Ten Rules for the Field Cook

The following is translated from “Die Feldküchengerichte” by Dr. W. Zieglmayer, 1941. These directions are for people assigned to cook food for military units, using field kitchens. Many of these basic principles apply to any kind of field cooking, or even making period recipes at home.

  1. Portion sizes indicated in the recipes are the maximum amount.
    Cook only the required amount!
    Be frugal with the amount of fat you use.
    Reason: Help to save!
  2. Make the most of all foodstuffs. Avoid excessive waste when cleaning vegetables and peeling potatoes. Vigorously boil down bones, tendons, woody vegetable parts and stems. Make skillful use of every remaining usable part.
    Reason: Fight against waste!
  3. Foodstuffs, whenever possible, should be kept whole, then immediately before preparation they should be quickly but thoroughly washed!
    Reason: Water leaches out nutrients!
  4. Whenever possible, fresh meat should be cooked in 2 to 3 kilogram pieces in the kettle until done, then stored in available containers (such as food carriers). Potatoes, vegetables etc. should then be cooked in the meat broth until done. Finally, cut the meat into portions on a cutting board, keep the cut portions warm in food carriers and serve the meat portions individually.
    Reason: The soldier wants to see meat!
  5. Dried foodstuffs (potatoes, vegetables, fruits) should be soaked in available containers for 3 hours, legumes for even longer! Don’t discard the soaking water, use it for cooking!
    Reason: Greater productivity, shorter cooking time, no loss of nutrients!
  6. In a tightly covered kettle, only cook until done, not longer!
    Reason: Tastier food, shorter cook time, no “boiled to death,” no “straw flavor”!
  7. Stir the kettle sparingly!
    Reason: Otherwise it’s always mush!
  8. Cook field meals thick, not soupy!
    Reason: A lot of water means it’s less filling!
  9. Cook meals together with fresh food (potatoes, vegetables, herbs), even in the smallest amounts from the field and garden!
    Reason: Fresh food promotes health!
  10. Cook with care and consideration! Season it well!
    Reason: Good meals promote the energy of the troops!