Thursday, August 23, 2012

5 cookbooks with recipes from the frontlines

"Our homeward step was just as light
As the tap dancing feet of Astair
And like an echo far away,
A nightingale sang in Berkley Square"

- A nightingale sang in Berkley Square, 1939, lyrics by Eric Maschwitz, music by Manning Sherwin

Recently, I've joined in with the #collectionfishing themes on Twitter. It's a kind of a game that people play. Well, people who are interested in working with, or delving into, online collections. Each week a theme is set, and people go fishing in all sorts of online collections and share what they've found, or what they hold. I've only been doing it for a week or two - and when I say 'I've' I really mean 'Auckland Libraries' because I've been doing it on our work tweetstream - for a couple of weeks and OH! The things I've seen. The curious, the poignant, the straight up bizarre. It's fantastic. It was while I was keeping an eye out for #collectionfishing links for the #feast theme that I came across the image attached to this post of soldiers preparing a hangi in the Western Desert. It's a curious picture that made me a tad bit teary eyed because here is a little bit of home in a place that is oh so far away from it. I liked it so much I wondered what we had on our shelves that matched this topic - cookbooks and recipes from wartime. So I rounded up what I could get my hands on at such short notice, read them, admired the pictures, didn't understand the schematics for huge ovens AT ALL, and have tried a recipe or two already. With adjustments obviously, because the quantities are GINORMOUS. Even if you're not interested in #collectionfishing or wartime recipes, you've got to admit, this is pretty damn interesting all the same. This week's theme is #cars and, wow, have I seen some great things people have shared so far. To give you an idea, here's ours from yesterday. And so I give you: 5 cookbooks with recipes from the frontline. I might even see you playing along on Twitter with all of us, too. You can find Auckland Libraries on Twitter at: @Auckland_Libs.

Frontline cookbook : battlefield recipes from the Second World War / Andy Robertshaw
An army marches on its stomach and it fights on its stomach too - yet have you ever wondered how hundreds of men on the frontline are fed amidst hails of bullets and how kitchens are created in the desert or in the trench lines? In 1941 the army officially created the Army Catering Corps and opened the Army School of Cookery in Aldershot (to be followed by other schools all over the world, including Poona, India). Troops were trained to make meals out of the bare minimum of ingredients, to feed a company of men from only a mess tin and cook curries to feed hundreds only yards from the frontline. This book tells the story of how soldiers became army cooks, their training and in the frontline kitchen. Frontline Cooking also brings together recipes from the Second World War, including hand-written notes from troops fighting in the Middle East, India and all over Europe.

Wartime cookbook : food and recipes from the Second World War 1939-45 / Alison Cooper
Eggless sponge, carrot marmalade, liver savoury or nettle tea are just some of the recipes British people ate during World War Two. This new version of the Wartime Cookbook, with simplified text, looks at rationing and how British people coped with limited supplies. Full of recipes for children to make at home or at school using only wartime ingredients, the Wartime Cookbook shows you just what life was like in wartime Britain.

Eating for victory : healthy home front cooking on war rations : reproductions of official Second World War instruction leaflets / foreword by Jill Norman
Food rationing was introduced in England in January 1940 after supply ships were attacked by German U-boats. The first food items to be rationed were butter, sugar, bacon, and ham, though restrictions were also eventually placed on meat, fish, jam, biscuits, cheese, eggs, and milk. In response, the Ministry of Food produced a series of "Eating for Victory" pamphlets that advised the general public on how to cope with these shortages. Designed to lift spirits in a time of shortage, these jolly leaflets contained a variety of recipes and cooking advice ranging from how to make steamed and boiled puddings and hints on how to reconstitute dried eggs. For all the hardship that rationing brought, the food restrictions resulted in many people eating more healthily than ever before. A nostalgic look back at one of the most difficult and yet healthiest times in history, this quaint collection is also a relevant guide to good eating today.

Wartime cookbook : food and recipes from the Second World War, 1939-45 / Anne and Brian Moses
Describes an aspect of social life in Britain during World War II, when food was scarce; talks about how people managed their diets, made do on very little, turned all available land to use for growing food, and provides some recipes.

Wartime recipes : a collection of recipes from the war years / edited by David Notley
For those keen to discover the past and who missed World War 2, this collection of recipes evokes the period and includes color images and advertisements that capture the feel of wartime cookery on the home front.

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