Monday, May 28, 2007

Armed Forces Recipe Service Set on eBay

Here's a fitting post for Memorial Day:

The U.S. Armed Forces Recipe Service is a wonderful recipe resource. A 1969 set has appeared for sale on eBay. The Buy it Now is $50. This a great find for anyone who cooks for large groups often.

The seller's mother "aquired this years ago when she first started catering. The man she got it from told her he was a cook in the Army and this was the recipe box that they used for cooking. Every card has the ingredents for making 100 portions. The metal box is 8-1/2 wide, 13 long and 6 inches high."

I used them throughout my 29-year active and reserve career with the U.S. Navy. Most recipes are basic and do not have a lot of exotic ingredients or preparation techniques.

Each recipe is written for 100 portions and gives you:
  • Number of pans per 100 portions
  • Pan size in common U.S. pan sizes
  • Serving size, usually in ounces, cups or pieces
  • Oven temperature for baked items
  • Ingredient list on the left-hand column
  • Weight and volume of each ingredient for 100 portions--on these cards, each preparation step is tied to one or more ingredients in the two center columns
  • Preparation method delineated in clear steps in the right-hand column
  • Notes at the end of the recipe that list alternative ingredients (especially dehydrated) and preparation notes—most notable are: "as purchased" (A.P.) and "edible portion" (E.P.) amounts are given here
  • Variations to the recipe--often, these variations are for dehydrated and other special foods that the US military buys

Although I have a number of AFRS sets from the 1950s to the 1990s, I most often use the Internet version of AFRS when planning an event. I print each recipe so I can write purchasing, production and serving notes right on the recipe.
Since I rarely cook for exactly 100 persons (and the fact that US military serving sizes can be hefty), I also make adjustments to ingredients and note that right on my printed sheet. After the event, I save all the printed recipes in a file as a record of the event.

In addition to giving you standard ingredient amounts and instructions, the big advantage with AFRS is purchasing. Anytime you need to know how many pounds of an item serves 100 persons, just look it up on AFRS. (Remember that servings per hundred is always tied to serving size.)

Once you have a basic understanding of ingredients, amounts and method, you can easily add that special ingredient or two that sends the recipe "over the top."

I don't have any connection with the seller.

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