The food furnished to soldiers and sailors, both in time of peace and war, is more accurately weighed and measured, and its effects are more accurately studied, for economic reasons than is the diet of any other class of men, even including hospital patients. While seeking to furnish wholesome variety it is necessary to keep the quantity of food as uniform as possible, and this may be done by substitution of articles the nutrient power of which is closely related; thus eggs may be occasionally substituted for milk, or peas or beans may be served for a change instead of cereals.

The United States Army Rations

A "ration" is technically the total quantity of food issued for one man for twenty-four hours in accordance with law, and not, as often supposed, the allowance for one meal. The original principles upon which military rations have been selected are thus summarised by Major Charles E. Woodruff, Surgeon, U. S. A.:

"1. Economy is essential.

"2. The food must be the product of the country at large, neither a specially prepared article nor the output of a few manufacturers.

"3. The articles must be easily preserved in all climates by the most ignorant men.

"4. The articles must be easily transported and capable of the roughest handling during transit.

"5. The ration is intended for the strongest and most robust men in the nation.

"6. It must be approximate to the food used by the nation at large, so that there will be no rapid change of diet on enlistment that would impair the health.

"For these reasons the soldier's ration has always been simple and dry".

Some of these principles, as the author quoted points out, are radically wrong. It is false economy to furnish too cheap or monotonous diet, which only courts disease and swells the pension roll.

After the Revolutionary War, in 1785, the army ration consisted of one pound of beef, one pound of bread, and one gill of rum. This 714 was quite insufficient, and was subsequently increased (Woodruff). During that war, in addition to the above ration, the soldier received one pint of milk, a little molasses, and a few dried vegetables, with a quart of beer in place of rum.

The present United States army ration costs less than fifteen cents. The German soldier is expected to eke out his peace ration by supplies contributed from his home, and the French and English soldier by contributions from his pay, but in the United States the men usually serve so far from home that this system is neither economical nor desirable. Moreover, with the improvements in canning and other methods of food preservation and condensation, it is no longer necessary for the ration to be the product of the surrounding country. The importance of an adjustable army ration is appreciated when it is considered that within the limits of service in the territory owned by the United States may be found a temperature range of 1500 F. Diet suitable for Alaska is wholly unfit for Manila.

UNITED STATES ARMY RATIONS

I. For Troops in Garrison (Garrison Ration, 1901)

STANDARD ARTICLES.

SUBSTITUTIVE ART1CLES.

Kinds.

Quantities.

Kinds.

Quantities.

Meat components.

Fresh beef....

20 ounces...

Fresh mutton

20 ounces.

Bacon

12 ounces.

Canned meat

16 ounces.

Dried fish

14 ounces.

Pickled fish

18 ounces.

canned fish

16 ounces.

Bread components

Flour

18 ounces...

Soft bread

18 ounces.

Hard bread

16 ounces.

Cornmeal

20 ounces.

22/5 ounces.

Peas

22/5 ounces.

Vegetable components

Benas

Rice..............

1 3/8 ounce.

Hominy

1 3/5 ounce.

16 ounces. -

Potatoes

12 4/5 ounces.

Onions

31/5 ounces.

Potatoes

12 4/5 ounces.

Canned tomatoes...

3 1/5 ounces.

Potatoes

Potatoes

11 1/5 ounces.

Fresh vegetables, not canned

4 4/5 ounces.

Desiccated vegetables

2 3/5 ounces.

Dried (or evaporated) fruit com-

Prunes

1 3/6 ounce----

Apples

1 3/5 ounce.

Peaches

1 3/5 ounce.

Coffee and sugar components....

1 3/5 ounce-----

Roasted and ground

1 7/26 ounce.

Coffee, green..

Tea, black or green.

8/25 ounce.

Sugar

3 1/5 ounces.

Seasoning compo-

Vinegar

8/25 gill......

Vinegar

4/25 gill.

Cucumber pickles..

4/25 gill.

salt..........

6/5 ounce.

Pepper, black.

1/25 ounce.

Soap and candlle components...

Soap

6/5 ounce.

Candles

6/25 ounce.

2. For Troops in the Field in Active Campaign (Field Ration)

STANDARD ARTICLES.

SUBSTITUTIVE ARTICLES.

Kinds.

Quantities.

Kinds.

Quantities.

Meat components.

Fresh beef

20 ounces...

Fresh mutton

2o ounces.

Canned meat

16 ounces.

Bacon

12 ounces.

Bread components

Flour........

18 ounces...

Soft bread

18 ounces.

Hard bread

16 ounces.

Baking powder

if ounce....

Hops

1/50 ounce.

Dried or compressed yeast

1/25 ounce.

Vegetable components

Benas

22/5 ounces...

Rice

1 3/5 ounce.

16 ounces.-

Potatoes

I2 4/5 ounces.

Onions

3 1/5 ounces.

Desiccated potatoes.

2 2/5 ounces.

Potatoes

Desiccated potatoes.

1 2/2 3/5 ounce.

Desiccated onions..

2/5 ounce.

Desiccated potatoes.

1 2/2 3/5 ounce.

Canned tomatoes...

3 1/5 ounces.

Fruit component.

Jam............

1 2/5- ounce.

Coffee and sugar components....

Coffee, roasted and ground.

17/25- ounce.

Tea, black or green.

8/25 ounce.

31/5 ounces.

Seasoning components

Vinegar

8/25 gill......

Vinegar

4/25 gill.

Cucumber pickles..

4/25 gill.

Salt..........

6/5 ounce.

( Pepper, black.

1/25 ounce.

Soap and candle components....

Soap

6/5 ounce.

Candles

6/25 ounce.

3. For Troops when Traveling otherwise than by Marching or when for Short Periods they are separated from Cooking Facilities (Travel Ration)

STANDARD ARTICLES.

SUBSTITUTIVE ARTICLES.

Kinds.

Quantities per 100 rations.

Kinds.

Quantities per 100 rations.

Soft bread

112 pounds..

Hard bread

100 pounds.

Canned corned beff

75 pounds..

Corned beef hash....

75 pounds.

Baked beans

25 pounds.

Canned tomatoes

50 pounds.

Coffee, roasted and ground...

8 pounds.

Sugar

15 pounds.

"The above (3) has the following composition (approximately):

Protein.

Fats.

Carbohydrates.

Calories.

Grammes.

Maximum

I50

170

417

3.9°°

Minimum

I20

94

380

2,900

Mean ............................................................

135

132

400

3.400

"This ration is insufficient for active men, being equivalent to the food of men of sedentary habits. The protein is the only ingredient in nearly the proper amount, and this arises from the meats and beans" (Woodruff).

Although considerable latitude is allowed in the use of substitute foods or variants in the diet, in actual practice army officials and cooks commonly follow routine methods. In commenting upon the importance of adapting our army ration to the needs of the tropics, Major Kean says:

"Fish is largely eaten by all tropical races near the source of supply, and is undoubtedly less stimulating and more easily digested than butcher's meats. For this cause, and to secure variety, fresh fish, where obtainable, should be used twice a week, no savings being permitted.

- The issue of the meat components at Columbia Barracks, Cuba, for 185 consecutive days in 1900 was as follows:

Fresh beef............................................. 124 days.

Mutton................................................ none.

Bacon................................................. 47 days.

Fresh, fish.............................................. 1 day.

Other issues............................................ 13 days.

"Which shows well the monotony of the issue, the only important variant being the undesirable bacon. A certainly more desirable issue, and one apparently permissible according to the paper ration, would have been, for example, somewhat as follows:

Fresh beef............................................. 100 days.

Fresh mutton........................................... 37 days.

Fresh fish.............................................. 38 days.

Other issues............................................ 10 days.

"A saving of two fifths of the fresh meat being authorised. As fresh fish is quite cheap at Havana, the difference in cost would have been immaterial".

For the tropics this ration contains twice too much salt pork and fresh meat and too few fresh vegetables. The white beans especially cause diarrhoea, and the canned tomatoes are liable to ferment. The tropical red beans are less irritating than the domestic white beans.,Red beans and hominy are the staple of the Mexican army diet (Seaman).

Major Kean states (U. S. Surgeon General's Report for 1900) that: "A tropical dietary, as compared with one suited to a colder climate, should have less fat and more carbohydrates, less stimulating proteids in the form of meat, a greater variety of diet both of meats and of carbohydrates in the form of fresh vegetables and fruits, and, lastly, a fairly liberal supply of ice." His argument for the substitution of carbohydrates for fats is that the digestion is weakened in hot climates and the liver is inclined to torpidity, while ingested fats are prone to split up into butyric, caproic, and other irritating acids, which the diminished secretion of the liver is unable to neutralise.