

"Then we made 'Santiago sludge cakes,' composed of pulverized hardtack and water, the mixture being patted into cakes and fried in bacon grease. Sometimes a bit of sugar was sprinkled over them, and we deluded ourselves into the belief that we were eating something very fine. Another method of preparing this delicacy was to mix in some canned tomato."
[Account from the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as encamped before Santiago before the city surrendered].




Bibliography:

Ward, Walter W., Springfield in the Spanish American War. Reprint by Wentworth Press, 2019 [Coffee, Sludge and Santiago Sludge Cakes, p 40)


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