Food and Rations

Trench Cooking World War One

“Uncle Cron’s Corn Willy”
By Mickey Collins

I have a true trench recipe for “Corn Willy” that was passed down in my family from Great Uncle named Cronley Hanchey who was light (horse-drawn) artillery in the Great War. Take corned beef and fry up in bacon grease in a meatcan. If you have onions add at the same time. Brown, then add a can of tomatoes and bring to simmer. If you have a can of kernel corn, add that as well. Cook as long as you wish then eat. HONEST, this is the real thing. It became the traditional “first meal” in hunting camp each year. I used to watch this guy fix it, he taught me how and I used it to get my cooking merit badge in Boy Scouts. It’s pretty good over boiled rice with a little hot sauce dropped on top. Uncle “Cron’ was “spaded” by a German when they overran his battery position. Carried a long scar from right shoulder to left waist which he used to tease us kids with. He said the worst experience for him was “tending the damned horses in the hold of the ship on the trip over.”

Shit on a Shingle
By Vincent Petty

2 tablespoons butter; 2 tablespoons flour; 2 cups milk; 4 ounces chipped beef; salt and pepper.

Over medium heat, in your meatcan melt the butter and stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk and keep stirring to keep from lumping. The mixture will gradually thicken. Add chipped beef and cook for about another five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve on toast or broken up hardtack.

In the trenches, bacon grease can be substituted for the butter. For milk use evaporated milk. Mix equal parts evaporated milk and water for whole milk.

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