By Wayne Thompson

(This also makes a great “hunters’ stew” if you use wild game instead of the chicken and ham. Add turnips for a change of taste.)

2 tsp. fat (or oil)
1-1/2 c. cubed potatoes, cooked
1 c. chopped onions
1 c. whole kernel corn
14-1/2 oz. stewed tomatoes (or one 8-oz. can tomato paste)
15 oz. each navy beans and black-eyed peas, drained
5 oz. cooked boned chicken {1}
1 tbs. bacon bits (or cured ham)
1 tsp. sugar (white or brown) or molasses
1/2 tsp. each black pepper, basil and thyme (the last two ingredients are period, but probably not easily found in camp)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional, not an original ingredient)

 Heat oil over high heat in a 4-qt. pot. Add potatoes and onions. Cover pot and cook 4 minutes on high, stirring every 30 seconds (potatoes will stick to bottom.)
 Add chicken broth. Stir and scrape all brown bits from bottom of pot. Add corn. Cover and cook at high heat for five to ten minutes
 Add remaining ingredients, keeping the pot covered as much as possible between additions. Stir well. Cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
 Reduce heat to slow boil, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Serve at once or reduce heat to simmer until ready to serve.
 Serves 6 - 8

 (Serves 10.)

2-1/2 # beef top round
2 tsp. oil or lard
1/2 c. dry sherry or red wine
1 Qt. beef broth
2 c. plus 2 tbs. water, divided
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 c. chopped onions
2 large carrots, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
3 redskin potatoes, peeled and cubed (2-1/2 cups)
2 tbs. flour (or cornstarch)

  Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. In a 3-qt. kettle or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, heat oil. When hot add beef and brown. The meat may stick to the pan, but it will cook free later.
 When all the meat is cooked, add sherry, stirring vigorously to loosen any bits stuck to the pan. Add onion, garlic, broth, 2 cups water, bay leaves, thyme and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat about 1-1/2 hours, or until beef is tender.
 Add carrots, sweet and red potatoes and cook until vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes). TEN minutes before serving mix water with two tbs. flour (or cornstarch) and add to stew to make a gravy. Allow stew to cool until gravy thickens.

I recommend the next three recipes be prepared at home, and brought to camp in a poke or paper sack.

(MAKES 12 - 14)

3-1/2 c. all-purpose flour (any brand)
1/2 c. cornmeal
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. stick margarine or butter
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 c. buttermilk

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease baking sheet or cast iron skillet.
 In a large mixer bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, soda and salt. With the mixer, cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in just enough buttermilk to make soft dough.
 Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Roll out 1-inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place on greased sheet or skillet. Bake in preheated oven until light golden brown (10 to 15 minutes if on a cookie sheet, longer if in the skillet.)


Preparation note: Use a liquid measure for the dry ingredients, and add the molasses until you get the right consistency.

2 qts. corn meal
1 qt. rice flour (this is what makes the loaf light and sweet)
1 gill (4 oz.) molasses (more sweetening)
2 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (saleratus)
1 egg, well-beaten
Combine all ingredients and form a loaf. Place in bread tray or lay upon a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. If desired, brush on the egg wash ten minutes before loaf is done, or brush melted butter on top at same time. Bake at 400 Degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until loaf is golden brown on top. Bottom will burn easily, so don't overcook.

An excellent-tasting  “ration” bread.

(Makes eight)

2 C corn meal
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbs. vegetable oil, melted butter, or bacon drippings
2/3 C milk, about

Combine dry ingredients. Stir in liquids. Form eight bullet shaped dodgers. Drop in a greased and heated heavy skillet. Brown one side, then turn over and brown the other side.

This is the best way to cook cornbread in camp. The original recipe was nothing more than corn meal and water fried in bacon grease.


This dish is reminiscent of a tureen, and might have been a variation on that type of dish. Bacon drippings taste better than butter, but either will work. You could also use a vegetable oil instead. This dish allows a wide range of variations. Definitely serve this dish warm, it is a poor dish once cooled. If you do let it cool, one option is to slice it and fry the slices just before serving.

1/4 C butter or bacon drippings
1/4 C onion, finely chopped
1 C biscuit crumbs
2 C cornbread crumbs
1 tsp. ground sage
Salt & pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten

Using a heavy skillet, sauté` the onion in the fat. Add crumbs and seasonings and lightly brown the crumbs. Stir in the eggs and a sufficient amount of milk to make a thick, mush-like mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.


Blane Piper and I made this at the old Nittany Mountain Campground farbfest. It was one of the best breakfasts I ever ate in the field, mainly because it was shared with a friend.  It still shows up from time to time, and it still reminds me of how poorly a soldier ate during the war. Be sure not to burn this.

1 piece of army bread (hardtack) or corn bread (the cornbread tastes much better)
1 C of black coffee
2 or 3 rashers {2} of bacon or side meat

Drink most of the coffee while your bacon is frying in the pan. When the bacon is done, take the hardtack and soak it in what’s left of your coffee until you have a porridge-like mush. Remove the bacon from the pan, saving as much of the grease as possible. While enjoying the bacon, spoon the mush into the bacon drippings and fry it until it takes on the consistency of a potato pancake. Eat while hot.

A variant of this dish involves placing the dry bread into the bacon grease and frying it up, then pouring molasses or maple syrup over it.

I’ve eaten both versions of this dish, and I can tell you that either will likely keep your stomach “occupied” until lunch.

(1) A variation of this stew includes wild game such as venison, boar, and squirrel. Turkey can be used instead of chicken. Changing the seasonings can allow seafood to be used instead.

(2) A “rasher”, according to Webster, is “…a thin slice of bacon or, rarely, ham, to be fried or boiled.” It is possibly derived from the obsolete verb rash, “to cut”.