War Time Wood Fired Cooking
A little light reading picked up from Colin Wilson’s second hand books at Dartmouth Food Festival. A handy pocket sized book for cooking in the field covering everything from quantities of meat for 100 men (37.5lb of uncooked beef seems to be the average), what to do with waste, how to use up leftover bread and biscuits, different sauces to jazz things up, quantities needed for Christmas dinner and how to build and use a woodfired oven!!
I love the fact that we are still telling the temperature as above – “the temperature of an oven can be fairly accurately judged by the experienced cook by inserting the hand in the oven.” The Mississippi method as we call it!
An oven with 2 chambers and the fire at the bottom, made with bricks, hardcore, corrugated iron, mud and a good long pipe for the chimney.
Or this one made with burnt out and cleaned oil drums on thier sides with the lids as the oven door, fire coming in at the left and the heat going through an S bend over and around the drums and leaving through the flue on the right, bulked out with rubble and finished with clay. This one for 2 companies – about 400 men (8 platoons of 50).
This one for 1 company – 200 men.
This one for the officers’ or sergeants’ mess – maybe as it’s smaller or maybe as they like non-stop boiling water….??
It shows how you can create an oven from things you are carrying or find on your travels – corrugated iron, water cans, oil drums, bricks, rubble, pipes, beer barrels, clay – and if nothing else, empty an ants’nest and build your oven in there. Oh, and 150lb of wood a day to fire up the ovens…form a collecting party!
It probably wouldn’t take long to build one of these ovens especially if you have 200 men who need feeding quite quickly; after all an army marches on its stomach!