Recipes from “Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” Part 1

“Tornister-Lexikon für den Frontsoldaten” by Gerhard Bönicke was a book of tips for life in the field that was published by the Wehrmacht for distribution to soldiers in 1943. There is a section in this book with simple recipes that soldiers could prepare themselves, using available ingredients, even using leftover field kitchen meals. Many of the measurements are given in “drinking cups” which is ideal for field cooking, when no scale or measuring cup is available. The recipes are meant for 4 people and a lot of them are really ideal for reenactment field cooking. They also provide useful cultural information.

The recipes in the book will be posted here in four parts as follows:

Part 1: Soups and egg dishes
Part 2: Vegetable and potato dishes
Part 3: Fish, meat dishes and sauces
Part 4: Salads, miscellaneous, sweet dishes and drinks

Part 1 follows.

Simple recipes, each for 4 people.

Comparative measures and weights:

1 drinking cup = about 16 tablespoons = ¼ liter

1 drinking cup of flour: about 125 g
of rice: about 220 g
of barley: about 200 g
of sago: about 200 g
of groats: about 180 g
of semolina: about 160 g
of sugar: about 200 g

1 level teaspoon of butter: about 20 g
of flour: about 10 g
of sugar: about 20 g
of salt: about 10g


Bean soup (also pea or lentil soup). 500 g legumes (3 drinking cups full), soak the day before in 2 liters of water without adding soda bicarbonate, on the next day boil until soft, add roasted diced onions, bacon, or bread, thicken with flour or roux (see below). Good with beef, pork, or mutton, excellent with smoked meat or sausage.

Vegetable soup. Leftovers of vegetable dishes (4-5 drinking cups full), or twice as much washed, diced carrots, green beans, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, red beets, leeks etc. First boil in a little water until soft, then add enough water to make 3 liters of soup, add lots of herbs (parsley, savory, lovage, celery and onion greens), chopped onions and a little garlic, add salt, bouillon cubes, meat extract, etc., to taste. When everything is cooked, add 4 tablespoons of rye or wheat flour (or 3 tablespoons of potato flour) stirred into some cold water, or a roux (see below), to thicken. If you don’t have flour, you can grate 3-4 medium sized raw potatoes into the soup.

Barley soup. 250 g barley (1-1/2 drinking cups full), soak overnight in 2 liters of water, boil until done the next day. Add salt, soup seasoning, herbs to taste, dice 4 medium onions, roast them and add to the soup. Good with all kinds of leftover meat.

Semolina soup. Slowly add 100 g semolina (½ canteen cup full) to 2 liters whole or skim milk or water, stirring constantly, until a thick porridge is formed. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, and either add salt or soup seasoning and chopped herbs to taste, or sweeten with sugar. If the latter, good with raw or stewed fruits (see below).

Rolled oats soup. Bring to a boil 2 liters of milk or water (or a mix), add 1 drinking cup of rolled oats bit by bit, constantly stirring, allow to boil 5 minutes while stirring. Season to taste with salt or sugar.
Potato soup. Mash 12 medium sized, boiled potatoes (or use a corresponding quantity of mashed potatoes), put on heat with 2 liters of water and stir until smooth, salt to taste and add soup seasoning as available. On a frying pan, roast bacon and 8 medium sized diced onions, and add to soup. Good with smoked meat, sausages, sausage slices, or any kind of leftover meat.

Flour soup. Bring 2 liters of milk or water to a boil. Stir 6 heaping teaspoons of rye or wheat flour into some cold water, and add to the boiling milk or water. Bring to a boil, season or sweeten to taste, and just before serving, add some fresh butter.

Noodle soup. Add 4-6 canteen cups of pasta (ribbon noodles or spiral pasta) to 2 liters boiling water, and cook until soft. Add salt, soup seasoning, chopped herbs, chopped onions to taste, allow to continue to soak 10 minutes in a warm place. Good with all kinds of leftover meat. Excellent with beef.

Egg dishes

Egg cake (pancake, omelet). Stir together 2-4 eggs with 250 grams of flour (2 drinking cups full), add 2 drinking cups full of whole or skim milk. Mix together well, and add salt or sugar to taste. Heat butter, lard, margarine or oil in a pan, pour ¼ of the batter into the pan and cook on low flame until golden brown on both sides. Then use the rest of the batter to make three more egg cakes in the same manner. Good with a filling of marmalade or stewed fruit or, if seasoned with salt, with roasted diced bacon and onions, or with leftover meat.

Hard-boiled eggs. Place eggs in cold water, allow to boil at least 10 minutes and then peel in cold water. Good on bread (cut into slices) or finely crumbled, mixed with butter or margarine and blended with chives, as a spread on bread.

Scrambled eggs. Stir 4 eggs together with 4 tablespoons of flour and 2 drinking cups full of whole or skim milk. Add finely chopped chives and parsley, add salt, and cook in a pan with some oil, stirring frequently, until light golden brown. Good with diced ham, as a side dish for fried potatoes and vegetables.

Schmarren. Stir together 150 grams wheat flour (¾ of a drinking cup full) with 2 to 4 egg yolks, 1 drinking cup full of whole or skim milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a little salt. Beat the egg whites into a foam and add to the other ingredients, and mix well. In a large frying pan, heat butter, lard, margarine or oil, and pour the batter into the hot fat. Cook for 3 minutes, flip it over, cook 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sugar.

Fried eggs (ox eyes). Heat fat in the pan and break 4 to 8 eggs into it. Cook until egg white is solid. Good with spinach and fried potatoes.

Soft-boiled eggs. Put eggs in cold water, bring to a boil and cook 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the size of the eggs. Peel like hard-boiled eggs.