CHAPTER 1: ROUNDHEAD RECIPES
Nellie’s inspiration to learn more about cooking for an army on the move came during a train ride. At one relay station, a group of volunteer women had set up an outdoor kitchen to provide hot, home-cooked meals to the soldiers passing through.
Looking around, she noted how the soldiers, almost to a man, had perked up. They were smiling, laughing, relaxing. Mentally Nellie made a note. I won’t be able to see the men fed like this often, but I must try to come up with some sort of treat for them now and then, she thought. I’ve heard an army marches on its stomach, but I never realized how true that is.
It took several hours for the baggage handlers to unload the train and reload the Roundhead baggage onto wagons. Nellie filled the time by chatting with the women who had provided their meal. One gray-haired lady cheerfully introduced herself as the Widow Barlow. “I don’t have anybody to cook for at home anymore,” she said, “so I enjoy getting the chance here to put on some really big feeds. Who cooks for all these men when they’re in their camps?”
“Well, mostly they do their own cooking, which isn’t good, I’m afraid. And at the moment I’m not much help. I can stir up some broth for those who are sickly, but I don’t know what to suggest to the men sitting around a campfire with nothing but a great big pot.”
“I can help you there. Let me find a scrap of paper and I’ll give you a couple of recipes that’ll fill their bellies.”
----Selection taken from
Beyond All Price, p. 36.
The first idea she offered was a way to use up the hardtack that every man carried in his haversack.
HARDTACK CORN CHOWDER
6 pieces hardtack
¾ pound salt pork
1 large onion, peeled and sliced or chopped
4 large potatoes, sliced or diced
2 cups water
2 cups corn, kernels sliced off cob (about 2 ears)
1¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon paprika if available
---- Soak hardtack in milk. (Skim off weevils and other objectionable matter. You may want to start this the night before, depending on age of hardtack.)
---- When they are softened, cut salt pork into cubes and brown over medium fire. Add onion and cook until soft.
---- Add potatoes and water and cook until potatoes are soft,or at least tender.
---- Stir in hardtack and milk, then add remaining ingredients. Stir and cook to almost boiling, and serve at once.