Dining at the Chanute Air Force Base

Early in my internship, I created a Flickr album that includes photos of menus and dining halls on the base. Since looking at the photographs of the dining halls, I became interested in the buildings themselves. Lucking, the buildings collection contains a lot of information about housing, construction, and fortunately for us, a little bit about the dining halls!

A man holding a cafeteria tray in one hand and a bottle of milk and silverware in one of Chanute's dining halls.

An unidentified Chanuter carrying a cafeteria tray in one of Chanute's dining halls. Dated November 17, 1940.

What I found pretty interesting (and hopefully you will, too!) are the recipes in the collection. In the Buildings collection, we have a copy of a 1946 Official U.S. Army Cookbook created by the War Department. This is a cool way to see what the Chanuters ate in the 1940s! The table of contents page (below) does a pretty good job of telling us exactly what to expect, although, I was surprised to see croquettes! After looking through this cookbook, I couldn’t find any funky aspic recipes…but there are some missing pages. Also, note how many servings these recipes call for!

Table of contents page from the 1946 official U.S. Army Cookbook.

Here is a recipe for upside down cake found on p. 36 of the U.S. Army Cookbook. The cookbook also includes apricot, peach, pineapple, raisin, and prune and apricot versions.

Upside down cake recipe page from the 1946 official U.S. Army Cookbook.

Three types of gelatin can be found on p. 62!

Recipes for fruit, lemon, and orange getalins from the 1946 U.S. Army Cookbook.

A recipe for Macaroni Republic. Quite a few more ingredients than our boxed macaroni and cheese.

Macaroni Republic ingredients list from the recipe in the U.S. Army Cookbook.

Macaroni Republic recipe instructions from the recipe in the U.S. Army Cookbook.

Check out these sandwiches. They made some interesting combinations!

Recipes for sandwiches found on p.197 of the 1946 official U.S. Army Cookbook.

Recipes for sandwiches found on p.198 of the 1946 official U.S. Army Cookbook.

And finally, a recipe for mint sauce.

Mint sauce recipe from the 1946 official U.S. Army Cookbook.

-Ani K.

Former Archives Intern