Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Provisioning at events
Recently on RevList, a discussion has taken place over food at events. One side basically proclaiming that they'd die of food poisoning by Saturday afternoon if they didn't have modern coolers in camp. The other saying that if you stay period, you don't NEED coolers.
The basic diet of a soldier on campaign consisted of bread and meat. The daily breakdown for a British soldier was:
1 pound bread
1 pound of beef (or a little less of pork)
1 oz +/- of rice
7 oz of peas
1 oz =/- of butter
Of these, only meat would require refrigeration and ONLY if it was fresh. By boiling the meat in a mix of water, salt and apple cider vinegar, you'd easily get hrugh a couple of days without a cooler. More if the pork was a brined/smoked product.
So why don't we eat this way? Because some of us see the events as a party and don't want to "suffer" under a period diet. They eat better at events than many of us do at home. At Saratoga in 2007, one Rebel militia unit had lobster for Saturday supper!
As a raiding party, those of us in Brant's or other NY Loyalist units do have some options. Raiding parties foraged as they traveled. Produce from Rebel farm fields was easy pickings (no pun intended) and sympathetic farmers helped as much as they could. So add in things like sauerkraut, fresh corn, potatoes, etc according to season and you're still within period bounds and you're eating pretty well.
Alcoholic beverages were also discussed. Warm beer!?!?!?! Oh heavens no! Well, if you drink something other than light American-style beers, room temp is just fine. And don't forget rum and Madeira don't need refrigeration.
A little research and creativity will prevent ou from having to "suffer" under a period diet...