When trying to feed your family, do you invariably end up making dinner for what seems like a Cecil B. DeMille cast of thousands when you’re only trying to feed three or four?
Do your favorite soup pots closely resemble vats or cauldrons and you’ve never acted in any stageplay of Macbeth?
Do your crowd sized portion sizes threaten to break the table you’re serving them on?
When cooking for one, do the neighbors think you’re planning to throw a big party?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the questions above, then, believe it or not, June’s Free Cookbook of the Month, the U.S. Navy Cookbook of 1920 by The U.S. Naval Institute may be just the book for you!
Even if you’ve never served in the armed forces, this free, full-length, vintage online book offers a fascinating glimpse of what it takes to cook for an army (er-the Navy); from recipe design to ingredient usage and mess hall cooking logistics.
In addition to revealing interesting culinary insights and trivia for anyone who currently serves in the military, veterans, or their families, the information in the book is also useful inspiration for those who have to regularly cook for large number of people (from those who work in restaurants, cafeterias, and soup kitchens, to those who cater large scale food events on a regular basis).
Reading this book after a long day spent in a steamy kitchen, it’s easy to feel a connection with galley cooks past and present who’ve –er been in (or on) the same boat (or aircraft carrier or submarine) as you.
For the last few years, Google Books has been gradually placing the full text of thousands of books online, many of them free full previews of culinary books that are either out-of-print or have been added online with the permission of their publishers.
One of the former gems we’ve recently stumbled upon, the U.S. Navy Cookbook of 1920 features 130 pages full of recipes that call for such items as 20 pounds of potatoes, 40 pounds of beef hearts, 10 pounds of lard, 2 quarts of molasses, and entire cans of baking powder.
One large scale recipe that especially amused me was for Lobster Croquettes, a meal that required 60 pounds of fresh lobster…a culinary vestige that reminds one of the days when lobster was considered a lowly food fit only for prisoners and indentured servants (and was priced accordingly). Sigh.
Even if you don’t know your Alpha Sierra Sierra from your elbow macaroni in the kitchen, you can read the whole book for free on Google Books here…enjoy!
Please join us tomorrow to read our newest feature on Hugging the Coast: Spoil Dad With These Father’s Day Recipes For the Special Man in Your Life.
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