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Friday, May 10, 2013

Soldiers Learn to Cook Bacon

By Robert E. Denney

Among the many things the new soldier had to learn was how to prepare food. A tract published for the Army of the Potomac explained to the soldier how to cook bacon.

Bacon should be well washed and scraped and put to soak all night. In the morning, put it to boil slowly; simmering is better. After it has once boiled, throw the water off and fill up with fresh water; then let it simmer for three hours. When thoroughly done, the rind comes off easily, and the meat tastes fresh and sweet.

The above assumes that there is time for the soldier to do all the soaking and boiling; that the bacon isn't so maggot-infested as to be inedible; and that the tools to do all this will be at hand. To add to this, directions were given for frying bacon.

The great secret in frying is to have the fat as hot as the fire will make it before putting the article to be cooked into it. The object is to close up the pores of the flesh at once, and prevent the fat from penetrating it, rendering it greasy and indigestible. After the bacon is well soaked, cut it into think slices, and fry it crisp. It is is cold bacon, slice it into a pan, cover it with bread crumbs--stale bread grated--add very little fat, and put it over a quick fire for four or five minutes; then turn it, and cook the other side. 

FROM: Civil War Medicine: Care & Comfort of the Wounded

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