How to feed an army

My grandfather was perhaps the only person to gain weight when he was in army.  He loved army food, and for the rest of his life he wanted to eat like he was in the army (apparently, this involved eating creamed corn almost every night).  This week, I got a closer look at my grandfather’s army diet when I came across two army cooking manuals.

Army Food and Messing: The Complete Manual of Mess Management is exactly what its subtitle says.  This 450 page book explains everything from kitchen management (both in garrison kitchens and field kitchens), inspection and storage of foods, mess sanitation, and recipes.  It has illustrations of army cooking tools like this army field range.

field range

There are also several animal diagrams.


There are also several pictures of food that has gone bad, but I won’t put them up here.


Along a similar vein is the War Department’s Baking Manuel for the Army Cook.  This guide is heavily illustrated including a picture of a loaf of white bread:


Here’s some of the instructions on making biscuits.


The recipes are of course for large quantities, like 300 doughnuts and streusel for 100.  Most of them look pretty good to me.


Here’s the army recipe for gingerbread:


Let us know if you try the recipe!


Exhibit preview

Tonight the Historical Society is hosting a preview of our new exhibit, Pairings: Photographs from the Collections of the Historical Society of Montgomery County.  The exhibit will open to the public on Saturday, April 23, and it will continue on display until August.

The exhibit highlights our photograph collection, showing its diversity. Our collection contains thousands of photographs that we have been collecting since 1881, and we wanted to share a few of them.


Curator Susan Pavlik puts up one of the photographs.

The exhibit is free and will be open during our regular operating hours.

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Executive Director Barry Rauhauser checking that the frames are level.

This is our first exhibit in six years, and we’re all very proud of it.  We hope you’ll come by to see it.


blog205From the late 1940’s until the 1980’s people in Norristown got news, advice, and music from WNAR, Norristown’s own radio station.

In the process of cleaning out our gallery for our upcoming exhibit, I found a small booklet from WNAR with photographs and advice.


The booklet is undated, but I would guess it’s from the early 1950’s.  This image of President Truman is from his 1948 presidential campaign.


This picture of Johnnie Ray is probably from the early or mid-1950’s when Ray was one of the most popular singers in the country.


Besides music and news, the station also featured advice on housework, sewing, and gardening.


Much of the booklet is made up of small bits of advice.


The station had three daily shows dedicated to polka music and an “Italian hour” every Sunday.  Western music was also a popular part of the line-up, with titles such as, “Western Round-up” and “Dude Ranch Saddle Pals” on Saturdays.

The station changed format and call letters in the 1980’s.  It now broadcasts Gospel music.  Many of the personalities went on to other stations in Philly and in other parts of the country.

One last note:

Dedicated readers of the blog (that is, both of them) might remember a post we did last June on Old Maid’s Day.  Here’s a picture of some of the organizers of Old Maid’s Day on the air at WNAR.