War Shaped the American Diet
'Combat-Ready Kitchen' is a fascinating journey into the U.S military food complex
It’s said that an army marches on its stomach. It’s true. A military can only project power as far as it can ship food to feed its hungry soldiers. The need for armies, both ancient and modern, to travel long distances to thwart enemies and take territory has made militaries one of the driving factors behind food science.
No one knows this better than author Anastacia Marx de Salcedo. Her new book Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat details the myriad ways the American military has shaped our diets.
“I can literally go through the grocery store and remove 50 percent of its contents if I take anything that has a military origin or influence,” she told us. She’s right. Granola bars, saran wrap, Cheetos and even McDonald’s famous McRib wouldn’t be possible without military technology.
In this week’s War College, Marx de Salcedo walks us through how militaries have shaped the way citizens eat.
The Roman legions conquered the Western world — in part — thanks to their advanced food preservation techniques. A Mesoamerican protein shortage may have led to interesting eating habits in the Aztec empire. The French Revolution led to a revolution in food processing and preservation. The U.S. army’s beef scandal during the Spanish-American War set the stage for the creation of the FDA.