Wargaming Food

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Wargaming Food

enlivening the wargamer's dinner table

by Jeff Herbert


My other main interest other than wargaming is food.  I not only enjoy eating it but also preparing it.   This interest has grown over the years and with my travels. In doing the latter I have become far less narrow minded about what I eat, which now is almost anything.  Quite often you invite fellow wargamers over and normally, at least here, some kind of refreshment is provided, this often takes a good second place and perhaps may be only finger food or bulk to soak up the wine and beer but with a little bit of thought you can actually match the food to the game period.  The extent to which you go is of course up to you and is helped if your partner doesnít mind doing the scullery work whilst you play!  For those rare occasions when wargamers meet socially other than to play theme lunches or dinners go down quite well.  For these latter pick a battle the anniversary of which falls on that particular day, not hard as few days do not have such, and away you go, matching the meal to the period and nations involved.


I have organized a number of theme lunches in this manner my favourite being for the Battle of Waterloo, but with Agincourt coming a close second.


                          Brussels Pate


                        Soup French Onion


                         Beef Wellington    


                            Boodles Fool


                        Cheese and Biscuits


All served with an appropriate wine, commencing with Madiera before.  The Desert was in fact extremely popular for balls of the day and may well of been served by the Duchess of Richmond at the ball prior to the battle.


Agincourt was marked with, Smoked Salmon, although I was going to serve Whitebait, (Elver being hard to get) but my kitchen help wasnít up to it.  Fillet of Beef served on a large round of bread with carrots and peas in rich gravy.  No potatoes of course, as these were still only for the indigenous people of America , followed by I think apple pie.  Gettysburg saw a main course of a one-pot stew and although I didnít serve oysters as a starter, I should of done because oyster sellers followed the armies and set up oyster bars in various camps, particularly during sieges.  They even made poormanís oysters out of sweet corn and egg, I have experimented with this and if nothing else the texture is about right.  The Little Bighorn saw Corn on the cob, followed by steak and refried beans and pumpkin pie.  Buffalo would have been nice, but impossible to get in Hong Kong .  By interjecting the proceedings with video highlights of each battle things become even more unique.  For those that need a little help, there are plenty of cookbooks available for almost every period and amongst my collection I have them dating back to ancient Egypt .  I would highly recommend Andrew Dalbyís and Sally Graingerís The Classical Cookbook, which takes you back to the days of the Greeks and Romans.  One recipe I particularly liked was fresh salted tuna fish baked in wine and olive oil.  For this you get some fresh tuna and pack it in salt for 24 hours, then wash the salt off and place it in a dish, completely cover the fish with white wine and then add olive oil so that it forms a film over the wine, bake for about 35 minutes.  This was how much of the sea fish was landed and eaten through the classical period and could be served for Salamis , etc.  The Classical Cookbook recipes work very well, and what could be better than fighting out a battle as Alexander the Great and breaking for a Macedonian feast!  


I hope this provides Food for Thought.



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