Food Glorious Food

Food Glorious Food:An Army Marches on Its Stomach

Buying local produce, 1992.773.
Meal break at Solesmes 1990-1711 H1106

This is a past Exhibition that is no longer showing – see a list of our current Exhibitions here

This exhibition takes the visitor away from the trenches and into the cook houses of the New Zealand Division during WWI.

In today’s society we seem obsessed with food, whether it is food TV, food magazines, food and wine festivals, or the usual question from the kids – “Mum, what’s for dinner?”. The reason why we are so obsessed with food is that good nutritional food (and of course tasty food) is key to our well-being and survival.

The New Zealand troops of World War I were no different. Food was important to them, and often occupied several pages of the letters or diaries written in the trenches or behind the front line. They often complained about the state of the food, which in many cases lacked the nutrition needed. However, come dinner time they would all line up and eagerly await what was being served (or plopped on their plate).

The saying “an army marches on its stomach” – attributed to both Napoleon Bonaparte and Frederick the Great – highlights the importance of forces being well-fed during war. When the food didn’t arrive, there are numerous examples in history where near victory turned into defeat.

This exhibition looks at the food the Kiwis were supplied, and hopefully we gain an insight into whether the food was loved or loathed.