Limes for a sailor
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.