What do you eat at reenactments?

FrazierC

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 20, 2012
As said above, it greatly differs depending on personal preference or unit preference. For example, there are people in my unit that drink more Pepsi during weekend events than I do all month. Everyone in my group GAINS weight after a weekend, due to bacon, cookies, giant kettles of stew, etc. I personally try to keep at least relatively authentic, especially at 150th Events.
 

yankee hoorah

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Location
Maryland
Recently I saw modern veggie bacon at a reenactment.
The whole Morningstar brand. He did do pretty will on hiding it.
I must say that salt pork and bacon pretty tasty.
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Hi there,

I was wondering what reenactors typically eat at reenactments. Is cooking and camping common? Is it strictly period foods only, or is there flexibility? What are some of the most popular dishes among reenactors?

Thanks!

Hi Hikan!

When I reenacted, I generally tried to pack along 'authentic' period food, like hardtack, saltpork, raw peanuts, an apple (if it was in season for the period/event we were at), and water or fruit juice in a whiskey bottle (so it would look like real booze).

Sometimes I would also bring along a sweet potatoe or some red potatoes and cook them along with my saltpork. Most times I would pack some beef jerky also.

But for dinner, I would sneak out of camp, find my parked car, and drive to McDonalds and chow down on a Big Mac or Double Cheeseburger with fries and a coke, and finish up with a hot apple pie or ice cream cone. :smile:

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

1950lemans

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 23, 2013
Location
Connecticut
It seems that the navy ate better than the army probably because the navy had cooks (I think they were petty officer ranked). There were cooks on regular ships and ironclads. Naval raiding parties oftentimes took food from the residents along the Miss. R. and its tributaries, bought foods (like fruits) from boat sutlers and blacks, and did a lot of hunting.

At a few naval reenactments some of the dishes were served. A fancy treat was pork pear stew (sometimes they threw apples in it). Some of the naval crews at reenactments served other foods like pease pudding which was like a pea soup made from split peas, potatoes, onions, peppers and left over ham and bacon. A popular naval desert from the time was dandyfunk: crushed old biscuits, salt pork and molasses baked in a shallow pan.
 
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Poor Private

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
If your doing a confed impression there is always go hungry for the weekend. Or you could Drink lots of water and beg from around the camp( I have a buddy that does that). Or wait till after hours and go sneak it from camps and tents( another guy I know does that).
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Location
Eastern NC
At the 150 Wilderness we ate sausage, eggs and bacon for breakfast Sat and Sun. For supper Fri night we ate cooked over the fire wild turkey. For supper Sat night we ate cooked over the fire venison. For snacks I ate trail mix.
 

Oxkern

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Location
Oxford, England
During the day, I try to stick to period stuff, usually some form of fried pork and hardtack. I usually prepare both at home as often access to the company fire is limited and, importantly for me, often at the wrong end of the street to where the public are. When the public aren't there and it's not a campaigner event (which I only tend to do in the US, and am grateful for the experience ), I'll often find a local pub and eat there with pards - in uniform, of course, as it helps advertise the show and we're too lazy to change. My group used to do a 'company stew' each night, but some of us tired of that pretty quickly.
 

Poor Private

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Now personally since I am 1st Sgt. of our unit I am generally to busy to eat during the day when a event is open to the public so I seldom eat. I usually have some apple juice and coffee in the morning and thats it. noon lunch is skipped . supper I have cheeze, crackers, and summer sausage. You have to remember most of our events are on the weekends. we arrive on fridays up u til midnight so most guys stop at mickey macs or the like on the way. so saturday is usually only the food day, and the events I go to you 90% of the time get a free supper on saturday night. and sunday you have breakfast and sometimes you might get in lunch before the obligatory battle then tear down. so you stop again on the way home.
So what I do is only carry/bring enough for saturday lunch meal, and a few munchies.
 

Dave Hull

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Location
Northern Virginia
Yesterday, we had a little living history event at Sully Plantation and decided to go upscale well supplied Federals of 1864 and made a little Pork, Onion, Potato and Cabbage stew. Many meals at events such as this are kind of bland and tasteless, because the lads will dump everything in a kettle and let it boil for an hour. Apply a little culinary process cooking and the results are far better; Brown the pork and remove, get a nice bit of grease, sweat your onions down, then toss in the cabbage to sweat down. Peel your spuds, cut into small one inch chunks and toss them in with some water. We cheated with one container of chicken stock to add some more flavor. Add a goodly portion of salt and pepper, toss the meat back in, bring to a boil and cook until spuds are tender.

Another nice meal is result from foraging (stealing from the local farmers,) the old beef on the hoof. Salt crusted skillet steaks, pan seared, fried taters and maybe some green beans. If you freeze your beef at home, wrap it good with brown paper and toss it in your knapsack wrapped in your blanket to insulate it, it will still remain slightly frozen for a day, even in hot weather, so fine for Saturday supper.

Quick easy breakfast: Fry up some really thick slices, maybe quarter inch, Scott Hams Bacon with your evening supper. Wrap it up with your leftover brown paper, with a chunk of hardtack. Get up in the morning, get a brew on for your morning tea (unless you are with a bunch of coffee drinkers, then you have to make coffee for them) roll up your bedroll and you are full and on the march in less than a half an hour.

Depending on what area you are in and what season, the local fruit trees can make for some really great additions to your chow. If there are Pear trees around, you can whip up a really tasty side salad of English plankton (that big broad leafy thing which grows everywhere there is grass) or watercress. Slice your Pears thin, mix one lemon, one egg yoke, a little honey, salt and pepper, beat with a fork until frothy. If you really want to get fancy, find some honey suckle, pull the middle stems and add the flowers. Throw over the greens and Pears and you have an upscale, $20 dollar salad with ingredients you could forage, scrounge or get a hold of.

Eastern half of the country, do not forget about Paw Paws. They are either a love them or hate them fruit, but if you love them, they are awesome for many desserts and were very popular for a long time. You can find them growing on the banks of creeks, rivers, pond and lake shores. Mulberries, black berries and huckle berries are usually plentiful everywhere in the summer and that forage cap makes a great basket.

If you really want to go native, try cat tail roots and green heads. The roasted green (not after it dries out) cat tail heads taste like corn on the cob and the roots are kind of like potatoes.
 
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