This section is from the book "Practical Dietetics With Special Reference To Diet In Disease", by William Gilman Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Practical Dietetics with Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
For scouting parties, troops under forced marching, or under any circumstances which make the supply of the ordinary ration impossible, an emergency ration for temporary service is necessary. The time-honoured food for this purpose consists of bacon, hardtack, and coffee, sometimes with addition of a little ground peas or beans.
In the autumn of 1900 an emergency ration was tested in Idaho upon a troop of cavalry. The ration contained in an elliptical can eight inches long weighed one pound and contained three cakes of sweet chocolate (four ounces) and three of a meat (four ounces) and grain compound (eight ounces) having a taste not unlike parched corn. The latter can be eaten uncooked, or as porridge or fried mush. Salt and pepper accompanies the cakes. The ration may be eaten dry, as a soup or porridge, or fried. The test proved successful. The details of preparation of this ration, furnished me by Colonel Alfred A. Woodhull, U. S. A., are as follows:
The chocolate component consists of equal weights of pure chocolate and pure sugar molded into cakes of one and one third ounces each. Three of these go into the day's ration.
The bread and meat component consists of: (1) Fresh lean beef free from visible fat and sinew, ground in a meat-grinder and desiccated so as to contain five per cent or less of moisture, the heat never being allowed to cook it in the slightest degree. The dried product is then reduced to powder and carefully sifted through a fine-meshed sieve, the resulting flour being the meat component.
(2) Cooked kiln-dried wheat, the outer bran removed, is parched and then ground to a coarse powder. This yields the bread component. Sixteen parts of the meat, thirty-two parts of the bread, and one part of common salt, all by weight are thoroughly mixed in such small quantities as to be entirely homogeneous and compressed into four-ounce cakes. Three of these go into the day's ration. The bread and meat may be eaten dry, or be stirred in cold water and eaten; or one cake may be boiled for five minutes in three pints of water and seasoned to taste; or one cake may be boiled for five minutes in one pint of water to make a thick porridge and be eaten hot or cold. When cold it may be sliced, and if fat is available may be fried.
Three fourths of an ounce of fine salt and one gramme of black pepper are in the can for seasoning.
1 This ration is calculated to subsist a man for one day, maintaining his full strength and vigour." As it amounts to a pound of water-free food perhaps it will do it if not depended upon too long.
Foreign Army Rations
Soldiers Daily Peace Ration, in Ounces Avoirdupois
8.81 (larger ration)
3.80 (smaller ration)
It is apparent from this table that the French, Austrian, and German rations all contain more bread and less meat than the English. In addition, the men have potatoes and other vegetables, green or dried, besides sugar, coffee, salt, etc., which are either issued with the ration or purchased with a special allowance of pay, so that the above figures, which apply to only two articles, fall somewhat short of the actual food consumed. For example: The British soldier receives a total of sixty-five ounces of solid food against the French soldier's fifty-one ounces (Parkes); but many of them are under-grown men, being several years under twenty-five, up to which period the formation of the bones is not always complete. The British army ration contains from four to six ounces less meat than the United States ration, and 4.2 ounces more rice.
In England the daily ration of the soldier on home service consists of one pound of bread (twenty-four ounces is given above as the average for foreign service), thirty-seven grammes of sugar, and three quarters of a pound of meat, which is supplemented by an allowance of about fivepence a day to be expended on minor articles of diet, green vegetables, milk, and beverages.
In the French army legumes form an important element of the ration, to some extent replacing animal food, and many experiments have been made with the German army in regard to the introduction of vegetable food, 'especially pea meal, which is rich in nitrogenous material.
In France and Holland during active service in the field, in manoeuvres, or in battle the diet is materially increased. Experiments made in 1897 upon an Austrian regiment in garrison showed an average gain in weight of 6.6 pounds per man in three months upon a steady daily allowance of protein 120 grammes, fat 56 grammes, carbohydrates 500 grammes (J. Schorr).
The larger ration of the German army, issued during the marches or manoeuvres, contains about five ounces more meat and several ounces more vegetable food, and in war thirteen ounces of meat are given. Bacon, salt meat, and rice are also supplied. The German army ration for the tropics contains 5.33 ounces of fresh meat, or 4.4 ounces of bacon and seventy-nine ounces of vegetables.
All the chief armies of Continental Europe issue a wine ration in war times. To the French war ration are added nine ounces of wine or two and a quarter ounces of brandy per diem.
This is starvation diet, and the extra food needed for health is purchased and charged against the soldier (about six cents a day), increasing, perhaps doubling, the food value.
2. Foreign station, or under canvas at home
Can be greatly changed to suit climate.
Sometimes 2 oz. rum
Sufficient for such a mild climate and very moderate work.
2. War, on march or in the field
Varies enormously according to class of ra-tions issued. Very many extra allowances of money for food.
Sometimes 1.7 oz.
This is augmented by four cents per day for vegetables, etc. On the march a limited emergency ration is used. The war ration is so insufficient that commanders of armies or smaller forces may change, supplement, or even double it.
Allowances of one fifth cent per day for condiments; occasional extra money allowances for food. Excepting the protein, it is a very liberal diet for such a mild country.
Usually wine added.
1. Small rations and portions in garrison and cantonments
This is what the government may supply. Usually the soldier feeds himself and is given - seven cents a day, or more,to reimburse himself. Food eaten is more than this deficient diet.
2. Large rations and portions on march or in manceuvres
Commanding general may add 31/5 oz.
6. United States.
1. By law
Maxima due to fats if all the bacon is used and no meat. The whole ration is supposed to be supplied and eaten.
2. Usually in field(bylaw).
3. Food actually eaten in cold climate, moderate work, including all extras from gardens and purchases
Peace ration not stated. It is purchased as needed and charged against soldier. War ration is subject to great augmentation for increased work or cold climate. The commanding officer can augment ration on the march.
Add 21/10 oz. brandy.
Also allowed money to buy one half to one and one half ounces extra meat, and one to one and one half cents for vegetables, salt, butter, lard, and groceries.
Add 3 oz. wine
Extra meat and spirits may be ordered by the commander in chief.
Add 4 1/3 oz. wine
The foregoing comparative table of various national army rations was published by Major Charles E. Woodruff, M. D., U. S. A., in the New York Medical Record (vol. lv, No. 20, 1899).