How were soldiers fed during WWI? By the Q.M.C., which stood for “Quartermaster [Corporal] Department of the United States Army.”
They tried to keep the costs relatively low:
The cost of the standard menu amounts to from 41 to 43 cents per day per man, varying according to the location of the camp and market price of the food.
Adjusted for inflation, that would be between $6.84 and $7.17 per man, daily.
It also worked:
The best evidence that he is well fed is the fact that the average gain of weight of the American boy since entering the service has been twelve pounds, and this despite the fact that they have been doing such strenuous labor.
This sample menu was given for a weekend and weekday in the army:
Breakfast: cantaloupes (one-half each), oatmeal, sugar, milk, fried pork sausage, hot biscuits, coffee
Dinner: fresh vegetable soup, diced bread toasted, veal in a creole, boiled rice, string beans (fresh), lettuce salad, ice cream, cake, bread, ice water.
Supper: potato salad, bread, jam, iced tea.
Breakfast: corn flakes, sugar, milk, beef stew, boiled potatoes, toast, bread, coffee.
Dinner: boiled beef with dumplings, spinach, young beets, pickles, apple and peach pie, iced tea, bread.
Supper: spinach, young beets, pickles, hot Parker House rolls, iced tea.
Sounds like some great meals! Except for the whole “huge risk of dying or getting bombed at any moment” part.
Q.M.C. — Unfailing Provider of the Soldier’s Food: Not One Wearer of Uncle Sam’s Uniform Has Gone Hungry, Thanks to the Commissary Machine That Toils Day and Night
Published: Sunday, July 28, 1918