Blue and Grey Cookery

It’s sometimes  hard to think about the basic necessities during war.  But all of those brave souls had to eat, bathe (maybe) and go to the bathroom.  Since the latter two are smelly subjects, we will tackle the eating portion.

Battle of Bentonville reenactment campfire. Photo from the North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources

Civil War rations were dismal, at best.  Hardtack, a cracker or biscuit type food, was made of flour and water, and if you were lucky to have any, salt.  Dinner could include wild game as well, if caught during the day.  Officers naturally were much better fed than the typical soldier in most cases.

All of this brief history is leading up to the fact that I recently found a book called Blue and Grey Cookery at a second hand store, and thought I would share some of the recipes within.  Reflecting the times, they are made from the simplest of ingredients.  

Brown Flour Soup

Piece of butter the size of a small egg

3 Tbsp. flour

6 cups water

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 eggs, beaten

Buttered croutons

Melt butter in saucepan; add flour and brown it in the butter.  Gradually add water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 1/2 hour.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir in the beaten eggs and serve hot with buttered croutons.

Certainly experiment with all kinds of flour.  The range of flavors would vary greatly.  Using a chicken or beef broth would also greatly improve/change the flavor of the soup.


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