Food Shortages Led to Creativity in the US Civil War
Hunger is not only a great appetizer, but is also a great prod to get people’s culinary creative juices flowing. In the US Civil War, inadequate and frequently interrupted food supplies led Southern soldiers to come up with new dishes. The most famous – or infamous – of those were “cush” or “slosh”. Small bits of beefs were placed in bacon grease, water was added, and the mixture was stewed. Corn bread was crumbled into the concoction, and stewed again until all the water had evaporated.
Another recipe began with a stew of potatoes and whatever meat was available. Then flapjack batter was added, a spoonful at a time. The mixture was stirred together, and as a Rebel soldier recalled, the next morning: “we got meat, bread, and potatoes all in the same slice“. Another recipe used potatoes and green apples boiled together, then mashed and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, or onion. “Slapjack” used a thick mixture of flour or cornmeal fried in bacon grease in a skillet until the bottom turned brown, before it was flipped over to cook the other side.