Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Military menus

Today, while tidying some shelves, I found the Indian Manual of Military Cooking. This is dated 1906 and was prepared at the Indian Army School of Cookery.
I was surprised to find that some of the culinary choices were attractive, a far cry from the jail dietaries and hospital menus I have seen in other India Papers volumes. For example, there are recipes for Irish Stew, Hot Pot, Sea Pie, Toad-in-the-Hole, Rissoles, Roast Goose with Stuffing and Omelette with Fine Herbs.
There is a wide range of soups - tomato, pea, barley, lentil, vegetable and rice. Mrs. Lockhart's recipe for chutney consists of apples or apricots, raisins, onions, ginger, sugar, red chillies, garlic, salt; it may have proved a tasty accompaniment to the Turkish Pillau. The Army enjoyed plenty of desserts, including Plum Pudding, Apple Pies, Treacle Pudding, Current Rolls, Muffins, Pancakes, Jam Rolls and Arrowroot Blanc Mange.
Perhaps the aggressive TV chefs that we see lately should follow the instructions given to the Sergeant Cook on the first page: "Patience and tact are required, especially with young soldiers, in training them in their duties as cooks."

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