25 lis 2015

Thanksgiving‬ feast '43

In the first edition of the camp newspaper, “The Oflag 64 Item” (issued in November 1943), a menu for the forthcoming Thanksgiving [November 25, 1943] meal is announced. Meals for national and religious holidays were much better than daily meals thanks to their own resourcefulness, as POWs were able to enrich the regular German starvation rations not only with products saved from their Red Cross parcels, which were jointly and individually collected and shared by all, but also by vegetables grown in the camp garden.

The title of this short press note, by using a slick play on words, announces that canned meat Prem* will replace the traditional turkey. The term “to pinch-hit for” in baseball means to bat as a substitute for the scheduled batter, so in this case can simply be translated as to act as a substitute.

The large quantities of All-American chow are humorously promised by the mess officer Lt. Col. Walter M. Oakes to overload the Oflag 64 tables – American oatmeal for breakfast, meat and vegetable hash à la Oakes for dinner, and for supper – instead of traditional turkey – "Prem, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots will be served. Even a dessert may be served, depending on what shows up".

*Prem – a canned precooked meat product of Swift's Co., luncheon loaf made from coarse-ground lean pork and beef, see the original ads from the late 40’s of the previous century.

© Mariusz Winiecki
Special thanks to Elodie Caldwell

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