Army Catering Corps. Guide to Messing in the Middle East (Revised Edition).

[Cairo]: Printed by the Printing and Stationery Services, M.E.F., 1943 Stock Code: 141583
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Rare first edition, "not to be published", a revised version of Middle East Catering and Cooking (1942). This is a fascinating and detailed handbook for use by the British Army in some of the most testing campaign conditions of the Second World War; few copies would have survived the rigours of the Middle East Theatre.

The preface is by Lieutenant-General Sir Wilfrid Lindsell, who had served with marked distinction in his role at the Ministry of Supply, and who was put in charge of administration in the Middle East as part of Monty's team brought together to revitalize the Eighth Army. He writes that "the alterations, recipes and apparatus" for this edition, "are based on two and a half years' experience of warfare under desert conditions" and goes on, "this publication will act as a guide for all connected with the feeding of the troops, and particularly those cooking under Field Service conditions with the minimum of equipment. Its study and use will materially assist in the avoidance of monotony, many difficulties in providing a variety of dishes will be overcome". Divided into two sections, the first deals with such matters as "Cookhouse Organisation", "Construction of Improvised Cooking Apparatus", "Left-Overs", "Stock Pot" and the all-important "Making of Tea". Section 2 gives recipes of all sorts "from soup to nuts" (or more accurately, from soup to "dried vegetables (dehydrated)"). The diagrams give directions for the cutting of meat into joints, "dug-out meat safe and ice store", "arrangements for washing-up (queue system)", and a double-page spread on the "Brew-Up Cooker".

An online search of institutional libraries shows no copies on Library Hub or WorldCat, although the Imperial War Museum holds one copy of each edition.

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Square octavo. Original pale orange printed wrappers, wire stitched as issued.


Line drawings and diagrams in the text.


Front cover just pulled away from staples, wrappers a little dusty, couple of leaves lightly creased at lower corner, otherwise remarkably well preserved.


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