Subject: Recipe Publishing Network Newsletter | Issue #5 July 26, 2011

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Civil War Food

Civil War Food - Foods of the American Civil War

Some civil war food recipes are still popular today and others were just made because the ingredients were available and they would keep for weeks or months without going bad. These were the times before modern food processing or refrigeration so some of the food would have been quite basic. It might surprise you to learn that some civil war food was also quite tasty.

Physical stamina and morale were very important for civil war soldiers so the quartermaster responsible for overseeing the food supply would ensure the men had adequate food. Weapons, shelter, and clothing were important to the men but food was an absolute necessity, else the army could literally collapse from starvation.

Civil War Staples - Breads and Crackers

Hardtack was one of the most common foods of the American civil war, and this unappealing flour and water-based cracker would sometimes attract weevils and other unsavory vermin. This rock hard cracker would have to be dipped into a drink prior to eating, else soldiers risked breaking their teeth on them.

Almost every civil war soldier would have carried hardtack in his backpack. Hardtack could also be used to make other recipes like corn chowder. By combining these hard crackers with potatoes, onion, corn, milk, water, salt pork and salt (and a pinch of paprika if it was available) in a pot and simmering the mixture until the hardtack softens, the solders could make a hot, hearty stew.

Cornbread was another staple, although wheat flour was scarce during this period so white cornmeal was used instead. Modern cornbread recipes feature baking powder to make the cornbread extra fluffy, although confederate soldiers would not have had access to it.

Cornmeal, water, salt, milk, and butter were combined to make johnnycakes and something sweet like preserves or molasses would have been served on top. Johnnycakes were similar to pancakes and were fried on a griddle.

Navy Bean Soup - A Good Protein Source

Navy bean soup was another civil war food staple and this combination of salt pork or bacon, winter vegetables and navy beans was flavored simply with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

The beans were dried so they would have been soaked overnight. This recipe was a good way of making a high-protein dish with dried or preserved ingredients. Another protein source was eggs and these were stood in hot ashes to roast. They were also hard-boiled and carried in the soldiers' pockets during forced marches.

Civil War Food Utensils

A knife, fork, and spoon combination would have been popular with civil war soldiers and this was a pair of wooden handles which slid apart to reveal a knife on one side and a fork and spoon on the other. Such a utensil was simple to carry around and handy to eat with. Pocketknives, tin plates, and tin cups were also handy and portable eating utensils. Tin plates and cups were obviously more resilient than china ones.

It is quite eye-opening to learn about common foods of the American civil war, firstly because some of them are so common to popular foods today (such as civil war gingerbread) and also because it is fascinating to learn how basic items could be combined to make hearty stews and other dishes.

Civil war soldiers learned to make the most of what they did have, foraging for what they did not. An army marches on its stomach and with a few basic ingredients and some civil war food utensils, the soldiers at the time were able to feed themselves reasonably well.

Featured Recipe:

Authentic Civil War Gingerbread Recipe

Civil War Gingerbread Recipe

Photo Description:

The photo shows how this recipe for gingerbread loaf produces a delicious fluffy loaf which is wonderful with butter smeared over it. Butter might not have been available for the union soldiers during the civil war but if you have some you might wish to add it to your slices of civil war gingerbread. This is a simple recipe to make and the ingredients are easily available. This civil war gingerbread recipe keeps for a while in an airtight container but it is so delicious, especially when served warm from the oven, that your loaf might not last more than a day or two.

Union soldiers receiving gift boxes from home might hope for some traditional gingerbread to feature amongst the contents, as well as other useful items like soap, socks, crackers and other foods. The following recipe for gingerbread loaf is the same recipe that the families of union soldiers would have sent them. You can imagine how good it tastes with the mixture of spices. If you do not have allspice you can use extra ginger or cinnamon to make up the amount (or even throw in some nutmeg).

This delicious recipe for gingerbread loaf contains allspice and cinnamon as well as the ginger, to give it a lovely spiced flavor. The flour, butter, baking soda, and egg give it a dense yet moist texture and the molasses adds an earthy sweetness. You can serve this civil war gingerbread recipe just as it is or spread with butter. It is nice warm from the oven, although the union soldiers would have received theirs cold and a few days (or weeks) old.

Union soldiers receiving gift boxes from home might hope for some traditional gingerbread to feature amongst the contents, as well as other useful items like soap, socks, crackers and other foods. The following recipe for gingerbread loaf is the same recipe that the families of union soldiers would have sent them. You can imagine how good it tastes with the mixture of spices. If you do not have allspice you can use extra ginger or cinnamon to make up the amount (or even throw in some nutmeg).


A Traditional Recipe for Gingerbread Loaf

Ingredients:


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ¼ cups molasses
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup very hot water
  • 1 egg


Preparation:


Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Combine the flour, spices, and baking soda in a big mixing bowl and cut in the remaining butter with a fork.

Mix the water, egg, and molasses in a small bowl and pour this mixture into the flour mixture.

Mix the batter well, and then pour it into the greased loaf pan.

Cook for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

(Serves 8)

Food Preservation in Civil War Times

During the civil war, as you might expect, a lot of ingredients were unavailable or in very short supply. This is why food preservation in civil war times and civil war recipes were so important. Many civil war dishes would have been made with invalids or the sick in mind (so, healthy recipes which are easy to eat) because there were plenty of them around.


Some of the old-fashioned cooking techniques can be replaced with modern ones if you do want to try making your own civil war recipes. For example, for the kind of long, slow cooking you would get from a wood-burning stove, you can use a crockpot instead. 

Civil War Army Rations

One type of food preservation in civil war times was lacto-fermentation. An example of this would be adding bacteria to milk to make yogurt or cheese. Condensed milk was also easier to transport than fresh milk and kept for a long time. Dried foods like rice, hominy, peas, and beans also kept for months.

Other foods would have been prepared in such a way that they would keep for days, weeks or even months, without requiring refrigeration or other care. Meat was salted to preserve it and examples include salt pork, smoked bacon, or salt beef. The excess salt could be scraped off and used to supplement the salt rations.

Potatoes and vegetables were dehydrated and formed into compressed cubes, which could be reconstituted in water. Hard breads and biscuits were alternatives to soft bread which goes stale after a few days. Food preservation in civil war times is an interesting topic, although the diet at the time could be extremely tedious and dull.

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Welcome to newsletter

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. This issue we would like to look at the Civil War from a food point of view often considered one of the major turning points in American History it has a more friendly side from a look at its food much of which is still popular today. You can still get the full version online at our main company website with bonus content for our readers. If you haven’t visited the blog lately try it out it is not your typical company blog and offers a ton of unique content from many different subjects by our whole staff of writers.

In this issue we have included a civil war gingerbread recipe in celebration of this issues theme this recipe is still very popular today. Also we have tips to relate to period cooking and vintage cookouts that may just make for a fun outing your next time to the local panic area.

If you have not signed up to be an RPN facebook fan we have a new short URL to get to our fan page where whenever we add new site content or new Squidoo lenses you will be among the first to know. We have been busy adding mini recipe Squidoo lenses to our collection of Squid lenses that now numbers well over two hundred unique recipes covering a wide range of topics not all of which we have sites on but many also bolster our already fine collection of recipes.

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 Enjoy,
 Christine


Chicken Purlough - Simple Yet Flavorful Historic Cooking

Learning how to make chicken purlough can show you that you do not need a whole lot of ingredients to make a tasty dish. This civil war era recipe requires a whole chicken, some rice, salt, pepper and perhaps a few spices. Small red peppers or paprika are optional.

This recipe has been handed down for generations, since almost everyone could keep a few chickens as a farmyard food supplement. Chickens gave both meat and eggs and rice was also an affordable staple.

You need to clean your chicken and put it in a big pot. Cover it in water and simmer it for a few hours, until it is cooked. You might need to replace the water a few times. Remove the cooked chicken from the water and let it cool.

Take out the bones, skin, and fat and discard them. Use the remaining broth to cook your rice, and then add salt, pepper and whatever spices you have. Add the chicken when the rice is almost done.

SouthernFriedChickenRecipe.com

How to Make the Best Southern Fried Chicken Recipes

A Southern fried chicken recipe is an all-American dish which is sure to put a smile on your face. Offering a crunchy exterior and a soft, tender, and juicy interior, fried chicken recipes sum up everything that is great about traditional comfort food.

You can serve this wonderful recipe with corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, shoestring fries, potato salad, Mexican bean salad, onion rings, coleslaw or anything else you consider a fitting side dish, to transform a few succulent pieces of fried chicken into a complete meal.

Chicken is a budget ingredient and a versatile one too. If you enjoy making chicken salad recipes, chicken stir-fries and other chicken dishes, why not make a southern fried chicken recipe your next project? This is sure to become a staple in your household because it is just so good.

Deliciously Different Recipes for Fried Chicken

A lot of people make the same fried chicken recipe time and time again though, without experimenting with new ones. Of course there is nothing wrong with sticking to a favorite meal but sometimes it can be fun to try something a little different.

You can serve this wonderful recipe with corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, shoestring fries, potato salad, Mexican bean salad, onion rings, coleslaw or anything else you consider a fitting side dish, to transform a few succulent pieces of fried chicken into a complete meal.

You can find all these recipes and more at SouthernFriedChickenRecipe.com, as well as plenty of chicken preparation and cooking tips, guaranteed to make your fried chicken recipes successful and delicious.

Historic Cooking Tips for Tasty Historic Recipes

If you want to investigate the world of historic cooking and keep things authentic, it pays to learn a little history about the era that the recipe dates from. You can replace some cooking methods or ingredients without sacrificing the authenticity.

For example, use your crockpot if you do not have a wood-burning stove. The end result will be identical. One reason why historic stews were so flavorful is that they were made with locally-sourced fresh poultry, fish or game, rather than the prepackaged ingredients we use today. Choose organic meat for your historic recipes, especially if the recipe does not call for herbs, spices, or seasonings. The end flavor will be much richer.

Food Preservation in Civil War Times

During the civil war, as you might expect, a lot of ingredients were unavailable or in very short supply. This is why food preservation in civil war times and civil war recipes were so important. Many civil war dishes would have been made with invalids or the sick in mind (so, healthy recipes which are easy to eat) because there were plenty of them around.

Some of the old-fashioned cooking techniques can be replaced with modern ones if you do want to try making your own civil war recipes. For example, for the kind of long, slow cooking you would get from a wood-burning stove, you can use a crockpot instead. 

Civil War Army Rations

One type of food preservation in civil war times was lacto-fermentation. An example of this would be adding bacteria to milk to make yogurt or cheese. Condensed milk was also easier to transport than fresh milk and kept for a long time. Dried foods like rice, hominy, peas, and beans also kept for months.

Other foods would have been prepared in such a way that they would keep for days, weeks or even months, without requiring refrigeration or other care. Meat was salted to preserve it and examples include salt pork, smoked bacon, or salt beef. The excess salt could be scraped off and used to supplement the salt rations.

Potatoes and vegetables were dehydrated and formed into compressed cubes, which could be reconstituted in water. Hard breads and biscuits were alternatives to soft bread which goes stale after a few days. Food preservation in civil war times is an interesting topic, although the diet at the time could be extremely tedious and dull.

How to Organize and Cater for a Vintage Cook Out

If you fancy doing something a bit different this summer, why not have a vintage cookout, rediscovering the joys of a retro grilling session as well as all the best retro recipes? You do not need to use an old grill for your vintage cookout but if you have one you can fire it up.

Encourage people to dress up in retro clothes and play some sixties and seventies music to set the ambiance. See how many childhood games you can remember too!

Recipe Ideas for a Vintage Cook Out

Vintage appetizers like cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks or savory jello salads can be combined with classic entrees like barbecue spare ribs or even something unusual like porcupine meatballs, which are made with ground beef, rice, egg, tomato soup, and onion.

Old-fashioned pumpkin pie or apple pie like your grandmother used to make is always a great idea for dessert, or you could make other retro favorites such as banana splits or a trifle recipe. Why not make a pitcher of lemonade too?

Homemade sauces were popular back in the day, and examples include onion sauce, apple sauce, parsley sauce and cranberry sauce. Today it is easier to pick up a jar of sauce from the grocery store shelf but you can make your sauces ahead and serve them with your retro meat dishes to bring out the flavor.

You can combine modern favorites with vintage cook out foods so people can experience the best of both worlds. It can be fun trying old-fashioned recipes and experiencing what our parents and grandparents would have eaten at their cook outs.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

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