The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
Where "Eggs Are Cook"
Where "Eggs Are Cook"
If the Gyppo egg vendors, who patrol railway carnages "sp cially reserved for soldiers", apd haunt the outskirts of camps, could see how the egg business flourishes at the Soldiers' Club, Kantara West, they would turn green with envy. And they would have cause. The daily order for eggs is 10,000. This Club, conducted by Mrs. A. Chisholm and Miss V. Macphiltamy, with a staff of B. Class men, is a kind of half-way house tor travelling troops, and one of the most popular institutions in Egypt. The average number of visitors daily runs well into four figures. No wonder that "eggs are cook" by the thousand as mungaree tor soldiers. The bread bill, too, is high, from 800 1bs. to 1400 lbs. being consumed daily. Meat per day works out at 250 1bs., and 112 lbs. of batter is used. Cakes and oranges are popular, 8.000 of the former (small) and from 1.000 to 2.000 of the latter being sold each day. Profits on the sale of all this mungaree are used to benefit the troops. For instance, 700 packets of sandwiches are made up daily as gifts for soldiers returning to the field.
In a sentence, the object of the Club is to provide food and rest for men passing through from Palestine on leave or duty. Officers are also catered for. Wit and humour are scattered freely in the big mess room, which is always full at meal times. In the early days, a young subaltern, fresh from overseas, strolled into the hut, and, after a polite greeting, asked the attendant behind the counter, 'Have you finger bowls?" Billjim looked puzzled for a minute, then had an inspiration. "We might have a skittle alley some day, Sir," he said, "but there's no room for a bowlin' green."
A Queenslander, who had come from the Desert with a thirst that he valued far above rubies, came in one day, and leaning across the counter, whispered confidentially. "No," said the orderly, " We haven't any 'pig's ear', but we can do you a good line of pork and beans." Nothing doing.
A memorable occasion was that on which seventeen dignified Arabs arrived at the Club. They weredelighted with everything. "What can we give them for dinner? " thought Mrs. Chisholm. It is not every day that one is called upon to entertain such guests. But the problem was solved. Before the distinguished guests, bowls of jam were placed; they dipped pieces of bread into these, and ate a hearty meal. Very sweet tea was given them, and they drank it with evident pleasure.
In the hot summer months, ice cream was in great demand at the Club, and by an ingenious arrangement, the demand was met for a time. A bicycle was used to supply motive power. Members of the staff in turn mounted the bike, and pedalled for dear life to make the churn buzz, round. And so ice cream was made to cool the parched throats of soldiers. Often an officer would volunteer for ice cream service. The work was so arduous, that some members of the staff had to "parade sick," and it was decided to cut out ice-cream making at Kantara West.