Feeding Under Fire

Public Engagement – YouTube series

‘Rations have been very poor.  The bread mouldy and scarce.  Tea, soup and coffee cannot be distinguished from each other, excepting by the time of the day.   The cooks have never cooked before and it almost appears as though they will never cook again.  Their sole efforts seem to be concentrated on spoiling whatever rations come within their sphere operations.’

IWM, 17248, Private Papers of S Roberts, p.11.

As Stanley Roberts describes in his memoirs his experiences as newly commissioned NCO in 1914 he constantly talks about food.  Like so many accounts of men in the First World War, Roberts talks constantly about food throughout his narrative.  Food enabled some soldiers to better cope with their experiences and drove others to rebel.  Some men enjoyed three-course meals complete with meat, pudding and tea, whilst others had to pick maggots from their tin of Bully Beef.  Certainly, there was food and there were very few instances of starvation for the British soldiers, but the question remains; did they really want to it?  Even if it was not all ‘Bully Beef’ and hard tack; Would you?
Feeding Under Fire is a YouTube series that attempts to try and answer this question. Created and presented by PhD Candidate in First World War History, Simon Walker, this project focuses on trench food and cooking within the British Army during the First World War.    Each episode considers a different aspect of the trench diet and recounts the experiences of soldiers who had to eat the food as Simon prepares, cooks and ultimately attempts to also eat the food, often with special guests.

This engagement project has been popular online, used in local Glasgow schools as part of lesson plans and is currently contributing to The Recipe Project 2017 Digital Conference for June and July 2017.

Below are the current and upcoming episodes:
1.    Episode 1 –  Hard Tack
2.    Episode 2 –  Trench Pie
3.    Episode 3 –  Jam (May 2017)
4.    Episode 4 –  Lemon Sponge Pudding (June 2017)
5.    Episode 5 –  French Food, Rata (July 2017)
6.    Episode 6 –  Fine Dinning (Officers Food) (August 2017)
7.    Episode 7 –  Breakfast (September 2017)
8.    Episode 8 –  Medicinal Dishes (October 2017)
9.    Episode 9 –  Canadian Delicacies (Coming soon)
10.  Episode 10 – Christmas Dinner in 1914 (Coming soon)

Drinking Under Fire: ‘Short Shots’

  • Hot Drinks –
    • Tea (October 2017)
    • Coffee (Coming soon)
    • Cocoa (Coming soon)
  • Spirits –
    • Rum and Whiskey (Coming soon)
  • Cold Drinks –
    • Beer, Wine and Water (Coming soon)

For any information or questions about this series – please contact simon.h.walker@strath.ac.uk.


Feeding Under Fire – YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/feedingunderfire
Feeding Under Fire – Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/feedingunderfire/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
A recent article on Central Michigan University blog [Re] Collection about the project https://www.recollectionhistory.com/ 
The Recipe Project https://recipes.hypotheses.org/about 

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