Hard Dumplings a Soldiers Treat

Jonathan Townsend

Posted on August 04 2014

Hard Dumplings A Soldiers Treat

When cooking a modern recipe with a dozen ingredients in a well stocked kitchen with a stove, eight pans, twenty spoons of various sizes, dozens of mixing bowls and every other convenience, I can’t help but look back to poor soldiers in the 18th century with only the simplest ingredients and a to cook them, a single pot.   I am always on the lookout for simple recipes that would make that life barely livable.   The substitution of simple flour for bread is a problem that come up in my thoughts.   If you are handed flour instead of bread what do you do?  Fire cakes is one answer, but an even better one might be hard dumplings.

Here is what I found when I was doing some reading in Hannah Glasses The Art of Cookery, made Plain and Easy from 1778


How simple can it get.  Mix some flour with a little salt and some water.  Roll the dough into balls the size of an egg (don’t ask me how big an 18th century turkey egg was, but I imagine it was a bit larger than a chickens egg) coat them in a bit more flour and boil them for 20 or 30 minutes.  I made my dumplings a bit smaller than an imaginary turkey’s egg so I just boiled them 20 minutes.


One of the easiest and probably most common ways for soldiers to cook the pound of meat they would be issued was boiling.  This simple recipe would seem to be the perfect answer to using a flour ration.

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