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A cook house was a mobile cooking facility set up several miles behind the front lines where hot meals were prepared for the troops. Soldiers delivering meals to the front often had to duck to avoid shell-fire. By the time meals reached the trenches they could be cold, wet and muddy.

Mr. Patenaude describes what kind of food the soldiers were served.


What did the soldiers think of your cooking?

Not much. At the back when they were in reserve it was good but, carrying the rations in sandbags wrapped in papers, and the men walking towards the trenches and shelling coming along, you’d duck on the ground.

What did this food consist of?

Beef, hot beef. We had first-class food, mind you, not every day. Sometimes they had bully beef but the food we received was very good. We had potatoes and we had first-class beef, I can tell you that. Out of the fat of that beef we used to make drippings and we were doing that in the back line. They were using that, it was sent up to the reserves. They were eating that all the time.


Caption: Field Kitchen

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-023009)

Caption: Cook House, Ammunition Park, June, 1916

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000020)

Caption: Officers' cooks. June, 1916

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000153)

Caption: The Y.M.C.A. do business up in the firing zone. October, 1916

(Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-000944)

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