Summer is fading into memory and the days are getting shorter. Step Short did well with their reconstruction of the Great War Harbour Cafe on the harbour arm. Sure not the right flags on the wall but where does one get hold of a Italian Flag from when it was a monarchy in less than a week. Hopefully I will have been given credit for providing the recipe for 1916 Trench Cake. Not sure what was actually available at the cafe during the war, or how many soldiers were served. It is known that the soldiers free buffet at Victoria Station served over 6 million cups of tea with from accouts read mostly rock cakes. Free tea and cakes were also given to soldiers at most if not all railway stations in the UK.
For those not sure of the recipe.
One teaspoon loose tea per cup to be made, never tea bags as the tea is inferior and bags are harmful to the environment, per cup. Boiling water should also be measured as one cup per personn before being poured into the kettle. Could not be easier. After pouring add milk ad sugar to taste.
Everyone knows how to make Rock Cakes
Here though is how they made them in the Great War
(If you are not trying to feed what is left of the army adjust quantities down wards)
Half a bag of flour. The same quantity of mashed potato 8oz of margerine per Lb of flour, so if your bag of flour is a 1kg bag, you will be using roughly the 8oz per half bag 2 eggs 4oz sugar Dried fruit about 3-4 teaspoons of baking powder rind of lemon
beat eggs first
mix all the other ingredients
mix in eggs
Using a desert spoon place mixture in heaps on a grased baking tray about an inch and a half apart, (3.6cms)
Bake in a rather hot oven for about twenty minutes.
Throughout the war cafes at Folkestone, Victoria and elsewhere all run by volunteers did sterling servce. All things and times come to an end and the troops came home. Ports of embarkation became ports of disembarkation. Folkestone was one of them althougn for less than ayear before it returned to civilan use. Other ports were still used by the military into 1920. The War office degreed that troops being demobilised and returning POWs were entitled to more than a cup of tea and a rock cake. This was when the Military Cateens came into their own.
Each returning POW was given a luxury parcel containing, a pipe, a oz of tobacco, cigarettes, biscuits and either chocolate or toffee.
In addition all disembarking POWs and demobilised soldiers were to be provided with a hot meal, tea, and yes a rock cake. or if there was no suitable accomindation for this a disembarking ration of tea, bar of chocolate and yes they still got a rock cake.
Plus there was a ratio given for the train journey home. For every six hours of expected journey time a ration consistig of an 8oz pork pie, quarter pound of sweet biscuits, 2oz cheese, 2 bars of chocole and, you guessed a rock cake was issued.
None of the parcels or rations were issued by the free cafes run by the volunteers. There day had passed. These parcels and rations were issued by the Military and RAF Canteens, a largly forgotten service by them..
History of the National Guard