Touted as the correct bill of fare for Hospital Diet in the Army, the tried and true recipes of Alexis Soyer were widely used in US Army Hospitals. It seems that Mr. Soyer's recipes may have been selected because they were simple, usually requiring only a few ingredients. Measurements were already calculated, based on the number of men you needed to feed. And there was very little preparation - just throw everything into a large cauldron, boil it for a couple of hours, and voilà -- it's what's for dinner!
Perhaps some of our reenactor friends will give this one a try and let us know how it turns out?
No. 10. "Soyer's Food" for fifty men. --<How about that name for this dish - "food" Really? >
50 pounds Fresh Beef
7 pounds of onions
1 1/2 pounds of flour
10 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp pepper
4 Tbsp sugar
18 quarts of water
Cut the beef into pieces 1/4 pound each
Slice the onions
Introduce all the solid ingredients except the flour, with a little of the water, into the boiler
Set it on the fire and let it stew, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes or until it forms a thick gravy
Then add 1 1/2 pounds of flour, mix well together and add the rest of the water.
Stir well for a minute or two.
Regulate the heat to moderate and let simmer for about 2 hours.
Variations: A pound of rice may be added to great advantage, also plain dumplings, and potatoes, or mixed vegetables.
This, and other of Alexis Soyer's recipes, were reprinted in The Hospital Steward's Manual for the Instruction of Hospital Stewards, Ward Masters, and Attendants, in Their Several Duties. The manual was widely distributed by the US Army and served as the handbook for medical personnel serving in the various US hospitals. Soyer published the original work in 1857 in London. It was entitled Soyer's Culinary Campaign: Being Historical Reminiscences of the Late War. With the Plain Art of Cookery for Military and Civil Institutions, the Army, Navy, Public, Etc. In that volume, Soyer stated that his principal object was to perpetuate the successful efforts he made to "improve the dieting of the Hospitals of the British Army in the East."
Image credit: https://steelthistles.blogspot.com/2012/12/anyone-for-stew.html
Snip of recipe: https://archive.org/details/hospitalstewards00unse/page/228
Thanks to @John Hartwell for sharing the Hospital Steward's Manual here https://civilwartalk.com/threads/hospital-surgeons-manual-1863.154933/#post-1992803