Book Review: A Taste for War: The Culinary History of the Blue and the Gray

Archives

by William C. Davis

Lincoln: Bison/University of Nebraska Press, 2011. Pp. xvi, 226. Illus., recipes, notes, biblio., index. $19.95 paper. ISBN: 0803235224

In 2003 the prolific Prof. William C. Davis (Virginia Tech) took a break from his prodigious output of books dealing with the great issues, military campaigns, and figures of American history, to give us A Taste for War, which isnow available in a paperback edition. 

In eight chapters, Davis takes a light-hearted look at the state of the culinary arts and the science of nutrition in America at the time of the Civil War (not very high), soldiers’ efforts to cope with their rations (often highly creative) and food preparation (usually primitive), the ubiquitous “flour tile”, as hardtack was often called, hunger in the ranks, and more, including the problem of feeding hospitalized personnel and what he calls the “irrepressible” turkey, the meal of choice for holidays.  That ends the text, but it doesn’t end the book. 

There follow about 60 pages of period recipes, for everything from corn bread and turnip greens to skillygalalee (hardtack fried in pork fat) and rat (“cook as with squirrel and rabbit”) to cane seed coffee and various potables, including Jubal Early’s “stone wall”. 

Altogether an entertraining, informative look at a usually ignored aspect of wartime life.

---///---



Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   


Buy it at Amazon.com




X

ad
0
30

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 30 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close