Saturday, January 31, 2015

"Food from the trenches"

1. "Food from the trenches" (Saturday 31 January 2015):
A demonstration by Cumbrian based chef John Crouch
2. "Food from the trenches":
[Ingredients, recipes and utensils used in the demonstration]

3. The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven
(Which held the "Food from the trenches" exhibition)
Permanent exhibits include local WW1 and WW2 stories
4. A story about the WW2 Prime Minister Winston Churchill:
The saving of 'Young Winston' during the Boer War
 For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

"Food from the trenches"

On Saturday 31 January 2015 the Beacon Museum at Whitehaven, Cumbria held a free open demonstration by local Cumbrian chef John Crouch entitled "Food from the trenches" [Photograph No. 1]. As the event coincided with the museum's temporary exhibition commemorating the centenary of the First World War the recipes used were used from that period.

The saying that "An army marches on its stomach", attributed to the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was true in Naopoleon's day, in the First World War, in the Second World War and is still true in the modern day. In Photograph No. 1 the photograph John is wearing a cap with the badge of the Border Regiment the local regiment of Cumberland and Westmorland (now the modern day county of Cumbria), John is also demonstrating how a tin helmet might have been used to mix the food when army cooks had a shortage of cooking utensils!

Photograph No. 2 shows some of the recipe books, utensils and examples of some of the ingredients used to feed soldiers serving on the front line. While fresh meat and vegetables were used as much as possible, tinned meat and stock cubes were also used as well and sometimes made for easier cooking. Visitors to the event, including the Mayor of Copeland Borough Council, Councillor Mrs Eileen Eastwood, were treated to samples of the meals that were cooked. Everyone appeared to enjoy the appetising food!

Saturday, 31 January, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Telling the story of the World Wars

The "Food from the trenches" event was a specially themed day forming part of a temporary exhibition entitled 'The Last Post' at The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven, Cumbria. The entrance to the museum is seen in Photograph No. 3. 'The Last Post' exhibition is primarily about the 1914 - 1918 war and runs from January to March 2015. It tells the story of the war on the Home Front, the stories of local soldiers fighting away from home and also attempts to put the war into its proper context of a longer period of history.

For example, January 2015 also marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Britain's Second World War Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. During the Boer War (1899 - 1902) the young Winston Churchill was on the run as an escaped prisoner of the Boers and with a price on his head. It was largely thanks to the help Churchill received from a small group of expatriate British miners that he was able to make a successful escape.

Two of the six miners who helped the Young Churchill in his successful escape were Irish-born miners from the West Cumbrian mining town of Cleator Moor, nicknamed "Little Ireland". Their names were Joe McKenna and Joe McKendry. The story of Churchill's escape, and the part played by the Cleator Moor miners, is featured on one of the information boards in 'The Last Post' exhibition [Photograph No. 4].

By the time of the First World War Winston Churchill was a member of the British Cabinet, served for a time on the Western Front and then rejoined David Lloyd George's War Cabinet. Winston Churchill is however best remembered as Britain's Prime Minister during the Second World War. Could the course of wartime history in one or both World Wars have been different had Churchill not fell in with the expatriate miners in South Africa during an earlier war? It is an intriguing question.

After his successful escape from the Boers in South Africa, Winston Churchill later showed his gratitude by presenting engraved gold pocket watches to the six miners who helped him escape and separate awards to the ladies who had prepared his meals while he was hiding out. One of the gold watches is now on display at the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms in London (see link below).


Thanks to The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven and especially to the chef Mr John Crouch, for their co-operation in writing this article.

To read a previous article on this website about the miners who saved 'Young Churchill' during the Boer War click on the following link:

The Saviours of Young Winston

Saturday, 31 January, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

In recent years John Crouch has given a number of wartime cookery demonstrations for Cumbria's Museum of Military Life based at Carlisle. These are based on recipes of army cooks from the miltary archives to recreate the meals prepared for soldiers in past and present times.

During the BBC "People's War" project about WW2 John was also involved in a number of 'Cooking on the Home Front' exhibitions. To read an earlier article about 'Home Front' cooking during WW2 click on the following link:

Cooking on the Home Front during WW2

Sunday, 01 February, 2015  

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