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Knacker Recipes?
Good gods, lads, are ye' daft? 
Well, not really, but we figured you could really liven up your impression by knowing how to prepare some of the foods Fritz, Tommy and the Poilus ate during the war to end all wars--Do make sure to read Grandarse's comment at the bottom...
And thus, we bring you an authentic recipe for "la soupe"...




This Niçoise dish is much more than a vegetable soup. It can be prepared fairly quickly by cooking everything together at the same time.


It's also true that the recipe can legitimately vary (somewhat) according to tastes, but the variations should be based on experience. The volume is also very variable.


"Too much" doesn't apply to ratatouille. Cook it the first time, and eat it hot as the main course; then have it again later as a cold hors-d'oeuvre. In the summer time, it's great as a cold main-course dish. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator. Ratatouille is good served with couscous grain (semolina) or rice.


Recipe (6 people) (or a section of Poilus...)

Tomatoes (1.6 kg)

Eggplant - aubergines (700 g) (Leeks can be used, also)

Zucchini - courgettes longues (700 g)

Green bell pepper - poivrons verts (700 g)

Onion (1 kg)

Garlic - d'ail (6 cloves)

Herbes de Provence

(basilic, thyme, parsley)

Olive oil (came in 1, 2, 4 and 10-liter tins for French Field kitchens)

Salt, Pepper




Method for home preparation to fill your buthéons or marmites before leaving for the field: (Also very handy to impress the lady reenactors when having them over for a mission planning session--Go easy on the garlic in this case...  :-).


Of course, if you follow the evil cult of low-carbs, this is one you can eat 24/7 (Alors, no baguette, no rice, no semoline...)


1.         Peel and drain the tomatoes. * (don't mind the seeds) (omit the peeling if you don't mind rinds floating around, as you shouldn't, soldat!)

2.         Chop the onion and garlic. Clean the bell pepper, cut into small strips.

3.         In a large cooking pot with thick bottom, put in olive oil, onions and chopped garlic. Add in the bell pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

4.         Add the peeled tomatoes and herbs de Provence. Stir well and cook for another 15 minutes. 

5.         Cut the eggplant into rondelles. Cut the un-peeled zucchini into rondelles.

6.         Add the eggplant and zucchini to the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes.


* Peeling tomatoes: cut out the stem cores; drop the whole tomatoes into boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove into a colander. Make an X cut in the top, then peel off the skin.

- Cooking Pot. Anything you have. At home, you can be picky; in the field any pot-au-feu will do that holds the ingredients!)




1 kg = 2.2 lbs

0.45 kg = 1 lb

1 lt = 1.06 qt

0.95 lt = 1 qt

30 g = 1 oz = 2 Tbs

60 g = 2 oz = 1/4 cup

115 g = 4 oz = 1/2 cup

180 g = 6 oz = 3/4 cup

225 g = 8 oz = 1 cup

450 g = 16 oz = 1 pint

Ok, Ok. As I am a bit more into the foods of the period, I have been asked to give my quick and dirty version of this.


Chop up tomatoes, potatoes (suspicious or otherwise :-), bell peppers (the handgrenade sized red, green or orange things, not the deadly little hot buggers from Mexico!), onions, garlic (about 2-5 cloves--or as many as you think your love and social life after the reenactment can deal with), zucchini and egg plant in equal quantities. Remove stems and pips if you are squeamish; real service 'soup' is made to have you spit out the occasional stem or peel (But, DO remove the seeds from the peppers!!!)


You can substitute one or more of the above with anything from brussel sprouts over cauliflower to cabbage if need be--to be authentic, try to grab stuff that would be growing during that time of year.  (In winter time, get dried tomatoes, heads of cabbage, potatoes and onions).


Stew this together in water filling the pot 2/3s of the way with veggies and then adding water to the same mark. Stir frequently while cooking. Add salt and pepper, and a package or two (to taste) of bouillon (beef, chicken, ham--you name it).

Keep stewing until vegetables are soft. -- Voici le potage!




PS--Make sure to have bread and wine (non-alcoholic cider, unless you only have 21+ year old troupes) available, along with a few tins of singe to provide carbs and Protein. 2 quarts, 1 loaf of bread (either "French" non-sliced deli stuff in a paper sack or 2 balls of bread) and a tin of singe feed 4!


If we receive feedback indicating you are interested in some more trench cooking beyond eating bully and biscuits, we were planning on adding the following recipes/how to's:
German Army:
Erbsensuppe (Pea soup), and how to make your own compressed dry version 
Italian and Austrian forces (tell me they are not related...):
Sweet 6-month hardtack/biscotti
ANZAC Biscuits (The original energy bar!)