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Published by jack elliot


 limes were chosen over lemons for British sailors simply because limes were cheaper.


Reading Pepys diaries

you get a sense of the love of food returning

after the enforced dourness of the protectorate.

In one of the first few entries

he talks about going to the exchange

and drinking a China drink called Thè

and of course his buying of cheese

during the great fire is well known.

That being said the Anglo Dutch war

doesn’t seem to have dented his palette

if anything the frequency he talks about food increases.

The reality for soldiers since time immemorial

has been one of poor food produced

for its calorific content and bulk rather than taste.

The  ware of ancient time,

cooking pots allocated on a tent by tent basis was designed so that basic bread and stews could be cooked at a moments notice supplied by the long baggage trains.

The food was monotonous and dull without salt.


For the rest of history until proper logistical trains were rediscovered then food was that which you could acquire for the local area.

An army was little more than a plague of locusts

with really big swords.

They drained the area of all that could be eaten

at the point of a spear,

literally they obtained food where the metal met the meat.

When they went to war on another country’s land

they killed far more of the enemy

by taking their food and starving them

than they ever did by violence.

The worst privations were obviously at sea,

green mutton, salt beef

and booze so much booze


There was nothing fun about it

and it was incredibly dangerous.

Remember that the British are called limies

because until the creation of the mojito

with its run water and lime juice mix sailors died

at alarming rates.

It took years to work that one out.

In fact there’s a famous story of I think Vasco De Gama

on one of his long voyages

returning home with half his men

dead from scurvy

but carrying a hold full of cloves a ripe source of vitamin C.


Either way there’s never been anything romantic about military rations nor has there been anything fun.

They were either monotonous,

rancid or stolen

and when they were stolen people of the area died.

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