In preparation for the Great War Bake Off, I have made Anzac Biscuits. These biscuits were popular with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). It was said that wives and girlfriends sent these cookies to their husbands and boyfriends as the ingredients didn’t spoil and would therefore would still be edible when received.
These biscuits are made with desiccated coconut and rolled oats but omit eggs as there was a scarcity of eggs during the war as most poultry farmers joined the war effort.
Many of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers were based in Gallipoli where in 1915 an attempt was made by the Allied forces to capture Constantinople. The first troops landed on 25 April, this is known as ‘Anzac Day’. It remains the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans in Australia and New Zealand. After eight months of heavy fighting, the troops were withdrawn and it is considered a major Allied failure.
As well as facing enemy guns, the troops were in danger from infectious disease. The Mediterranean, Gallipoli and the Middle East became hot beds of dysentery for the troops. Malaria of extreme virulence was rampant in Salonika, Mesopotamia, Palestine and East Africa. The casualties from tropical diseases outnumbered those inflicted by the enemy by 30 to 1, and in these places it was a war of germs rather than of guns. The services of tropical experts were in demand and School staff were dispatched to these areas. We have records in our Ross collection that relate to his and his colleagues work fighting against infectious diseases in these areas. More information on Ross’ War are in a previous blog post at: http://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/library/2014/08/08/ross-war/
These biscuits also remind me of my childhood as my Mum used to make them, so now I am going to try one of the broken ones with a cup of tea. Got to make sure that they taste OK before the tasting on Wednesday at the Great War Bake Off.