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Thread: What foods are allowed at reenactments?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Default What foods are allowed at reenactments?

    Thanks so much to everybody who helped out and answered my first question about reenactments.

    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!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Lawton, Oklahoma
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    Well, for my 2 cents, our group does period rations. I carry bacon, salt pork, potatos, onions and carrots. In season I throw in an ear of corn and roast it on the fire. I also carry little poke bags of rice, barley and oatmeal. Sometimes I carry hardtack, sometimes fresh baked soft bread. I wrap it all in wax paper and brown paper. Occasionally I'll throw a boiled egg in my haversack too. I buy cone sugar in the Mexican food isle of the local Country Mart, and carry loose tea in a poke sack (I'm a tea man as opposed to coffee). Except for the meat, all of that stuff is non-perishable too!
    Frank Siltman
    Cannoneer, Fort Sill Historic Gun Detachment
    24th MO Vol Inf
    Lawton/Fort Sill, OK

  3. #3
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    Stroudsburg, Pa.
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    Depends on the event, Hikan. Some stress authenticity in all things, including food. Others, not so much. The easiest way to tell is to look at the event regulations and check the history of the event on the forum.

    As a footnote, it's kinda easier to go 19th century than modern. You could make out quite well with a slice of country ham (the dry kind), sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes, rice, carrots, etc. Slice it up small, put it in your tin cup in water over a fire, and in 20 minutes you're eating.
    Bill Watson
    I write about history for people who regret not being there when it happened.

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  4. #4
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    If I had a dollar for every Twinkie, beer can\bottle (OK so I used to be guilty on this), PopTart that was at the events I've attended i would be a rich man indeed......
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Montgomery, Alabama
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    Part of our unit is composed of fellows who, for various reasons, don't tote a musket any more. They have formed a group within the group called the "Useless Mess". There is a period wagon, authentic cooking apparatus and utensils and these fellows can dish out some of the best meals around, usually a couple of meals per event. Their stews are the best. The rest of the time, we are left on our own hook to either forage (vendors) or cook over the campfire and cooking grate. I must admit that we eat better than a soldier on the march. Now for tactical-type events, its what you can carry in your haversack. Pork, cheese, bread, apples, cornbread, cold biscuits, etc.
    Andy Redd
    Andy Redd

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Near Hanover, PA
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    "Pop Tarts, root beer and funnel cakes" Well, maybe. What folks eat at events are specific to the unit and also the event; if that makes any sense. There are some events where anything goes, literally. And even within those events, there will be participating units that will do their very best to stick to a period menu; be it garrison style or field food. Then, there's events where an event organizer went to the archives and pulled out the Quartermaster Records and everyone eats only what was issued at that particular time, the event represents, in history.

    The short of it is, there's no real answer to your question.
    Eli Heagy
    187th PV

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJSamp View Post
    If I had a dollar for every Twinkie, beer can\bottle (OK so I used to be guilty on this), PopTart that was at the events I've attended i would be a rich man indeed......
    RJ, the Twinkies may be a little more expensive nowadays.....collector's items, you know.

    A.Redd
    Andy Redd

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    At the risk of sounding very sarcastic....Think about your question. I assume you're attending or thinking of attending larger mainstream events. Those with funnel cakes, hot dogs, etc to tempt you. With the ease and temptation of being near your car, cooler, etc. Do you want to "immerse" yourself in the time period? Do you want to spend a weekend "pretending" to be a person living in the 1860's ?? Do you want to soak up as much as you reasonably can of the experience? Or do you want to spend weekend "Trick or Treating"? Do a search on this site for "rations". Or if you want to really take a walk towards the dark side, do the search on the Authentic-Campaigner. But for goodness sake, don't post this question over there!! The late Charles Heath was an expert in this area, and posted enough on the AC to keep you busy reading for days, as have many others knowledgeable on the subject(here and on the AC). As somebody above said, there's no easy answer to the question, only degrees of what you're trying to capture in YOUR experience. I have my opinions on the topic, but those or anybody else's can't take the place of solid research. It's your hobby, but just remember to keep it as real as you can for the public who pay hard earned money to see something resembling history.

    I'm now gonna try to return to my promise to myself of reading more and posting less!!

    D.W. Scalf
    Last edited by D.W. Scalf; 12-14-2012 at 06:59 PM. Reason: grammar

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Massachusetts
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    Check out Hard Tack and Coffee by John Billings. This book is a must read for any serious Reenactor and has chapters on rations, camping, cooking, and other great insight into the life of a common Civil War Soldier. It was the starting point for me and many others I'm sure. It doesn't get much better than learning from the guys that actually lived through this stuff!

    Good luck!
    David Worsham

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    178

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    I try to eat as period-correctly as I can within reason, but not everyone does. All I ask of anyone who wants to partake in their farbtack (read: Poptarts) or other such anachronisms, is to be subtle with it. Don't blatantly walk around the camp with a slice of Dominoes in one hand and a Gatorade in the other. Enjoy your modern food in your tent or over at the food vendor's area. Pour your soda into a tin coffee cup.

    Unless you're at a hardcore event, most reasonable folks won't get too bent out of shape if you aren't being hardcore. Just make a reasonable effort, err on the side of caution, and emulate those around you. You'll quickly fit right in.
    Mel Glover
    -GG grandson of Cpl Christian Greener, 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, Co. F

    -Rob Weaver is my guru:
    -"...one of the characteristics of a good reenactor is the willingness to not be bulletproof."
    -"Be more concerned with your own impression than with anyone else's."

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