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Description

Today’s men are often able to cook well, partly as a result of the emancipation process and changes to role perceptions in modern society. Not so at the beginning of the 20th century, when cooking was often seen as a woman’s job, be it the mother, the wife or a housemaid. This cookbook for soldiers in the trenches contains advice about creating meals with few ingredients or utensils. Food was in short supply and its preparation was rough and ready. Chefs in field kitchens were often soldiers, too.

For recipes normally cooked on a stove, a barbecue alternative is given. Instructions are clearly aimed at the novice: ‘To boil an egg takes 3 to 5 minutes, counting from the moment when the water boils (the water is boiling when it is blistering)’. A meal of bacon and fried eggs is garnished with the remark: ‘Even though this is a popular breakfast snack in Britain, this meal can also be highly recommended at our place’.

Transcript

Cookery book for the trenches
by Hans Werder
(A. v. Bonin-Zanthier)

  1. Cookery book for the trenches
    by Hans Werder
    (A. v. Bonin-Zanthier)
  2. Eggs.
    It takes between three and four minutes to soft-boil an egg, starting from when the water boils. (The water is boiling when bubbles appear). Hard-boiled eggs take eight minutes. If you take the boiled egg out of the water and it is immediately dry, this shows that it is hard. If the shell stays wet, then it is soft.
    Fried eggs: Put fat into the frying pan and as soon as it is melted and begins to boil, crack the eggs into it and allow them to become firm.
    Placing slices of ham flat next to each other into the fat, and an egg on each of them, heating them up and cooking them together makes for a very good dish. The English like eating this for breakfast and call it ham and eggs, but we do a very good job of it as well.
    Poached eggs: Break the egg and put into boiling salt water, letting it become firm in the water. Pour a drop of vinegar into the water and leave the eggs to bind some more.
    Pour tomato sauce, mustard, herring sauce or another sauce over these poached eggs and you have a very good starter.
    It is also a good idea to cut hard-boiled eggs and pour these sauces over them with melted butter. (See chapter on sauces.)
    Pickled eggs: Hard-boil the eggs, lay folded in salt water and leave for a few days.
    Scrambled egg: Crack the eggs into a pan, pour onto each egg a spoonful of water, some salt, some grated parmesan or Swiss cheese, if you have it, stir or whisk thoroughly into the pan with melted butter, lightly blend, allow to set. You can tell when it is ready.
    If you leave this scrambled egg (with rather less water than is necessary for the scrambled egg itself) on the heat for longer, so that it cooks on the bottom and sets inside, then you have an omelette, which you fold and serve as such. You can sprinkle grated
  3. cheese on it. (Before folding it) you can put leftover roast or cut tomatoes or mushrooms from tins or any other prepared vegetable in it. You can also stir in prepared (e.g. leftover) spinach in with the batter at the outset, so that the whole omelette appears light green (highly recommended). Or you can add sugar, no cheese of course, and put fresh or canned fruits in it and sprinkle some sugar over the folded omelette.
    Another kind of omelette that you can add sugar to, even more highly recommended, is this:
    Take a cupful of milk and two eggs, the whites beaten until stiff. However, you can also beat the whites and yoke well together, then add some sugar, a heaped spoonful of flour or breadcrumbs or boiled, grated potatoes. Cook this in fat in the pan on both sides.
    Many of these flat omelettes can be laid flat on top of each other, eaten with salad or with stewed fruits. You can also fill them with canned fruits and roll them up. Another idea is to mix peeled and cut apples or plums and cook with the batter.
    These omelettes can also be prepared without sugar and sprinkled with cheese and filled with finely-cut meat. Cut ham into cubes, fry until melted, stir in the batter, allow to set and you get a nourishing and very tasty ham omelette.
    Baked eggs:
    Put batter into a cooking pot greased with butter. Calculating one egg per person, beat the eggs without the white with sugar (half a teaspoon of sugar to one egg). Then add a teaspoonful of flour or breadcrumbs to six eggs and finally whisk the egg white until stiff. Mix everything well into the cooking pot and cook in an oven for fifteen minutes. If you have no oven and are using a flame, cover with a lid and place on embers, so that the batter cooks and rises. Allow twenty-five minutes for this.