Civil War Camp Cooking, 2019 Armchair Tour

Presented Erik Schultz, Long time reenactor

While Lake County’s Civil War Days may be cancelled this year, it is our opportunity for Erik Schultz to offer his experiences as reenactor and experienced camp cook’s guide. Instead of sweating and trying desperately to keep up with his long strides, we will be in air-conditioned comfort.

Schulz has been a re-enactor for over 30 years and has lead camp cooking tours for Lake County’s Civil War Days. As we walked between encampments, Erik would regale us with his experiences. Often the conversation during the journey was just as educational as the encampments we visited.

We will miss the impressions reenactors would have created for our education on life as a Civil War soldier. This has been an annual event for us, because the tour has always been fresh and dynamic. By design the cooks tour not just tests the culinary skills of the reenactors, they emphasize authenticity. Each camp has been responsible for their menu and bring whatever material they deemed correct to their impression. Emphasis is placed on the accuracy of the meal to the overall camp impression.

Those on the tour acted as judges noting how the food was obtained, what implements were used in the preparation, what the camp represents and the consistency of the meal to that impression. Each camp explains what their impression represents, where they are camping, and any other information consistent with their impression.

These tours have provided another aspect of life during the Civil War. Contemporary people take for granted the ability to walk into a grocery store and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables regardless of season. This was not how life was lived 150 years ago. When reenactors prepare their meal, they consider what could reasonably be available to their impression. The reenactors desire is to help educate guests on a soldier’s everyday life during the Civil War.

This program is hosted by the Greater Midwest Foodways. To reserve, please e-mail: or call 847-432-8209.

Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 10 AM
At Louis Weiss Memorial Hospital (Auditorium, lower level)
4646 N. Marine Drive (at Wilson), Chicago

(Signs will say “Permit Parking” and “Doctor’s Lot” but it’s OKAY for YOU to use on this Saturday!)
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: CTA BUS #146 stops directly in front
Cost: $3.

The Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance is dedicated to celebrating, exploring and preserving the American Midwest’s unique food traditions and their cultural contexts.

INformation mentioned during the talk:
A Taste for War: The Culinary History of the Blue and the Gray Paperback – May 1, 2011
by William C. Davis (Author)

A sutler or victualer is a civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp, or in quarters. Sutlers sold wares from the back of a wagon or a temporary tent, traveling with an army or to remote military outposts.[1] Sutler wagons were associated with the military, while chuck wagons served a similar purpose for civilian wagon trains and outposts.[2] (from Wikipedia)