An American soldier's camp life in the nineteenth century was no picnic, especially if the man fought on the Confederate side. People in the military (or others who must eat “institutional” food) find the food a frequent topic (and target of criticism). Much emphasis in a soldier's conversation and writing is placed on the “cuisine.” This book presents actual accounts of camp life from Confederate soldiers' diaries, journals, and letters. As John H. Claiborne, M. D., wrote:
“Rations were light, provisions of all sorts scarce, luxuries unknown, and clothing without suspicion of style or fashion. Cut off by the blockade from foreign supplies, we were dependent upon home resources, already overtaxed and imperfect, for almost everything. Only cornbread, peas, and sorghum were plentiful. The latter took the place of molasses, and at the same time was known as ‘long sweetening,’ in the place of sugar, for our coffee, which consisted of parched rye or dried sweet potatoes. It was also the saccharine element of the ‘pies’…, they being the first investment from his meagre pay. Only the blockade runners, or their intimate friends, could indulge in the luxuries of eating, and drinking, or in the display of fine clothes.”
Confederate Camp Cooking by Patricia B. Mitchell offers old recipes, and recipes reminiscent of the era, so that a person can create foods “to put one in the mind of ” Civil War times.
An insightful text further enhances the reader's knowledge of Confederate camp cooking.