Fiber, Food, and War

The Hansen Museum is excited to host Fiber artist, Sally Brandon Friday, November 25th and Saturday, November 26th in the Community Room as our last 2022 Artist-in-Residence.  As a true fiber artist, Sally starts with raw materials and goes through the entire process—shearing, cleaning, grading, sorting, carding, spinning, and weaving to yield cloth. This is a perfect opportunity to learn from an experienced artist who has found success in her medium.  Sally has recently had the honor of attending the Kansas City Fashion Week where she debuted her Joy Collection.  Sally is also the Hansen Museum’s November Artist of the Month, and her display area is filled with beautiful items from her Joy Collection.  Bring your Thanksgiving guests in for an entertaining, educational experience and browse her finished goods on display in the Artist of the Month area.  There just might be the perfect Christmas gifting waiting for you at the Hansen Museum. 

When folks plan for the holidays, family and food are often first things on the to-do list.  Who is coming, what shall we eat? Most of us look forward to delicious holiday meals filled with family favorite recipes that are often only enjoyed on special occasions.  Diets are forgotten—splurging isn’t only allowed, it is encouraged.  No one thinks about rationing during the holidays, but if you were a soldier during World War I (WWI), rationing was the way of everyday life, holiday or not.

The Hansen Museum’s current exhibition, Life in the Trenches, focuses on the plight of WWI soldiers who endured the horrific experience of trench warfare.  Trenches dug deep in the earth for protection were home to theses soldiers during their time on the front.  Sustenance came in the form of rations of which there were three kinds:  Reserved, Trench, and Energy rations.  Reserved rations were designed for individual soldiers and consisted of a one pound can of meat, two pieces of hard bread, a little salt, sugar and coffee. Trench rations provided for the needs of twenty-five soldiers for one day and included a form of meat, hard bread, vegetable, salt, sugar, coffee, solidified alcohol, and cigarettes.  Emergency rations included powdered beef, cooked wheat, and three one-ounce chocolate bars. 

The slum, as soldiers called their food, was brought to the trenches from kitchens which were usually in the rear in a sort of a “can on wheels.”  Squads carried the meals to the different companies so hot meals were not available.   Sometimes horse meat was used in meal preparation along with other unidentifiable creatures—anything to provide protein.  As you sit down to your lovely holiday meals where it is pretty safe to say the main course isn’t horse or some other unidentifiable source of protein, remember to give thanks to the soldiers who fought for your freedom.  Thanks to them, you live in a free country where one of your unalienable rights is the pursuit of happiness, which includes a bountiful meal at holiday and family gatherings.

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