Cooking,  Culinary History,  Food History,  Health,  History,  Rationing,  World War II

Soldier’s Food

As the old saying goes, an army marches on its stomach. Good and plentiful food are what win wars on the battlefront.

For the soldiers of World War II, if they were stationed on an army or military base or onboard a ship, they could expect lots of good food including fresh vegetables and fruits. America’s army was known as one of the best feed armies in the world at the time.

If they were on the field or battle zone though, what they could expect to eat was a lot different.

Soldiers in World War II were usually either issued C-rations or K-rations. The rations were developed by Ancel Benjamin Keys and were color coded by meal. The rations generally held some type of main course, cheese, crackers or biscuits, peanuts, chewing gum, canned fruit, chocolate bars, cigarettes and instant coffee. They were the precursor to the modern day military MREs.

And just like MREs, they were not enjoyed much by the soldiers. 🙂

But the food that soldier’s ate had to be nutritious, easy to eat and portable. And because of that, many interesting food inventions came about.

One World War II food invention that continued on into the modern era were M&Ms™.

1940's M&M'SM&Ms™ were invented by two candy makers, Frank C. Mars and Forrest E. Mars and named after the two owners. The U.S. military was looking for a way to get chocolate to soldiers in tropical or warm climates without it melting.

The founders of M&Ms™ came up with the candy-coated chocolate and M&Ms™ were born. During the war years, M&Ms™ were packaged in a cardboard tube and sold exclusively to the the U.S. military.

Of course, though the food was fairly good while they served in the military, what every soldier looked forward to was a box or package from home! 🙂

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