If I had a choice, I rather give up coffee and have food for the rest of my life. I grew up in Eastern China and the main starch of our day was rice. Rice was the essential item in every meal to go along with other side dishes to flavor the rice. When I was growing up, I had rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I lived on an island and the back of our house had our neighbor’s rice patty field. I did not have cereal and milk for breakfast or coffee shops. So consciously I do not yearn for coffee as people who grew up around coffee would. In addition, I do not enjoy the taste of coffee because it’s bitter. Coffee with milk taste good but I am lactose intolerant so I don’t drink latte a lot.
Reading the two articles I realized the importance of coffee to the Civil War soldiers. As mentioned in the article by Grinspan the word “coffee” is mentioned in the soldiers’ journal entries more often than combat weapons. To the soldier’s coffee, it was the start of their morning. Soldiers would have conversation about coffee like men about the morning newspaper. Returning to base to a cup of coffee was their way to keep on going and fighting. The food the soldiers had did not sound very sanitary like the puddle water used to brew coffee. Later on there was the United States Sanitary Commission who started to provide healthier and nutritious meals for the men who never stepped into a kitchen. Meals were not always tasty but the soldiers would eat the bread last to wipe the remains off their plate or wet the bread in coffee. Overall, coffee was an essential item to the soldiers’ meals just like how rice is essential for my meals.
A lovely post and the Civil War food conditions were definitely not sanitary.